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Dec 13, 2002 07:30 AM

Subs vs.hoagies

  • s

Coming from Philly, the home of the hoagie, I have a question about subs that natives to this area may be able to answer.

I went to have an Italian sub at Santoro's Sub Villa. I was surprised because it did not come with lettuce on it. When I brought it back up to ask for lettuce, the guy said, "You're not from around here, are you?" He told me that subs traditionally do not have lettuce on them. That got me thinking...

Now, I always thought that subs were the New England version of a hoagie (although I must admit that hoagies are in a class unto themselves)in terms of your basic ingredients.

Any comments?

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  1. I always say what I want on a sub, that way I don't get any surprises. I'd assume there would be lettuce on an Italian sub, but maybe I'm wrong. I think most places will ask what you want if you don't specify.

    1. Depends on where you get your Italian. Try Angelina's on Broadway Everett. Good sub, great bread, and lettuce.

      1. I have had the same thing happen. Also, am confused about something called a "bomb"? Have you encountered that and what is it?

        16 Replies
        1. re: Coyote

          As Alan said, I think you have to specify what exactly you want on it altho lettuce is a staple of Italians I thought. And a Bomb to me just means loaded with everything. As in a steak bomb has cheese, onions, peppers and mushrooms. Are there other kinds of bombs?

          1. re: Joanie

            Not quite but damn close. A proper steak bomb has steak, cheese, onions, peppers, mushrooms, and *Genoa salami*.
            Best cure for a hangover I have found sofar in Boston (Assuming I don't wake up till 11 or later;)

            1. re: Josh

              I've also seen steak bombs with sausage in place of the salami-- I think Carl's makes tham that way, but I haven't been there in quite a while.

              1. re: AlanH

                Yikes, meat overload. Whether it's salami or sausage. Someone on was saying D'Angelo's makes the best steak & cheese, I'm gonna have to give it a try.

                1. re: Joanie

                  Beware, Joanie, those who call a place "the best"-- especially if the place in question is a chain. D'Angelo's isn't bad, but it is what it is.

                  1. re: AlanH

                    Oh I know about chains, as does the original poster. He was embarrassed, this is how he put it:

                    Ok, I will take a chance on ruining any credibility I have. You should know that I am currently living in NJ about an hour from Philadelphia so I have had many Philly cheese steaks in Philly from many different places.

                    Please give them a try before dissing--

                    The BEST Philly-style cheese steaks I have had are from...
                    O god, here goes...
                    D'Angelo's Sub shops.
                    There I said it and I mean it. They are excellent.

                    1. re: Joanie

                      I think he ruined his own cred. There's nothing "Philly style" about D'Angelo's steak and cheese, at least not in the Pat's/Geno's/Jim's vein. That said, it isn't all that bad, I'd give it a solid "B".

                      1. re: AlanH

                        I also have to admit it.

                        D'angelo's Steak and Cheese (the #9) is superior to any of the others that I have tried around here. Lately the sub shops near me have all been "grease bombs."

                        1. re: horrible

                          I have not had authentic steak n' cheese subs from Philly so I cannot comment on whether D'Angelo's can compete with the truly great, famous, philly steak sub shops....I can, however, say that around here, D'Angelo's gets a thumbs-up when it comes to steak and cheese subs. Fresh ingredients, great bread.

                          I will usually do my best to steer clear of chains but let's face it, sometimes they do the trick. Also, I think D'Angelo's offers one of the best turkey subs around. Real, fresh roasted turkey - not that pressed slimy stuff some places try and pass off as 'turkey'.

                          1. re: lori b

                            OK, here is my rant - but first my credentials: Born in raised in Boston Suburbs, 14 years in downtown Philadelphia, back in boston now.

                            1. A properly made philly cheesesteak is a thing of beauty. It requires a dedicated grill man who constantly chops the very thin sliced steak as it cooks with a pair of long spatulas. Mixes in grilled onions at the end and applies cheese to the top of the stack, allows it to melt slightly, then lays the bun over it and flips the whole stack up with the spatula. It SHOULD be a "greasebomb". If you try to eat it with a suit, plan on a large drycleaning bill. D'Angelos is the closest thing we have here.

