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 Hoagie/Grinder or Submarine

Change Page: < 12 | Showing page 2 of 2, messages 31 to 40 of 40
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  • Total Posts: 3589
  • Joined: 7/3/2004
  • Location: San Francisco, CA
RE: Hoagie/Grinder or Submarine Tue, 08/9/05 7:08 PM (permalink)
In 50's/60's Maryland, they were "submarines" or "subs". One of my favorite places to get one was "Chris's Sub Base" on the harbor square in Annapolis. At college in Baltimore they usually came from Harry Little's but sometimes the "B & M Sub Shop". Nearer to home there was a suberb but nameless (because I can't recall the name) place on University Blvd in Wheaton that made them.

    • Total Posts: 3
    • Joined: 8/29/2005
    • Location: Medina, OH
    RE: Hoagie/Grinder or Submarine Mon, 08/29/05 12:52 PM (permalink)
    I was born and raised in New London, CT and the surrounding area. Sub sandwiches are always called Grinders southeastern CT, and parts of Rhode Island.

    I have always heard the story behind the sandwich and the name as follows: A New London shop (perhaps Capaldos Market) made sandwiches and sold them from a cart at the entrance to the Electric Boat Shipyard in Groton (across the Thames River from New London) during WWII. The sandwiches were a favorite with the welders and grinders (the guys who grind the weld down smooth), and were usually called "Grinder's Sandwiches", later shortened to Grinders.

    The Grinder was derived from an Italian sandwich called a Neopolitan, and adapted for local ingredients. I grew up on Grinders and ever since moving away from that area, I have lamented the fact that Subs, Hoagies, etc are not really the same. Although invented by an Italian, its the Greek pizza shops that make the best Grinders. The quintessential Grinder can be had at Ocean Avenue Pizza, if anyone is interested.

    The most striking difference between Grinders and all the rest of them is the special bread and the copious amounts of olive oil. Its not a grinder unless olive oil is running out of the butcher paper they are wrapped in and darkening the paper bag you are carrying them in.

    Another aspect to the story is that after WWII, all the submariners from the Submarine Base in Groton went back to their home towns across the country and spread the idea of these sandwiches across the country. Hence the name Submariner's Sandwiches or Subs. I am not sure if I believe this, but I do believe the first part of the story.

    New London residents will insist that all of these sandwiches are variations on the original grinder, but I am more inclined to believe that the numerous Italian immigrants who opened markets and sandwich shops all along the east coast were just recreating popular sandwiches from the old country. I have had sandwiches in Italy and its easy the Italian roots in the Grinder, what with the olive oil dripping out all over the place.

    I have finally been able to duplicate the classic "Regular Grinder" out here in Ohio and if anyone is interested, I can post how I make them. People here rave about them and wonder why all subs are not made this way.

      Michael Hoffman

      • Total Posts: 17795
      • Joined: 7/1/2000
      • Location: Gahanna, OH
      RE: Hoagie/Grinder or Submarine Mon, 08/29/05 1:28 PM (permalink)
      I make great subs here in Ohio, myself. And, except for the bread, which can't be found in central Ohio, they're as good as any I grew up eating in the New Haven area In fact, if Charlie Marchitto's mother saw one of my sandwiches (again, except for the bread) she'd think she'd made it herself. Mrs. Marchitto made the subs at their grocery store on Dixwell Avenue in Hamden. They cost a quarter, each made on a half loaf of Italian bread. One of those, a lemon Frisbie pie, and a Pepsi or X-Tra Cola ended up costng a grand total of 35-cents.

        • Total Posts: 3
        • Joined: 8/29/2005
        • Location: Medina, OH
        RE: Hoagie/Grinder or Submarine Mon, 08/29/05 1:42 PM (permalink)
        I did some research on the web and found some general info the origin of these Italian sandwiches and an interesting note about Grinders and the shipyards in Groton.


        The "Sub" (salami, cheese, peppers, olives, oil) was introduced to America by immigrants from Southern Italy in the early part of the 20th century. The progenitor of the sub was probably the "muffolette," (see below for references to the muffoletta sandwich). This type of Sicilian bread was traditionally toasted then filled with fresh ricotta, anchovies oregano, and olive oil. Other Italian meat/cheese/vegetable filled breads (calzones, impanatas) were also brought to this country. After World War II Italian food gained popularity with mainstream America. Over time, the sub assimilated. This accounts for the use of other meats (turkey, roast beef), cheese (American, Swiss), vegetables (lettuce, tomato) and spreads (mayonnaise, mustard).

