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If you slap a bunch of meat and cheese between a roll, it must be a submarine sandwich, right?  Well, maybe, but probably not.

This diary may appeal mostly to those on the East Coast, where nomenclature matters, but the sandwich matters more.  I'm from the Midwest, where we appropriated a lot of food terms from the East, without doing much to improve upon them...with the possible exception being White Castle Hamburgers.

White Castle's sliders may be the only great American food to originate in Kansas.  But this diary isn't about's about real sandwiches.  And the Italians who introduced them to us.

I have not a drop of Italian blood in me...But like you, I can't imagine eating without the contributions of Italians.  The Fiat was an undisputed piece of shit...but sink your teeth into a great grinder...and Hell's will fall to your knees and worship a wave of immigrants who brought us this and so much more.

But there is a nagging question...what, exactly, is a "grinder."  What, for that matter, is a "Hoagie"?  A Hero?  Is there any difference?  Or is it merely regional vernacular.

Living, as I do, in Portland, sometimes occurs to me that I am at least 3400 miles away from the cradle of sandwich civilization.  That's not to say that you can't get a good sandwich in can.  But the great sandwiches are a little harder to come by.  I am a denizen of of a great pub that makes a fantastic Reuben Sandwich...but it's also a sports bar, and it caters to Philadelphia fans.  The sandwiches are great, and the fans are loud.  But it isn't exactly a West Coast inclined watering hole.

I grew up eating Grinders.  I was lucky.  

I grew up in a part of the country that didn't give birth to Grinders, but nonetheless had a family that came from New Jersey and opened up a sandwich/pizza shop.  Their pizzas sucked.  And when I say that their pizzas sucked, I say that as a small town resident who has to also admit that every other pizza in town sucked, as well.  Believe it or not, there are places in this country where you cannot get a decent pizza.  

But sandwiches?  That's another story.

A Grinder Sandwich is hard to distinguish from what many of you would simply call a sub.  Or a Hoagie.  Or a hero.  

I start with the bread.  It is a homemade roll with a crisp crust.  How crisp?  When you bite into it, you have crumbs all over your lap.  It shatters.  But it is tender inside.  It absorbs all, but not quite, of the olive oil and other "topical ingredients."  It is a messy sandwich.

All of these sandwiches originated with matter what you call them. name it.  But there are regional differences.  

We have largely forgotten it, but the East Coast used to be a hugely important Shipbuilding site.  In the early decades, up through the middle of the 20th century, Ship building was a major industry in the New England States.  Those workers needed a lunch.

And Italian Americans, more than anyone, provided that lunch.  They set up sandwich stands, catering to the thousands of ship workers who passed by...and sold them sandwiches.

The reason we call these sandwiches, to this day, "Subs" because that is what those workers were building.  Submarines.  The sandwiches that Italian immigrants sold them became immensely popular, and became known not by those who made and sold them, but by the workers who ate them..."submariners."

That, in a nutshell, is the history of these sandwiches....but the subsequent genealogy of submarine sandwiches becomes more foggy.

How did a sub become a grinder?  Or a Hoagie?  A Hero?

The link between a sub and a grinder is much easier to make.  Both were dockworkers.  A Sub was named after men who worked making subs,  A Grinder was, too.  The grinders were also submarine and ship builders...they ground down the rivets and welds on a ship before it was commissioned to go to sea.  And it was hungry work.

I don't know, to be honest, if there is a real difference between a Philladelphia hoagie and a Connecticut Grinder, or a New York Hero.  But I'm pretty sure there is.

I grew up in the Midwest...far removed from each of those regions.  In my mind's eye, a Grinder starts with great bread, and the sandwich is toasted...pressed.  It is a hot sandwich.  There are, at least as I came to know them, hot peppers on the sandwich.  (okay...banana peppers...that's what people from Ohio consider hot)  The bread did shatter when you bit into it.  And it oozed olive oil.  

I THINK...but I can't be sure, that my small town was blessed with a family who which moved from the East and knew how to make a great Grinder sandwich.  If they were imposters, they were successful imposters.  Because on any given night, almost everyone in town congregated at their store, bought a sandwich, and drank beer in the parking lot of the much larger shopping center. It was a ritual.  

Only partly because there wasn't much else to do.  The Grinders were to die for.

Originally posted to Keith930 on Fri Oct 05, 2012 at 08:11 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Fiat = Feeble Italian Attempt at Transportation (8+ / 0-)

         By coincidence, I made Reubens tonight. Good diary.

    The GOP ... Government of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%

    by Azazello on Fri Oct 05, 2012 at 08:18:31 PM PDT

  •  the best sandwiches in Portland, Oregon (15+ / 0-)

    are the ones to be found at Vietnamese bakeries...the Bahn Mi sandwiches.  They have the same "explode in your mouth" crunch of bread, and the filling is superb.  Why the Bahn Mi sandwich has not become mainstream, and shown up in a fast food chain, is a mystery to me.  

    It's the next big thing.

    Oregon:'s cold. But it's a damp cold.

    by Keith930 on Fri Oct 05, 2012 at 08:21:41 PM PDT

  •  Very geographic names (21+ / 0-)

    The New York area has subs.  One of the local chains is (or was, I haven't seen it lately but I don't live there) Blimpie; sometimes that was used as a generic term too.  I am not sure that your etymology of sub is correct, as the sandwich is shaped like a sub, or a blimp -- oblong, vs. square like an English-style sandwich.  But maybe I was just making an assumption.

