The sandwich has been claimed to have been invented by many different people, including Denver restaurateur Albert A. McVittie in 1907 as well as M. D. Looney, of Denver, in the same year. It has also been claimed that the “Denver sandwich” was invented at Denver’s Tabor Hotel but mentions of it in newspapers predate all these claimants.
As early as 1908 it was known as the “Western Sandwich”, cited in a San Antonio newspaper. A “Manhattan Sandwich” (cited from 1909) was similar in that it contained fried egg, minced ham, and onion.
Food writers James Beard and Evan Jones believed that the Denver or Western sandwich was actually created earlier by "the many Chinese chefs who cooked for logging camps and railroad gangs in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries" and was probably derived from egg foo young.