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“34 Morton Street Specials”

My grandmother and great-aunt had an apartment together on the top floor of 34 Morton Street in New York City in 1941. It was a nice walk-up apartment building, and they paid $80 for it.

They were very frugal, and so had various dishes they cooked together that they considered their specialties. One was called “Slum Gulligan,” made from corn, and green pepper, and baked like a custard. Another they called “34 Morton Street Specials.”

My father recreated the latter over the holidays in appetizer form, though you can also make a larger version. They go like this…


First you toast some bread. Simple white bread is ideal. These are not called Healthy Street Specials. It’s Morton. Remember that.

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You will want to toast them low and slow, about 250 degrees F, so they dry out and stay crunchy (you are going to be putting mayonnaise on these babies).

Then, as if you were feeding a picky six year old, you will remove the crusts.

Then, on goes 1 thick slice of cheddar cheese.

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And you will slice this whole affair into four squares. Once…

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Like so.

Next comes…

Can you guess?

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BACON. Aren’t you glad I said bacon and not deer liver today? This you will cook low and slow also. Really low, really slow, maybe for 30 minutes or so. Trust me, it makes the texture so even and lovely.

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Then you will break them into small bits, so that one fits on each small square.

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Then comes your tomato slices. Certain particularly fastidious people dry theirs on paper towel so the tomato doesn’t soak through the bread and make it soggy.

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They shall remain anonymous.

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Now you assemble your little squares.

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1 = bread, 2 = mayonnaise, 3 = tomato, 4 = bacon, 5 = cheese.

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And you put them on a rack or sheet tray and melt them for about 4 minutes.


The surface of the cheese will just begin to bubble and your heart will fill with glee. That’s when you know they are ready.

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Then you take this tray and pass them around to all your guests and eat one for every one you give away.

“34 Morton Street Specials”

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4 bites per piece of bread

“34 Morton Street Specials”


  • White bread
  • Cheddar cheese, thickly sliced
  • Mayonnaise
  • Tomatoes, sliced
  • Bacon, cooked crispy and broken into 2 inch pieces


  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
  2. Place the bread on an oven rack and toast until golden and well dried. Let cool.
  3. Place a slice of cheese on top of each toast and cut into four squares.
  4. Remove the cheese from the bread, slather a healthy dose of mayonnaise onto each square of toast, then top with a tomato slice, piece of bacon and square of cheese.
  5. Return to the oven and cook for approximately 4 minutes more until the cheese bubbles. Serve immediately!

Leave a Comment



  1. These look delicious! And so easy too. I'll have to try them asap.

  2. Grandma says:

    Well you sure stirred up a hankering in me.I couldn't wait so I"ve invented a new version (since I had no fresh tomatoes,no white bread,no American cheese, no bacon). So-o good! Necessity is the mother of invention. . . (more later)

  3. Georgia says:

    Tell us what the new version is! Please!

    • Grandma says:

      You know how much I love(and use) canned tomatoes. So I tooka couple of whole peeled(canned) tomatoes,squeezed out a lot of juice then flattend them out… just as good as a fresh tomato slice,and better than a slice of those tasteless ones currently available. Not having white bread(intentionally) I used my favorite . . multi grain spelt(from Merideth Bakery); I omitted the bacon (not intentionally) added mustard and used the cheese I happened to have which was Gouda. It was not to intended to improve on the original recipie; simpoly to satisfy my craving which it did.(I think I'll go make another one for lunch now). The major improvement you made was to cut the bread in fours; Why didn't we think of that?

  4. Mmmm Mmmmm. I have sampled this recipe before when Rog made it fo me. SO good. Not sure about this alternate recipe, but I know the original recipe is deeeeeelicious!

  5. Peter Gabriel says:


  6. When I was a little kid (like six years old), I used to do something like this with leftover bacon and nacho chips. Only in a microwave and with me perched vicariously on a stool to reach the buttons. Why we had leftover bacon remains a mystery, there should never be leftover bacon. Anyways, this brings me back to my childhood, in a really good way. I think this Christmas everyone should be brought back to my childhood only sans microwave. I completely forgot about this until now…

  7. Oh my, do these look delicious! I can't wait to try these for my new years party. have you ever thought of adding a little piece of pepporonie for an extra little pop?