How to Prepare an Open-Faced Sandwich

When most people think of preparing a quick, tasty meal, the one thing that pops into mind is simple sandwich like the “clubhouse” or “French-dip” or “double down.”

However, if you have a hankering for something complex, like an open-faced sandwich, you should be aware of exactly what you are getting yourself into.


  1. Determine what type of open-faced sandwich you plan to make. This will be important for the next step.
  2. Consult your local university, community college or city’s parks & recreation program. Several times a year, they will offer three-week classes in open-faced sandwich preparation and theory. If you have not followed step one (above), this could be a problem. While there are a few programs that offer generalized open-faced sandwich courses throughout the country, many of the accredited institutions only offer classes in specific types- e.g. roast beef, turkey, meatloaf, etc.
  3. Once you have completed the mandatory coursework, call your state’s Department of Agriculture or consult their website. You should be able to download the necessary forms online, but you will have to make an appointment to go in for your open-faced sandwich exam.
  4. Take the exam. This should not involve any supplies, as it will likely be a written exam. Some states may vary (Indiana, for example, requires applicants to make an open-faced sandwich before three-person panel, but meat, bread and gravy supplies are provided.).
  5. Await results. Again, this is dependent upon your local authority. The standard time is 3-5 weeks.
  6. If you have failed the exam, you may apply to take it again. However, if you pass, then you’ll get your OFS license in the mail and it’s time to make that open-faced sandwich!
  7. Go to the store and purchase the supplies for your open-faced sandwich. You will be asked for your OFS license and one piece of photo ID.
  8. Prepare the meat, gravy and potatoes/stuffing.
  9. Place one slice of bread on plate. Put the meat on the bread. Scoop desired amount of potatoes/stuffing on top, perhaps spilling over the layer of bread/meat.
  10. Ladle gravy over the bread, meat and potatoes/stuffing. Season to taste.
  11. Enjoy! You’ve earned it!


- MI, PA, NY, CA, HI, MN, TX and CT do not require separate licenses for different types of open-faced sandwiches.
- Through a loophole in federal regulations, open-faced tuna sandwiches do not require licensing.
- In some states, making an open-faced sandwich without a license can lead to fines and/or jail time.
- Plan ahead! There is always a rush for licenses and classes from late November-early January. Try to get yours in mid-Summer, the “gravy off-season.”
- You will have to go through the recertification process once every two years.