Iowa’s Popular Jennie Grinder Making a Comeback

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- After a five-year hiatus, the popular Jennie Grinder is making a comeback. After the death of the business owner, JoAnn Sample, in 2016, the popular Iowa State Fair food stand closed. The stand, along with a lot of memorabilia, was sold at auction. 

“It was just my favorite sandwich ever growing up, obviously being in my family,” said grandson Travis Brandt.

After careful consideration and planning, with the help of family and friends, the Jennie Grinder will be back in business as The Jennie Grinder Food Trailer. 

We've had businesses contact us already to come out to their parking lots to set up for lunches and stuff like that. So we already have other venues that we that we will be at [and] we're just waiting until we have everything in place before we announce times and dates,” said partner Rick Valentine.

The sandwich, which originated from Frank and Jennie DePhillips, is filled with Italian sausage, mozzarella cheese and special sauce served on a toasted hoagie bun. For the first time since 2015, the family made the original recipe last Saturday as they prepared to revamp the business.

“It's been years since any of us have even had it, and it was awesome to finally get that taste again,” said Brandt.

So far the response online has been exponential, with over 1,000 people liking the Facebook page in the past 24 hours. 

It's just a phenomenal response from all over the country, with people wanting the sandwiches and asking about different things,” said Valentine.

The trailer is set to be up and running as soon as they receive the new vehicle, and yes, the Jennie Grinder is applying to be a part of the 2020 Iowa State Fair. Both Valentine and Brandt stress that they do have to go through the application process just like everyone else, but they are hoping they will get the chance to be at next year’s fair.

For more information on the return of the Jennie Grinder, click here.


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