    Northern New Jersey has great subs.  The best I ever had were at a long-gone shop that got its sub rolls from the Baldanza Bakery in Monmouth County.  That was a perfect Italian roll, crispy on the outside and soft, but with a bite, inside.  They are of course sliced top/bottom, though I have seen shops cutting second-rate sub rolls like hot dog rolls, open at the top.  Ugh.  The best sub ever had capicola, prosciutto, provolone, and the veggie toppings, with of course olive oil and vinegar.  Mayo on the other hand is just wrong for most subs.

    Southern NJ and Philly are hoagie country.  Same thing, different name.  Of course Philly is the home of the cheese steak.

    I first saw grinders as "hot oven grinders", so yes they were hot subs, often served by Greek pizzerias.  I eat them quite often here in the Boston area, where we have great Greek pizza and lots of it.  But they're also called subs here.  Grinder is a common term in upstate NY.

    I don't see hero sandwiches any more. I think the name is derived from the gyro, that popular Greek meat-on-a-vertical-spit that's typically served in pita with tzatziki (cucumber strained yoghurt).  The "g" in gyro is pronounced more like an h so the word actually sounds more like "hero", though Anglos often say "gyro" as in "gyroscope" (jie-row).

    But in Maine, they're called Italians.  So you can drive down a country road and come across a little shop that sells "pizza and Italians".  I suggest you stick to the lobster. ;-)

    •  and in New Orleans (7+ / 0-)

      Po' boys. So named as they were created and served to striking street car workers

      "Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government" T. Jefferson

      by azureblue on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 07:40:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  All of these have a unifying attribute. (8+ / 0-)

      They are long.  Even the New Awlins po'boy is long.  I happen to live in CT not too far from the sub base at Groton, and Electric Boat.  Submarines it is, but also grinders.  Hoagies not so much.  Anything on a round roll is none of the above.  It's just a sandwich.  Could be very good, mind you, but neither a sub, grinder, nor hoagie.

      I always thought 'hero' had to do with the accomplishment of eating the whole damn humongous thing.

      New Haven pizza is the best in the world, with Pepe's and Sally's on Wooster St., and Modern on Orange.  But we frequent a New Haven acolyte nearer to us run by Hungarians, when we don't make our own (which we think is actually better, to our amazement).

      Greek pizzas are quite good, but thin on the ground hereabouts.

      We go to different pizza joints for different pizzas---Pepe's for the tomato pie, Sally's for the white clam (a CT specialty), and a local place in Guilford, Bufala,  run by classmates (who studied cooking in Italy) of one of my kids for the leek and pancetta and scamorza.

      Real plastic here; none of that new synthetic stuff made from chicken feathers. By the morning of 9/12/2001 the people of NYC had won the War on Terror.

      by triplepoint on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 07:56:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  At Manganero's Hero Boy on 40th & 8th (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        the menu had the story that a journalist said "You'd have to be hero to eat a whole one"
        Everyone I knew called them "Heros" until I met people from outside New York City.
        just my $0.02

      •  New Haven Food (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Khun David

        The pizza IS the best I have ever had anywhere.

        Broadway Pizza, a Yale late night hangout for years, served hot tuna grinders covered with cheese and with the bread shattering as soon as you touched it.

        And then there's Louis' Lunch, which claims to have invented the hamburger.

        No wonder I gained weight as an undergrad.

        •  OMG, I had alot of pizza after drinking at Toad's (0+ / 0-)

          Place....then a walk down to my apartment on York....that was pretty awesome..

          The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy;the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness

          by CTMET on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 06:14:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I have an ongoing 'fight' with co-workers over (6+ / 0-)

      what an "Italian" is.  I am in Portland, ME.

      In Maine an Italian appears to be what Boston calls an "American" sub.  That is...a roll with ham, cheese, and condiments like onion, pepper, and then olive oil.  There is absolutely nothing Italian about it.

      In Boston an Italian sub has Italian meats, cheeses and condiments:  salami, capicola, mortadella, provolone, pepperoncini.  And you order  with everything on it  including hots.  Yum!

      Maine does not know what an Italian is.  Folks here need to visit the North End to experience a real Italian.

      I fall down, I get up, I keep dancing.

      by DamselleFly on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 08:50:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  In Atlantic City (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      they were always called subs (the White House Sub Shop made the best on earth!) but just a few miles inland the Philadelphian "hoagie" took over.  Same sandwich, different name.

      I was always confused by this as a lad, but then, I was confused by a lot of things.  :)

      The American Indian: Fighting Foreign Terrorism Since 1492.

      by penguins4peace on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 09:47:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'll second that. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        penguins4peace, henlesloop

        Had a White House sub a few years ago while attending a trade show in A.C. Absolutely the best I've ever tasted (and I've been all over the world).

        Even though I am disappointed at some of his actions, I am thankful every day that Barack Obama is President and not George Bush and certainly not John McCain.

        by gritsngumbo on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 02:15:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Italians in Maine (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Keith930, historys mysteries

      are in a league of their own, especially if made by the old Portland family, Amato. Great bread, ham, cheese, onions, peppers, tomatoes...pickles and olives, if you like. Only covered with olive oil, no vinegar. The original shop is down by the waterfront as well!

    •  Heros are not Gyros. Gyros are made from (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kayak58, Thestral, grover

      lamb that is cooked and sliced vertically. Heros are like sub sandwiches. But if you want real food try a Chicago Italian Beef sandwich on an Italian roll dipped in juice. With or without sport peppers. As good as the world famous Chicago pizza and the world famous Chicago Hot Dog. The Triple Crown of Chicago cuisine.

