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What is a 'yip yip' in St. Louis?

A social media post had hundreds of people arguing a nationwide company had one St. Louis food tradition all wrong.

ST. LOUIS — If someone offered you a "yip yip," would you take it? Food writers around the country claim that is the name for a sloppy joe sandwich in St. Louis. When the sloppy joe sauce brand Manwich included the term in an infographic, St. Louis social media got heated.

A map on the Manwich "About Us" page states, "What do you call yours? The name for a Sloppy Joe may depend on where you call home!"

The marker on St. Louis is annotated, "Yip Yips...Southern Illinois & St. Louis Area."

A user shared the post on Reddit with skepticism, writing, "Am I going crazy? Have you EVER heard people in the area...refer to Sloppy Joes as 'Yip Yips'?"

Across hundreds of replies, St. Louis Reddit users added, "This is all wrong!" and "I've lived here my whole life and have met approximately zero people who have used this term."


Is it true that people in the St. Louis area call the sloppy joe sandwich a "yip yip"?


Magdalene Linck from the Missouri Historical Society
Archived newspapers from around Missouri and Illinois
Scott Yarbrough, owner of Sammi's Sandwiches in Alton



This is true.

Although the term isn't used on the Missouri side of the river, it's a recognized term in Alton. It was in regular use there through the 1940s.


Magdalene Linck, assistant librarian at the Missouri Historical Society, found that sloppy joe sandwiches began showing up in local newspapers around St. Louis in the first half of the 20th century.

School lunch menus, church picnics, and recipe columns in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat and St. Louis Post-Dispatch in the 1950s generally used the term "sloppy joe."

"I never saw it in any Missouri newspaper at all," Linck told Anne Allred.

However, one Illinois town in the St. Louis metro area consistently called the sandwiches "yip yips" and still does to this day.

"It kept showing up in Alton papers," said Linck. She found "yip yips" in the Alton Telegraph in 1931, 1939, and 1949.

Social media groups dedicated to Alton history and nostalgia also refer to the town's unique name for the sandwiches, sharing recipes and memories of school cafeterias and childhood meals.

The owner of Sammi's Sandwiches in Alton says it's truly a local thing.

"It might be an older generation thing. If you lived here in Alton, grew up in Alton, you heard 'yip yip' all your life, that's all you know them as," said Yarbrough.

He serves sloppy joes at his sandwich shop under both names and told 5 On Your Side that Alton residents were quick to tell him when he started that they're called "yip yips." He added that they'll be on his menu this week.

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