What began as a substitution became a genius mashup of two tried-and-true comfort food classics: meatloaf and the patty melt.

“We don’t serve burgers, but we wanted to do a patty melt, so I used slices of meatloaf with caramelized onions and melted cheese on marble rye,” says Anne Nichols, manager of the Bistro, a cozy cafe inside South Franklin Circle, a CCRC operated by Judson Services Inc. in Chagrin Falls, OH.

Residents and guests have been enjoying the sandwich, which is served with fresh fruit and chips, for lunch or an early dinner.Nichols uses her secret meatloaf recipe here, but any meatloaf will work!

1⁄4 large yellow onion
olive oil for the pan
2 slices marble rye bread
1 slice of your favorite meatloaf
1 slice of American cheese

1. Slice the onion. Saute in a pan with olive oil over low heat until caramelized, about 15-20 minutes. Set aside.
2. Place meatloaf on one slice of bread, top with caramelized onion and cheese and second slice of bread. Cook over medium-high heat in a panini press or grill pan (with oil as needed) until meatloaf is heated through and cheese is melted.

Recipe: Anne Nichols, Judson Smart Living   
Photo: Tara Fitzpatrick