Definition of a patty melt..

The patty melt I know is, ideally:

Rye bread, grilled
Cheese, melted: can be swiss or cheddar
grilled onions
ground beef patty

I maintain that the defining characteristics of a patty melt are the patty and the melted cheese on grilled bread. Meaning the onions can be committed and the types of bread and cheeses can change.

A friend insists that it isn’t a patty melt without onions, and it’s dicey if the bread isn’t rye.

The Dope says?

While I agree a patty melt must have a patty and melted cheese to be even considered in the running, I’ve never had, and wouldn’t get one not on rye bread. Onions, i could go either way.

I think the onions are a default part of it. You can get a patty melt without onions and it will still be a patty melt, but you’d have to ask for no onions.

Yeah, if I order one without substitutions, I will be put off if there are no onions. In the least, it doesn’t feel “substantial” that way. But if I specify no onions (never!), it won’t automatically become something else. The rye shouldn’t be pumpernickel-dark.

I figure they can come with pickles and the condiments are usually mustard, but not necessary. Sometimes they’re served with the top piece of bread on the side.

Wikipedia is wrong. A patty melt isn’t a patty melt without grilled onions. I’ve never heard of such a thing. Without them, it’s just a cheeseburger on grilled rye.

See the right bar, where they aren’t marked as optional. There is some discussion on the talk page.

And the onions should be grilled/sauteed/etc., not raw!

Deviation Is Treason! No Substitutions or Alterations Will Be Tolerated!

Even considering cheddar is dangerously close to Sedition. Rye, patty, Swiss, grilled onions. Period. Full stop.

Onions are not necessary, that’s just being silly.
Rye is better but isn’t the default in my experience. Sourdough is nice too.

I have NEVER ever gotten one with swiss cheese. It’s always cheddar.

I have never had one with cheddar. Always swiss. And if there are onions at all, they are grilled.

Onions, being onions, are always optional. Except for onion soup or French onion dip, I suppose.

I hate Rye bread and my replacement is Sour dough.

I disagree about the cheese part (I don’t think I’ve ever had a patty melt with Swiss), but the rest I agree with.

I wonder if mapping the cheese choice would yield any interesting results.

Haven’t had one in years, but I’m sure it was always Cheddar. And the grilled (sauteed?) onions have to be CHOPPED, not sliced. So they moosh into the meat, cheese, and rye.

I’ve never heard of a patty melt, although it doesn’t look unpleasant.

And patty melts HAVE to be served with 1000 Island dressing. Mustard is an optional addition, but the dressing has to be on the plate when served.

Perhaps. To me, the main sandwiches that come to mind that demand Swiss are burgers with mushrooms, and, of course, a reuben or rachel. Patty melts in my neck of the woods have always been cheddar or American. It seems like some in this thread are following the rueben blueprint and going with Swiss.

Neither of the two patty melts I have ever eaten had onions on them. That tells you nothing really, I’d rather have a real hamburger so I’ve never looked further into this matter. However, this would be the kind of dish I would think of as being prepared according to narrowly defined guidelines, otherwise it’s just a hamburger sandwich, the real hamburger’s wimpy little brother. If the dressing is on the side, and there’s no other condiment or topping on the sandwich then grilled onions make perfect sense, and after considering this question were I ever again forced to eat a patty melt I’d be quite disappointed if it was served without grilled onions.

You’re just fucking with us now, right? Thousand Island dressing? You can’t be serious.

Maybe this is a SoCal thing. I’ll bet you get avocado slices on the side, too, right?

If it helps, I’ve never had a patty melt on rye bread.

Rye bread is kind of gross but that isn’t why. I’ve never seen it offered that way.