      And all Italian American. The thin Chicago pizza with a crispy crust is a match for the stuffed Chicago pizza. And yes I am a fan of New York pizza and New York hot dogs also. I am not a complete homer.

    •  Tiny regional quirk (0+ / 0-)

      In parts of Westchester County north of NYC, hoagies are called "wedges."  You order a sandwich and the shopkeeper says "roll or wedge"---small or large.

      And speaking of bad pizza, in my town pizza is made in the high school cafeteria style.  You order a pizza and the shopkeeper says "half sheet or whole sheet?"

      You'd think a college town would have better pizzerias, but it turns out that college students will eat anything.

      My head says "No" but my heart says "Yes". And then my liver says "What?" and my butt's all like "Farrrrrrt" --jbou

      by Caj on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 05:04:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I grew up on "wedges," too (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        From mid-Westchester.  It was a hero, sub, hoagie, etc.  Seems to be used from somewhere in mid- to northern Westchester, maybe up into Putnam county.  However, I've heard... somewhere... that the term originated at an Italian sandwich shop in Yonkers; don't know whether that's true, but I suspect not.

        I think it more likely dates back to farming days, when bread and cheese would be served on "wedges" of bread cut from a large loaf.  It was clearly a term that had been around a long while in the area, when I was a kid in the early '60s; old-timers certainly used it.

  •  New Jersey! Man, that's a hero. Grinders are those (11+ / 0-)

    lousy things they eat up in Massachusetts or someplace.

    Does anyone here know what an all-the-way-hot dog is? And if you think it's a chili dog, you're not from New Jersey.

    This post made me smile and I'm just being silly and joking.

  •  Thanks for the history and info. (4+ / 0-)

    I grew up in Arizona but My New Jersey grandparents brought me up. When I got out of the Navy in San Diego I went to live and work in Connecticut just to find out about New England. Grinders, Subs, Hoagies Yumm. Nice to know the reason for the names after all these years.

    Conservatives supported slavery, opposed women’s suffrage, supported Jim Crow, opposed the 40-hour work week, the abolishment of child labor, and supported McCarthyism. from 'It's The Conservatism, Stupid' by Paul Waldman July 12, 2006

    by arealniceguy on Fri Oct 05, 2012 at 08:48:17 PM PDT

  •  I'm from around the Worcester area in MA, (6+ / 0-)

    I'm around 50 and the most common name for the sandwiches growing up was a "grinder".  We have a large number of typically Greek owned Pizza shops that make some excellent one's on the area.

    The name "sub" or submarine is probably becoming more prevalent these days.  We refer to the some of the places generically as 'Sub Shops".

    When My wife and I order them,  we always refer to them as grinders.

  •  Grinders rule! (3+ / 0-)

    Transplant from MA.

    "In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer."- Albert Camus

    by valadon on Fri Oct 05, 2012 at 09:16:15 PM PDT

  •  I'm from Philly so it'll (12+ / 0-)

    always be a hoagie, an Italian or ham n cheese or turkey hoagie. Hero's and subs were a NY thing and grinders were those toasted sandwiches like a tuna grinder with melted cheese.A sandwich used packaged sandwich bread. Shrimp or roast beef Po' boys In the South can be fantastic too.

    It's all about the bread. Crusty and chewy but not stale. Not an oversized hot dog bun. Oregano and basil flavored oil but mayo was not verboten, lettuce, tomato and onion. Cherry peppers for me but not looked down upon if you'd prefer without.

    When I lived near Detroit I never found a decent sandwich shop. That made me very sad.

    Now that I'm near Tol., OH there is a place in Bolling Green, OH that imports rolls from Philly and makes a decent hoagie and cheesesteak.

    I think next week I'll make it a three fer' in Bolling Green
    1. vote for Obama@ Wood County Courthouse  
    2. get an Obama bumper sticker or sign at BG dem campaign office
    3. get an Italian hoagie.
    The campaign office is next door to the sandwich shop and both are 250 yards from the courthouse.

    That sounds like a plan!

    "We thought about it for a long time, "Endeavor to persevere." And when we had thought about it long enough, we declared war on the Union."

    by voodoochild62 on Fri Oct 05, 2012 at 10:04:04 PM PDT

    •  it doesn't necessarily need to be in that order (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Oregon:'s cold. But it's a damp cold.

      by Keith930 on Fri Oct 05, 2012 at 10:09:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  do you mean the (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mkor7, Creosote

        ingredients list or my trip to BG.  I'm afraid if I show up to the campaign office last I'll have to bring enough for everyone. hmm, maybe that's not a bad idea. ;)

        "We thought about it for a long time, "Endeavor to persevere." And when we had thought about it long enough, we declared war on the Union."

        by voodoochild62 on Fri Oct 05, 2012 at 10:18:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I'm from south-central PA where, yes, (0+ / 0-)

      they are called hoagies but also subs.  I think the term sub is probably more prevalent than hoagie these days.

      To make the argument that the media has a left- or right-wing, or a liberal or a conservative bias, is like asking if the problem with Al-Qaeda is do they use too much oil in their hummus. Al Franken

      by Youffraita on Fri Oct 05, 2012 at 10:10:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  sadly your right (0+ / 0-)

        "south-central PA" one of the best pizzas I've ever had was on the banks of the Susquehanna in Harrisburg. My freinds and I drove out from Philly to see a Harrisburg Senators game and afterwards found a place to eat. We ordered two pies,one red and one white. The red was OK but the white was loaded with roasted garlic the size of your thumb. We ordered a second white pie because it was so good. Ah, Memories.