        "Pizzerias may have been among the first Italian-American eateries, but even at the turn of the century distinctions were clear-cut as to what constituted a true ristorante. To be merely a pizzamaker was to be at the bottom of the culinary and social scale; so many pizzeria owners began offering other dishes, including the 'hero' sandwich (also, depending on the region of the United States, called a 'wedge,' a 'hoagie,' a 'sub,' or a 'grinder') made on a Italian loaf of bread with lots of salami, cheese, and peppers."
        ---America Eats Out, John Mariani [Morrow:New York] 1991 (p. 66)

        During World War II, the commissary of the United States Navy's submarine base in Groton, Connecticut, ordered five hundred hero sandwiches a day from Benedetto Capaldo's Italian deli in New London, where the name 'sub' was soon applied to the item."
        ---America Eats Out, John Mariani [Morrow:New York] 1991 (p. 114-5)

        This may explain the term "sub", but I must say that everywhere around that area, they are called Grinders whether hot, cold, or whatever the ingredients. (i.e. "Could I have a tuna grinder to go, please?")

        The perfect New London lunch for me was a "regular grinder", a glass of fountain pepsi, and some Wise potato chips.


          • Total Posts: 3
          • Joined: 8/29/2005
          • Location: Medina, OH
          RE: Hoagie/Grinder or Submarine Mon, 08/29/05 2:08 PM (permalink)
          Good work on duplicating the Grinder experience. We should compare recipes.

          I just discovered a link to a restaurant in Canton, OH that claims to be making real Grinders. I will check this out in the next few days.



            • Total Posts: 217
            • Joined: 10/15/2003
            • Location: Putnam, CT
            RE: Hoagie/Grinder or Submarine Mon, 08/29/05 2:55 PM (permalink)
            Here in Eastern CT, we've always called them grinders, whether hot or cold. And, slightly off topic, we're grateful that our Sub Base has been taken off the closure list, thus saving the local economy of most towns all up and down the Ct-RI border.

              • Total Posts: 674
              • Joined: 4/8/2003
              • Location: Rochester, NY
              RE: Hoagie/Grinder or Submarine Mon, 08/29/05 2:56 PM (permalink)
              In upstate New York, they have always been known as submarine sandwiches, regardless of being cold or hot. In fact, many menu boards list the cold subs on the left side, then list the hot subs on the right side. A hot meatball sub is still called a sub.

                • Total Posts: 5546
                • Joined: 8/4/2005
                • Location: Crofton, MD
                RE: Hoagie/Grinder or Submarine Tue, 08/30/05 11:36 AM (permalink)
                I'm originally from upstate, and that's true, we pretty much called them subs.
                But, from time to time, you;d see hoagie or hero and, if memory serves me correct, the hoagie roll was shorter than a 12" sub roll, and had sesame seeds on the top.
                The sub, was 12" long and had no seeds. Most places would either serve a whole sub or half sub.

                But some places (a rarity) had 8" hoagie rolls instead of the traditional sub rolls. So you'd get a "sub" on a "hoagie" roll.

                A "hero" was the same as a sub and the name was used at a few delis that were trying to be different and pass themselves off as "authentic" by using the NYC term.

                A "grinder" was a similar sandwich, but the bread was a little different. It was tougher, chewier bread and would sometimes be grilled. Again, this was a hard to find item.

                But, as Berndog pointed out, the VAST majority of places sold hot subs and cold subs.


                  • Total Posts: 5546
                  • Joined: 8/4/2005
                  • Location: Crofton, MD
                  RE: Hoagie/Grinder or Submarine Tue, 08/30/05 11:43 AM (permalink)
                  In DC, it's pretty much subs. Except some Italian places which will call them grinders.

                  I think, since DC is such a meld of people from ALL over the US and world, you see ALL the terms for this kind of sandwich, but sub is most or cold.

                  And for the record, a Gyro (which, of course, is nothing like a submarine sandwich) is neither pronounced "hero" any more than it is pronouced jie-roh (like pyro). It's Ghiero. (half way between yiero, and hard "g" Giero).

                    seafarer john

                    RE: Hoagie/Grinder or Submarine Tue, 08/30/05 5:29 PM (permalink)
                    Around here it is usually pronounced JI'-RO. I'm sure the Greeks behind the counter cringe every time they hear it, but I'm comforted in theknowledge that they recover quickly when the cash register rings up another sale.

                    Cheers, John
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