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Becky Kuntzelman | Johnson Publications
Latifa Steinman, left, and Jamie Jussel were preparing the seasonings and meat recipe Tuesday morning to go into the refrigerator to marinate overnight. The Sloppy Joe mix will then be placed in a warmer to serve for Wednesday’s special.

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Courtesy photo
This is a photo taken in 1956 of Harry’s Drive-in before it was Sweden Creme. Harry Trautman, left, and Margaret pose in front of the business. To the far left, around the corner, is Tonda McGarr, Trautman’s niece, as a young girl.

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Courtesy photo

Sweden Creme’s Sloppy Joes have long, tasty history

Trautmans’ original recipe remains a popular choice today

Mighty meals can come from small kitchens.
This is definitely true of the little kitchen at Imperial’s Sweden Creme Drive-In and Restaurant.
The menu there displays an array of food selections, drinks and ice cream with a different weekday special.
On Wednesdays, the feature is Sloppy Joes, and they have been very popular and a big seller, owner Jamie Jussel said.
Jussel said she received the coveted old recipe about six months after she bought the business and has been serving it for five years as a special on Wednesdays. It was first served decades ago.
She could have put it on the full-time menu, but she wanted to keep it special so people would look forward to ordering the Sloppy Joes each week, Jussel said.
“We have our regular Sloppy Joe customers every Wednesday—in fact, people show up and wait at the door to be opened at 11 a.m. so they can get their Sloppy Joes first,” she laughed.
“I don’t think it would be as popular if we offered it everyday,” she added.
The sandwich is so well-liked that they never have any left at the end of the day, Jussel said.
Linda Leibhart is a cook at Sweden Creme and worked there from 1977 to 1998, returning five years ago when Jussel bought it.
“My mom worked here when I was a child. Then when I started working here, Jamie worked here while she was in high school,” Leibhart said.
The Sloppy Joes haven’t always been on the menu over the years until Jussel brought the special recipe back.
Jussel said they make fresh Sloppy Joe meat on Tuesday mornings, cover and refrigerate it overnight so the meat and seasonings will marinate properly.
“It wouldn’t taste the same if we made it on Wednesday mornings to serve that day. It needs the marinating to make it special,” Jussel said.
The Sloppy Joes, as well as all their sandwiches, are always served on toasted buns, she said.
Jussel’s mom, Peggy Smith,  and daughter, Kristen Haarberg, work with her, and her husband, Chris and son, Logan, help as needed, she said.

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The Imperial Republican

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PO Box 727

Imperial, NE 69033