        "We thought about it for a long time, "Endeavor to persevere." And when we had thought about it long enough, we declared war on the Union."

        by voodoochild62 on Fri Oct 05, 2012 at 10:29:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Pizza crust bread (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        part of the problem is that most pizza shops use pizza crust as bread now a days. They can be good sandwiches but can't be a hoagie.

    •  Oh and a T&R (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      grover, kayak58

      for your appreciation of Italians. As someone whose name ends in a vowel with an apostrophe tossed in there as well, I thank you. My father's parents were from Abruzzo, Italy.

      "We thought about it for a long time, "Endeavor to persevere." And when we had thought about it long enough, we declared war on the Union."

      by voodoochild62 on Fri Oct 05, 2012 at 10:13:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ah! Paisan! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kayak58, voodoochild62

        {Big Italian Hug}

        Why don't we have a group here?

        We should start one. I'm looking for a good struffoli recipe. Mine got lost in the move. I also had an amazing recipe for an Italian bread pudding that used a lot of rum (or brandy. I can't remember which) and  Italian bread.

        With the holidays coming up, I'm scrambling to find good recipes for both.

        © grover

        Join Muppets Against Mitt! Go to to join now. This message brought to you by the number 2012 and the letters B and O.

        by grover on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 10:21:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I've never been able to find a decent cheesesteak (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      outside of Philly. On the other hand, you have scrapple, so don't brag.

      •  Don't be dissing scrapple (2+ / 0-)

        As long as nobody tells you what's in it, it tastes great. Rapa is the best. (Though, as noted by Bill Cosby, you need to cook it right. That requires patience. If you try to flip it too soon it just falls apart and becomes mush. But you also need to be careful not to overcook it either.)

        Free: The Authoritarians - all about those who follow strong leaders.

        by kbman on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 12:12:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  love scrapple (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          and changed supermarkets just cause the kroger stopped stocking it along with Taylor Pork Roll. Can't find Taylor pork roll anywhere else but with the Ohio Amish, scrapple is still available. I almost invariably have to try to describe it to each and every cashier though.
          My doctor and cholesterol don't like it though.

          "We thought about it for a long time, "Endeavor to persevere." And when we had thought about it long enough, we declared war on the Union."

          by voodoochild62 on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 12:52:46 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Is it heresy? I like ketchup on scrapple? (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kbman, voodoochild62, 42

            "A young man who wishes to remain a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading. There are traps everywhere ". C. S. Lewis

            by TofG on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 07:19:47 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Where in Ohio are you at? You can get Taylor (2+ / 0-)

            Pork Roll (or Taylor Ham, if you're keeping it straight Jersey) at Carfagna's in Columbus.  I think they may also have scrapple as well, but I've never checked.

          •  My mom's from Jersey/Philly suburbs (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            I never saw her so pleased during my entire childhood as the day she found a specialty meat market in SoCal that sold pork roll and scrapple. She bragged on this food to such an extent that everyone in the family was ready for the Greatest Culinary Treat Ever!!!!

            Pork roll is at best okay and scrapple is a vile abomination. We were appalled that she not only liked that stuff but BRAGGED about it. It got to the point that she'd have her parents, the other East Coasters, over and they would have pork roll while the rest of us had burgers or something.

            No one would eat scrapple with her. I had her over for Mother's Day Brunch as an adult and made her scrapple. Crusty brown and still just awful. My husband ate it with her and the rest of us had bacon.

            •  they have something like scrapple (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              voodoochild62, SeekCa

              in several places around the country.  In Cincinnati, they have Goetta while Eastern NC has liver pudding and Western NC (where I'm originally from) has livermush.  Damned shame I'm on the other side of the planet from any of 'em right now...

      •  you must understand, my definition of (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        decent has been dumbed down. But Philly has roast pork sandwiches which I could brag about endlessly and is also close enough to Trenton, NJ. to include their delicious tomato pie pizzas as a Philly import.
        When in New Orleans a friend asked for scrapple at breakfast...waiter said "excuse me"  I had to tell my friend the sad truth.

        "We thought about it for a long time, "Endeavor to persevere." And when we had thought about it long enough, we declared war on the Union."

        by voodoochild62 on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 01:08:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Let me tell you a story about NC "cheesesteaks" (4+ / 0-)

        In January, 1977, I went to Raleigh, NC to attend NC State U. The first day in town I went into a restaurant and ordered a “cheesesteak,” to which the waiter told me that they did not serve them, but told me that a sub shop around the corner called Sadlack’s did.

        So I walked into Sadlack’s and ordered a “cheesesteak, with mushrooms, but no red sauce” a few minutes after I ordered, the waiter came back and asked me if I really wanted mushrooms on it, and I yes, but no red sauce. Within a minute he delivered a plate with a slice of cheesecake, topped with, of course mushrooms, as the cook came out of the kitchen to watch me it. That was when I realized I was a stranger in a strange land.

        "There are many truths of which the full meaning cannot be realized until personal experience has brought it home." John Stuart Mill

        by kuvasz on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 01:33:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Funny. That reminds me of a story a student once (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          voodoochild62, Khun David

          told me about how she was working in Cambodia and living in a small village. Before she left, they wanted to have a dinner in her honor. They proudly presented her with a plate of rice topped with mayonaise. She was French and apparently her hosts had gotten the notion that mayonaise was a sauce that the French put on everything. She said they were very proud of serving their guest real French food. "What could I do? I ate it."

        •  this is why I don't eat sushi in Oklahoma (0+ / 0-)

          or order cornbread in Los Angeles, or biscuits and gravy in the Pacific Northwest.  Some places just don't get it, and never will.

