What Is Comeback Sauce And Where Did It Get Its Name?

Bowl of comeback sauce
Bowl of comeback sauce - Fanfo/Shutterstock

When you dine in a Mississippi restaurant, you may be offered "comeback sauce" as your salad dressing. If you're unfamiliar with the condiment, you may be wondering what it tastes like, where it came from, and how it got its intriguing name.

Comeback sauce combines quite a few different pantry-staple condiments to create one tangy, sweet-and-savory sauce. It was reportedly named for its enticing taste and its ability to draw people in. Customers were rumored to frequently "come back" to restaurants that served the condiment, craving more.

The condiment is generally used in two ways. Some prefer to use it as a dressing, drizzling it on top of salads, tacos, sandwiches, or nachos. Others use it as a dipping sauce. It pairs especially well with fried foods, like French fries, chicken nuggets, and onion rings. The flavors also complement seafood, so it can be used as a sauce for shrimp or crab.

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What Goes Into The Sauce?

Bottle of Duke's Comeback sauce
Bottle of Duke's Comeback sauce - Duke's

The sauce is made with equal parts olive oil, chili sauce, and ketchup combined to make the base. The sauce is flavored with Worcestershire sauce, spicy mustard, lemon juice, hot sauce, and a variety of seasonings. Mayonnaise is also added to smooth out the texture. Once everything is mixed, the sauce is ready to serve.

Comeback sauce's flavor has been compared to a blend of Thousand Island dressing and a remoulade sauce. It's most commonly found in Mississippi restaurants, though its popularity has spread to other Southern states, as well, with commercially produced versions by brands like Duke's available on grocery store shelves.

However, for many years, the origins of comeback sauce were not clear. The most popular theory is that the sauce was invented by Greek immigrants living in Jackson, Mississippi, in the 1920s. Many of the city's restaurants were Greek-owned at the time. There were two main contenders with claims to the sauce's invention — Mayflower Cafe and Alex Dennery's Rotisserie Restaurant.

Which Restaurant Invented The Sauce?

Mayflower Cafe at night
Mayflower Cafe at night - Mayflower Café/Facebook

Many credit the Mayflower Café, which opened its doors in 1935 and still boasts of its famous comeback sauce, with the condiment's invention. The oldest operating eatery in the city of Jackson, the restaurant sells the sauce by the bottle for patrons to take home.

However, others claim that Alex Dennery, a Greek immigrant and founder of the now-closed Rotisserie, created comeback sauce in the late 1920s. The story goes that Dennery wanted a unique salad dressing to serve his customers and created his own after being disappointed with his staff's offerings.

The debate was eventually settled in 2016 by Jerry Kountouris, the owner of the Mayflower Café. The Clarion-Ledger reports that he credited Dennery and the Rotisserie with the creation. Though the sauce was most frequently found in Greek restaurants for a few decades after its invention, it eventually made its way to the tables of other eateries. Regardless of its origin, the sauce is now a staple found in many Mississippi restaurants.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.