A submarine sandwich, also known as a sub, grinder,
hero, hoagie, Italian sandwich, po' boy, wedge, zep, torpedo, bocadillo or
roll, is a sandwich that consists of an oblong roll, often of Italian,
Spanish bread or French bread, split lengthwise either into two pieces or opened
in a "V" on one side, and filled with various meats, cheeses, vegetables,
spices, and sauces (photo on the left).
The sandwich has no apparent generic name, and major U.S. cities
have their own names for it. The usage of the several terms varies regionally
but not in any pattern, as they have been used variously by the people and
enterprises who make and sell them. The terms submarine and sub are widespread
and not assignable to any certain region, though many of the localized terms are
clustered in the northeast United States, where the most Italian Americans live.
The sandwich originated in several different Italian American
communities in the Northeastern United States from the late 19th to mid 20th
centuries. The popularity of this Italian-American cuisine has grown from its
origins in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts to spread to
most parts of the United States, and with the advent of chain restaurants, is
now available in many parts of the world.
In Europe this would simply be
known as a
Baguette, or a
Ciabatta, named after the type of bread being
used. These types of bread are traditional breads in use in France, Italy and
Spain for centuries.
Left: An Italian Ciabatta roll.
of this sandwich use an oblong bread
roll as opposed to sliced bread. The
traditional sandwich usually
includes a variety of Italian
luncheon meats such as dry Genoa
mortadella, thin sliced
provolone cheese served with
lettuce, tomato and onions seasoned
with salt, pepper, oregano and olive
American bologna is sometimes
used in place of mortadella and ham
is often substituted for capicola,
with prosciutto frequently omitted.
Many locations that provide catering
services also offer very large
3-foot and 6-foot "Giant"
sandwiches. Crusty Italian breads
are preferred for the hearty
Grinders are sometimes made
with toasted foccacia bread and melted
Both hot and cold sandwiches
have been called "grinders", though the term
usually refers to a baked or toasted sandwich.
NY style Heroes usually have
Tomatoes were not a
historical ingredient of the hero, but are often
included in today's heroes.
should have bread that is crusty on the outside
and soft on the inside.
Hoagie rolls are never sliced
in half, but are left with a generous "hinge"
along the bottom of the roll.
Quite often, much of the
roll's inside will be removed to allow for the
ingredients to fit.
Hoagies often have more than
one deli meat (never fish or chicken).
Mustard and vinegar were not
traditionally used in hoagies, and mayonnaise
never is. The traditional dressing was olive
oil. Other oils, possibly seasoned, or Italian
dressing are sometimes used today.
Sweet peppers are the
default, though can be replaced with hot peppers