          Oregon:'s cold. But it's a damp cold.

          by Keith930 on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 04:38:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Two suggestions for you, (0+ / 0-)

      for cheesesteak, Joeys on Northline Road in Southgate, MI. he imports his bread from Philly, has Herr's chips and Tastykakes.  For a straight-up sandwich, go to Zingermans in Ann Arbor. They bake their own bread, use high end quality meats and cheeses, and are sublime. Toledo is a little trickier, not a big. fan of Tony Packo's, Rudy's or Nettie's for hot dogs, and haven't found that one place for sublime sandwiches. sorry for my typos, I-pads suck to type on.

      F--- Scott & Fitzgerald

      by henlesloop on Sun Oct 07, 2012 at 05:57:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You want to go to Elmwood Park, IL. There you (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    se portland

    will go to Jonnie's.

    Order a beef.  Dipped.  With peppers.

    All other sandwiches are invalid.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Fri Oct 05, 2012 at 11:00:37 PM PDT

    •  Places like that are all over Chicago. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zenbassoon, henlesloop

      God I miss the food. I live in Orlando, Fl now. There is no good food except for 5 guys. But my kid goes to college in Sarasota and you can get a good beef there. Is Jonnie's near Mannheim Road? As I remember Elmwood Park was a great town for Italian deli and grocery too.

  •  I used to get grinders in Riverside, CA on my way (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    out to Joshua Tree National Monument. A place called D'elias Grinders. The crust! The oil and vinegar!

    A tradition.

    Poverty = politics.

    by Renee on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 01:16:23 AM PDT

  •  white castle not food. ever have a dagwood/? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Job Crater Republicans Make Our Lives Miserable. Drop Them.

    by renzo capetti on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 04:13:33 AM PDT

  •  My mouth is watering (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Keith930, OleHippieChick

    I'm an Italian American girl from S. Philly living now in New England.  Cheesesteaks, hoagies, and scrapple.  Oh, do I ever miss that stuff.  Thanks for this wonderful diary.  

  •  Beware people who put mayonaisse on hoagies, (0+ / 0-)

    much like Bruce Willis' view of mayonaisse on cheeseburgers in Canada. (Although I rather like the Dutch habit of mayonaisse on french fries- sorry about that). Btw, while Subway sandwiches are rather healthy the name "subway" is quite irritating as, presumably, a NYC import, and a well made fresh hoagie is just superior as a taste treat (granted, not as much calorie wise).

    "A young man who wishes to remain a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading. There are traps everywhere ". C. S. Lewis

    by TofG on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 07:14:52 AM PDT

    •  Oh, the condiment of choice on hoagies is, of (0+ / 0-)

      course, oil (hot peppers on the side).

      "A young man who wishes to remain a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading. There are traps everywhere ". C. S. Lewis

      by TofG on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 07:16:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Authentic Italian sandwiches (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Keith930, revbludge, DamselleFly

    We've got 'em right here in, of all places, Santa Monica, CA! We have a place called Bay Cities Deli, a grocery store which has the Italian sandwich of your dreams. Their most famous is called "The Godmother" and it's loaded with meat and cheese. They add a mild or hot pepper mix--your choice--along with the lettuce, tomatoes and olive oil dressing. The same family owns the major Italian bakery in Los Angeles (Pioneer, I think it is still called) so the crusty rolls are FRESH and crisp.

    The crust holds up all the way to the stands at Dodger Stadium, where my neighboring fans always ask "where did you get that sandwich?" I always get a large so I can share.

    The sandwiches are so popular that you can order yours online and pick it up a few minutes later, so you don't have to stand in a 45 minute line.

    "When you give back all your ill-gotten gains, you're a reformed crook. When you keep most of the loot and only give back a small part of it, you're a philanthropist." - Alfred E. Newman

    by Abstract668 on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 07:15:32 AM PDT

  •  Great. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Keith930, Champurrado, revbludge, grover

    Now I'm hungry again.

  •  also, Muffeletta (6+ / 0-)

    Was created at by the Italian owned Central Grocery in New Orleans. A round roll, Italian cold cuts, and the left overs from the bottom of olive and pickled vegetable salad jars. And they are not supposed to be heated..

    "Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government" T. Jefferson

    by azureblue on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 07:39:09 AM PDT

    •  Ya Gotta call them the day before (0+ / 0-)

      Place the order for Tomorrow's Lunch.

      Everything tastes Sooo much better when all those
      vegetable juices Soak into the bread and meat overnight.

      Call Me Crazy. I Learned that trick from the Locals.

      Damn. I'm starting to miss NOLA real Bad.

      On Giving Advice: Smart People Don't Need It and Stupid People Don't Listen

      by Brian76239 on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 10:25:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "Sliders" and "great" in the same sentence. Wow. (0+ / 0-)
  •  Missing my hoagies (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    revbludge, varro

    I lived for a while near Pittsburgh, PA, in the 1970s and ate the best hoagies ever while living there. Like you say, the BREAD has to be right, and yes it is a messy and WORTHWHILE SANDWICH. What I would give to walk into the little cheese shop on my way home from work and order a hoagie! I'm missing REAL pretzels too with hot cheese dip! The best, the best, the best! Thanks for reminding me of those glory days...

  •  The only time I'm certain I heard them called (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    heroes is in a long-ago commercial for Certs or whatever: a man is at the far wall of a basketball court, saying "All I had was a hero sandwish with a couple of extra onions, and now, NO ONE WILL TALK TO ME!"