                            2. With the exception of water ice, which I miss, and cheesesteak, philadelphia does not have any regional cuisine worth emulating. Hoagies are horrible in almost every case. Actually, on second thought, the south-philly practice of placing cooked spinach inside sandwiches is great, and they also make great broccoli rabe. But Hoagies suck.

                            3. Italian subs, IMHO, include shredded iceberg lettuce. I would complain if I didn't get lettuce, and I am from here. My understanding of Sub vs. grinder is hot vs. cold filling. Meatball grinder, italian sub. I virtually always ask for a toasted italian sub (meat and cheese are added, then slid into the pizza oven. cheese melts, meats release grease and juices, bread crisps, then lettuce, tomatoes, etc. are added). It remains a sub, though.

                            4. Nobody makes a italian sub like a new england pizza shop. I have a pavlovian reaction to signs saying "_____ house of pizza"(insert town name of your choice). Don't bother with the pizza, but stop in and order a toasted italian with extra hot peppers and say yes to every other choice they offer you. It will be great.

                            Sorry if I offended you hoagie fans, but tastycakes also suck.

                            1. re: tdaaa

                              tdaa- that surprises me about the lettuce. I can honestly say, that I don't remember ever getting lettuce in Italian subs when I was a kid. I will, say, I have not ordered one in ages- we usually make them at home. I think I will have to try my local sub shop soon, and see what happens!

                              1. re: macca

                                i'm a lynn rat from way back. if my eye-talian ever came with lettuce i'd be all WTF! no, no lettuce on an italian sub.

                                1. re: ScubaSteve

                                  Admittedly, my childhood italian experience is based on Wayland house of Pizza and little else, but I believe I remember lettuce on them way back when. I could be wrong. The most important parts are the toasting and the oil on the bread before the meat.

                                  1. re: tdaaa

                                    well- you are right the "house of...." does serve lettuce. I am remembering the small sub shops- no toasting of the rolls, no lettuce, no greek pizz- just good cold cuts, good fresh rolls ( lots of sub shops in my area used Piantedosi's in Malden, olive oil, a bit of oregano, and pickles, hots, onions and tomatoes. Heaven on a rolol.

                                    1. re: ScubaSteve

                                      Well ScubaSteve & tdaaa,

                                      I'm also from LYNN & have lived in WAYLAND for a couple of decades!. No way Jose, nuh uh, ixnay on the lettuce! The late, much lamented Sam's on Lewis Street in Lynn is still my benchmark. God I loved their subs!

                                      The only places I'd expect to get lettuce on an Italian cold cut would be off a roach coach, a vending machine or by guys named George or Spiro. Btw, macca's version/vision below, except for the pickles, (my own personal quirk)
                                      is absolutely correct. Also, nothing's chopped, except for the hots, sliced please.You might like it toasted, tdaa, but that makes it a different animal entirely.


            2. Growing up in NJ, I called them hoagies, too. Grinders are what they're called in central PA, and subs up here, Po' Boys down south. I also called them heroes when I lived in NJ.

              But they're all essentially the same thing - a long French or Italian-style bread loaf, filled with meats and cheeses, topped with an assortment of lettuce, peppers, pickles - whatever - with a vinaigrette dressing or mayo.

              What the sub guy told you (IMO) is a regional opinion re: lettuce - I've always thought of them has *having* lettuce.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Linda W.

                Hi everyone. I'm a longtime lurker, first time contributor. Funny that this of all topics got me to participate. There's something about the new england sub shop that keeps me coming back. They seem so generic and unimaginative and non regional (sorry, my hyphen is not working) yet they actually are quite unique and sort of lovable in their stubborn resistance to change. (But can't they toss a little fresh herbs on the pasta?)

                Anyway, I always thought that in New England we basically don't use the term hoagie. We have subs and grinders, grinders being a sub that's toasted in the oven. Am I right?

              2. You would not believe what some people put in a 'Submarine Sandwich' In Ohio, they tried to serve me
                Pressed Ham and Baloney. A sub is a poor 'sub'stitute for a Hoagie. It's the roll. No place but Philly.