Case Study: Celebrity Sandwich Dedications


Dedicating a sandwich on your menu to a celebrity is usually a good idea, as long as you don’t go about it like a complete idiot. The name of the dish will be instantly memorable, and who doesn’t want to eat a sandwich that reminds you of Woody Allen or Salma Hayek? But, as we found out over the weekend, the celebrity sandwich PR stunt is clearly something that should be left to the pros at Carnegie Deli.

The guys at Carnegie just dedicated an impressive meat sandwich to the new Jets backup quarterback, Tim Tebow. According to ESPN, the sandwich weighs about 3.5 pounds and includes layers of corned beef, pastrami, and roast beef, topped with several slices of American cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes. The whole thing sits between slices of white bread, creating what Carnegie Deli owner Sandy Levine says is a sandwich that represents the athlete’s “all-American boy” personality. You can watch a video of Levine putting the sandwich together on ESPN — it’s rather cute how much of a man-crush he has on Tebow. He said to the sports channel, “He’s the poster boy for every parent and what they want their kids to be.”

Over in Georgia, we find the exact opposite of Carnegie Deli’s graceful handling of the celebrity sandwich dedication. Chops and Hops, a restaurant in Watkinsville, Georgia, opted out of making a Tim Tebow sandwich and instead dedicated a black and blue burger to Chris Brown and Rihanna. You know where this is going. The owners slipped this little comment into the Facebook ad for the burger special, which we found courtesy of Eater: “Chris Brown won’t beat you up for eating this unless your name starts with a R and ends with A.” Smart move, guys. (Come on, if you’re going to be mean you have to at least be clever.)

In order to avoid more bad press than they have already gotten since the post went up last Friday, the restaurant has had to apologize and donate money to Project Safe, a domestic violence advocacy organization. Let that be a lesson to restaurants trying to make their names with celebrity sandwiches: When it comes to food dedications, all-American athletes always trump pop singers involved in shady domestic disputes.