  •  Being an Italian-American from NY (4+ / 0-)

    I loved this diary.  Italian lunch sandwiches are work of art.  It's not just meat and cheese.  It's dressing, lettuce, peppers, onions, olives, and whatever else you wanted.  Or was we used to say in NY:  The works.

    By the way, my father ate a mortadella, salami, and provolone sandwich for lunch nearly every day after he immigrated here.  Illegally, btw.  But that's another story.  

    Thanks for this diary.  I needed it.  

  •  Best sub I've ever eaten. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    42, BlueStateRedhead, henlesloop

    Did a job near Brick, NJ, yesterday, and afterwards I stopped at Fortunato's deli  where I bought the All Italian sub, sixteen bucks and change.

    Good Jesus, Mikey. Over a foot long, and before it was wrapped, it sat six inches high. No jive bologna or plain cheese. The real deal, capicola, prosciutto, soprasetta salami, roasted peppers, slabs of mozzarella, and more. Everything, meat, cheese, and veggies, freshly sliced for each sandwich

    I never though I'd find myself thinking "What would it cost to air freight some subs back to Maryland?" I ate a third while burning up the asphalt on the NJ Turnpike, bringing the rest for Mr.s labradog's supper, and my breakfast today.

    I also stopped at Comforti's bakery right next door, for a sfogliatelle and a box full of cannoli.
    Call the doctor; my taste buds have had a twenty-four hour erection!

    I'm the plowman in the valley - with my face full of mud

    by labradog on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 08:48:22 AM PDT

    •  Great sandwich, but probably a week's worth of (0+ / 0-)

      calories. Bread (and no butter) and water for you the rest of the week. :)

      "A young man who wishes to remain a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading. There are traps everywhere ". C. S. Lewis

      by TofG on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 08:58:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I ate 1/3, and a sfogliatelle. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BlueStateRedhead, henlesloop

        Came to about 800 calories, I hadn't eaten breakfast, and dinner was a salad. Home free!

        Funny thing, I track my nutrition online, and you know the pie chart for balanced nutrition calories? 50% carbs, 30% fat, and 20% protein? The 1/3 sub and pastry was virtually perfect!

        I'm the plowman in the valley - with my face full of mud

        by labradog on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 04:50:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  "drop the gun take the cannoli". (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      "We thought about it for a long time, "Endeavor to persevere." And when we had thought about it long enough, we declared war on the Union."

      by voodoochild62 on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 02:09:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm a hoagie person, having grown up (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IamtheReason, Keith930, The Mort Man

    in Philly and Montgomery County, PA.

    How to make a hoagie.

    All cold cuts, cheese, lettuce, onions, and tomato must be sliced very thin on a slicer. Rolls must be fresh baked Amoroso hoagie rolls.


    Hoagie roll
    Olive oil
    Provolone cheese (2-3 slices)
    Boiled ham  (2-3 slices)
    Capacola (Italian spiced ham) (2-3 slices)
    Genoa salami (3-5 slices)
    Shredded lettuce
    Thin tomato slices (enough)
    Thin onion slices (I like lots)
    Sliced hot cherry peppers or pepperoncini (optional)

    Slice Amoroso roll nearly in half and open it. Brush both sides with olive oil. Lay cold cuts on in the order above, cheese first. Add a handful of lettuce on top, cover with tomato , then onion  slices, then sprinkle oregano generously. Add peppers. Close rolll and eat.

    If you put mayonnaise on this sandwich, you can call it a hero or a sub, but it ain't a HOAGIE.

    •  glad you reminded people that the cheese (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      goes on first.  It helps insure the "structural integrity" of the resulting sandwich from first bite to last.

      I'm Jonesing for some good capacola right about now.  

      Oregon:'s cold. But it's a damp cold.

      by Keith930 on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 10:01:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  "Gabbagole," as they say. I like the hot kind. (0+ / 0-)

        I am only a purist about putting mayo on an Italian Hoagie. I don't think it's wrong that people make roast beef, turkey and tuna hoagies, and I don't care if they put mayo on those. (Yes, it's very decent of me). I like a tunafish hoagie every now and then, with tuna salad, lettuce, tomato, onion and oregano.

  •  You never know here...I never expected this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BlueStateRedhead, henlesloop

    diary to get spotlighted, let alone garner as many comments as it has so far.

    But never underestimate the power of regional food pride, or the affinity we all have for a damned good sandwich.

    Oregon:'s cold. But it's a damp cold.

    by Keith930 on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 10:04:52 AM PDT

  •  In Bangor, Maine there used to be a sandwich shop (0+ / 0-)

    ...called The Coffee Pot. They made the BEST sandwiches but my brother swore that the only difference between the regular "coffeepot" and the deluxe was extra onions. Regardless, they were fantastic.

    Just because you get away with it does not make it legal or right.

    by fljelad on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 10:17:44 AM PDT

  •  What is it about the PNW and pizza? (4+ / 0-)

    I searched for good pizza in western WA for years and finally gave up (and dont get me started on the lack of decent Mexican in Western WA or Western OR.)

    It's not even something cultural like that the northern Euroeans who settled the place had an aversion to spicy food and this has been passed down in the PNW culture--because holy moly, they like their Thai food so hot that you can see flames.

    The Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese,Fusion and Seafood in the PNW are second to none. The creativity by local chefs using locally sourced produce is inspiring.

    But the pizza and Mexcan food?  Meh.

    © grover

    Join Muppets Against Mitt! Go to to join now. This message brought to you by the number 2012 and the letters B and O.

    by grover on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 10:33:50 AM PDT

    •  Probably newness, and in the case of the PNW... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ....fewer Italians than in the East and places like Chicago and St. Louis.

