The Tasty History of Montana’s Famous Pork Chop Sandwich
Photo Credit: Greg Thilmont
There's an item that you can find on the menus of quite a few restaurants in Montana, but you most likely won't see it anywhere else. We're talking about the pork chop sandwich, a unique delicacy that has a long history in the Treasure State.
We did some digging to learn more about the origin of the pork chop sandwich in Montana and here's what we found. The pork chop sandwich was invented nearly 100 years ago in Butte, Montana during the boom of copper mining in the state. According to the Butte-Silverbow Archives, a man named John Burklund invented the pork chop sandwich in 1924.
According to a 2007 article in the Montana Standard, Burklund sold his popular pork chop sandwiches to hungry miners and locals out of the back of a wagon located on the corner of Mercury St. and Main St. in uptown Butte.
Before long, demand for his pork chop sandwiches grew, and Burklund opened the first Pork Chop John's location, located at 8 W. Mercury St. in Butte in 1932. The business had humble beginnings and consisted of a countertop, 10 stools, and a window where customers could walk up and place their orders. The original location is still open and operating today.
In 1969, John Orizotti bought Pork Chop John's. The Orizotti family has owned the business for over 50 years.
The traditional toppings found on a pork chop sandwich consist of onions, pickles, and mustard, however, fans of the pork chop sandwich have gotten creative with toppings over the years. Some people prefer a fried egg on top, and some people like to add cheese and bacon among other things.
While you may be able to find pork chop sandwiches on restaurant menus throughout Montana, Butte is known as the birthplace of the pork chop sandwich. In a recent article, the pork chop sandwich was named the best sandwich in the state of Montana.
Next time you're in Butte, stop by Pork Chop John's and try one of their iconic pork chop sandwiches. The Freeway Tavern also offers a unique twist on the sandwich called the "Wop Chop" using a special family recipe.
Special thanks to the fine folks at Butte-Siler Bow Archives who provided much of the information in this article.