      In suburban Pittsburgh, where I grew up, there were dozens of mom-and-pop pizza and hoagie shops, and they became part of the culture.  Probably less so here; the pizza here tends to be high-end, technically good, but without the years of experimenting as to what people like.

      I'd say that there isn't really good Chinese food except for some places near 82nd (and Legin is closing!)  For Indian and general Asian, strip malls in Beaverton are better than most places in Portland.

      Thai food carts downtown are good and cheap - $5 for a huge portion of curry....nom nom nom.  Too bad that a lot of other carts have forgotten about the "cheap" part - it defeats the purpose of having low overhead....

      9-11 changed everything? Well, Katrina changed it back.

      by varro on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 11:18:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  this is spot on true (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Having lived in LA for many years, I must admit that I do miss the good Dim Sum I used to go out for on Saturdays.  Especially the turnip cakes.  (I sounds blech, but it is quite good)

        Portland has many good restaurants, but the ethnic food scene here is pretty uninspiring.

        Oregon:'s cold. But it's a damp cold.

        by Keith930 on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 12:42:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Tipped while eating a sandwich (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OleHippieChick, Keith930, milkbone

    made at a Pork Store in Queens.

  •  In Queens NY, it was always a Hero. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Keith930, AdamW, kayak58, henlesloop

    Being true goyim, mayonnaise was heavily involved. Usually roast beef with provolone, salt, pepper and extra mayo. The deli we'd order from used half an Italian loaf. They didn't cut the bread through but left a "hinge" down one long side of the bread. They'd open the bread flat, spread gobs of mayo, drape the roast beef and then fold it all in on itself. It didn't all squish out one end.
    I'm probably wrong, but I always had the feeling the word "hero" applied to the sandwich was a misapplication of the word "gyro" pronounced "yeero," although the hero is nothing like the gyro.

    rMoney: Just another jerk, lookin' for work.

    by OleHippieChick on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 10:47:42 AM PDT

  •  hero, hoagie, et al (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Thestral, terabthia2, henlesloop

    I grew up on Long Island - where it was heros - and I'm sure, as it was pointed out, that it was a bastardized from gyro, but came to be known as any sub.

    I went to school upstate NY - and there it's always "sub" - to me, that's the original generic name - and I also always figured it was because of the shape.  So I figure, "sub" is the original, and the others are all the same sandwich more or less, just with different names.

    So I get "hero" - I get "sub" - and I even get "grinder" .... but I've now lived in the Philly suburbs going on 20 years and I have no friggin clue, still, where the name "hoagie" comes from.  The name drives me nuts, still, particularly because of the Philly accent I usually hear from people saying the word.  Far as I can tell, "hoagie" is just a sub. I never hear anyone call them "subs" around here, even the most basic sandwich - except for me.

    the most comprehensive college hockey resource

    by AdamW on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 11:17:50 AM PDT

  •  Grew up in CT (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Keith930, Thestral

    right on the state line with MA. We had grinders, often billed as "hot-oven grinders." Meatball and Italian sausage were the most popular. Smothered in red sauce and topped with cheese, and finished in the pizza oven.

    Living in Alaska, most people look at me funny if I mention getting a "grinder." Never knew the origin of the name, but do now - thanks.

    Progressives are defined by who they want to help; Conservatives are defined by who they hate.

    by frsbdg on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 11:40:08 AM PDT

    •  What about meatball wedges? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CTMET, grover

      I read this entire string of comments before weighing in. I grew up in NY and the suburbs and never ever heard 'grinder' until I went to college in New England. Hoagies sometimes, heroes yes, subs were from shops that were not Italian in my experience - usually delis or chain stores. We had cold heroes (I was partial to roast beef) and hot meatball wedges: a total mess and the only thing I ate for Saturday lunch at a luncheonette in Mt. Kisco, NY with my father for years. The bread (yes, hinged) soaked up the sauce. It was sublime. You could also get pepper and egg and veal and peppers, hot.

      Round rolls: you could go to a deli and ask for your sandwich on a roll, or any kind of bread, but this was not a hero or wedge.

      The Philly cheese-steak thing was totally foreign, we never went south of Jersey. And no deep dish pizza! Chicago invented that. We had Sicilian pies, too, very thick crust, minimal toppings (I'm talking the 60s).

      ...oh, and we NEVER pressed them. That was for grilled cheese and hamburger patties. Panini, they are an affectation of the craze for Italian bar food. When I was growing up, Italian was NOT cool and hip. We drank espresso at home, from a stove-top moka, with sugar added and a twist of lemon.

      Been a vegetarian now for 35 years...thanks everyone.

      You get what you deserve, even if you don't deserve it (Issan Dorsey, Zen teacher)

      by kayak58 on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 01:00:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I grew up like you. (0+ / 0-)

        Pastina often for breakfast, roasted red peppers with Italian bread (make a sandwich of it if you were heading out the door, but bring napkin!), peppers and eggs, asparagus and eggs, broccoli and macaroni, baked ziti, macaroni with gravy on Sunday (with meatballs,  of course), eggplant parmesan, clam sauce... Etc.

        And most meals were followed up by espresso brewed up  the stove in a little pot, served in demitasse cups.

        Humble, but delicious food. Nothing trendy about it.

        It's how I cook most of the time, actually. Simple food, the same as my grandparents made.

        © grover

        Join Muppets Against Mitt! Go to to join now. This message brought to you by the number 2012 and the letters B and O.

        by grover on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 08:17:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Regional food: Hoagie ... is SOUTH Jersey too. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    There's a big difference between North and South Jersey. South Jersey is influenced/connected to Philly and Eastern Pennsylvania. (That's why you also get scrapple down there too, the Pennsylvania Dutch influence.)

    North Jersey is connected to New York. They don't know what a hoagie is across the Hudson.

    There's an invisible dividing line in Jersey, somewhere north of Toms River where hoagies go away and subs start to reign. I think the separation goes back to old land settlement patterns and old transportation routes.

    Signed: A Beach Haven Kid
    (and no, that's not on "L.B.I", it's on "The Island")

    "We need, in every community, a group of angelic troublemakers..." -- Bayard Rustin

    by BK here on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 01:08:42 PM PDT

  •  I'm from South Eastern PA, about 35 miles from (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Philly...I grew up on GREAT Italian sandwiches, mostly hoagies and grinders. QWhen I lived in Berkeley, CA in the mid 1970's, I was shocked to find not only pineapple pizza, but NOT ONE decent sandwich shop.

    I move back here and live near a small city where there are so many very good sandwich shops and restaurants I stopped looking for more after a few months...I don't NEED more good restaurants than I already know and sometimes patronize. There are a LOT of Italian people living here, which is one thing I always look for in a new place...If there are a good number of Italians - and Chinese- there are a lot of places to buy good quality fresh produce and fruit and good restaurants.

    I live within 10 minutes of 5 very good sandwich shops, a GREAT Chinese restaurant, and the BEST Italian restaurant I have ever been to...including those in San Francisco.

    I own my house outright, and have no plans to ever move.
    A great article-thank you.


    Retired AFSCME Steward and union thug-licensed gun carrying progressive veteran.

    by old mark on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 01:54:43 PM PDT

    •  If you lived in Berkeley in the mid-70's (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      linkage, old mark

      Then surely you must remember "Top Dog".  It wasn't a restaurant, but a streetside sausage grill.  I attended Berkeley between 74-75, and after we got high, we went to Top Dog for munchies.  The Louisiana Hot links, with hot mustard and hot kraut...would set your mouth on fire.  But in a good way.  

      Across the street was Swensen's Ice Cream Shop.

      Top Dog wasn't a sandwich shop, but it was the best hot dog stand I have ever spent money at.

      I wonder if it's still there....

      Oregon:'s cold. But it's a damp cold.

      by Keith930 on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 04:46:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  In northern New Jersey (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    (NOT "Jersey", dang it!  That's an island off the coast of England, of which NEW Jersey is the namesake...I know even people from "Jersey" do that, but I can't stand it...It's not YORK, it's NEW YORK, isn't it????) it was always Heroes.

    When the Subway sandwich chain came around, (which originated in Connecticut BTW) "Subs" became interchangeable with "Heroes."

    I never saw grinders anywhere in New York.   That was always a New England thing, specifically Massachusetts.

    I believe that "Hoagies" were sandwiches named after "Hoggies" that were ship builders in Philadelphia.  Something about "Hog Island"?  Anyway, that's the story I remember reading.

    Also that a "Hero" sandwich was so named because you were a "hero" if you could finish it.  No relation to "Gyro" even though the pronounciation is close and Greeks sold a lot of both kinds of sandwiches.  |8-p

  •  Best sub sammiches I ever had (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    was from the (probably closed by now) Wisconsin street Milwaukee Suburpia shop. I used to work nearby, and took requests from the peanut gallery. I have never had a sub as good as they used to make btw. I preferred the Miles Standish sub. Yum. Not kosher tho', sorry broz. Although my partner makes killer dishes that blow them away. Five star chef she is. And I love her more than life itself.


    Mitt's full of it / Ryan's lyin' -- "Your money and your life."

    by BusyinCA on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 02:22:05 PM PDT

  •  Do NOT order a bagel in Sam Francisco (0+ / 0-)

    unless you have a hankering for a toasted hamburger bun with a hole in it.

    Don't let millionaires steal Social Security.
    I said, "Don't let millionaires steal Social Security!"

    by Leo in NJ on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 02:47:11 PM PDT

  •  In Portsmouth, NH... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Icicle68, BlueStateRedhead, milkbone

    as you come around a curve getting off the highway, there is a submarine named The USS Albacore...

    Designed, built and maintained by the skilled engineers and craftsmen of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Albacore served as a sea-going test platform from 1953 to 1972. Albacore's teardrop-shaped hull was the prototype for the Navy's nuclear powered submarine force and was the first boat built specifically to operate underwater. Prior to Albacore, submarines had been characterized as surface vessels that could submerge. With her revolutionary hull design and state-of-the-art systems, Albacore provided the Navy with an engineering platform to evaluate systems and design features before including them in future classes of submarine. Her motto was Praenuntius Futuri (Forerunner of the Future) and her mission was experimental.
    Now located at a park there, you can visit and buy stuff.
    But I always laugh because, c'mon, it's a submarine named Albacore...a TUNA SUB!

    Isn’t it ironic to think that man might determine his own future by something so seemingly trivial as the choice of an insect spray. ~ Rachel Carson, Silent Spring ~

    by MA Liberal on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 03:52:17 PM PDT

  •  a Connecticut Grinder (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dr Swig Mcjigger

    of my youth was a half loaf of local Italian Bread, crisp on the outside, tender on the inside, stale in a day and a couple of meatballs and sauce and maybe some grilled peppers.

    Re-elect Barack Obama and elect Elizabeth Warren "Mitt Romney...utterly devoid of charm and mildly offensive."

    by al23 on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 03:53:26 PM PDT

  •  Gli italiani lo facciamo meglio! (0+ / 0-)


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