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Jan 18, 2004 09:43 PM

Subs / grinders @ Santoros

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My born-in-Chestnut Hill father says a place called SANTOROS had the best subs he ever had in Boston. This was back in the mid-1960's when he was at LOGAN AIRPORT.

Can anyone offer information as to their history, and whether they're still around today?

Also, are there any distinctions between subs and grinders (I'm a Southerner, gimmer a break here!)

Thanks !

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  1. I remember Santoro's well from the 50's and 60's. Most of them are gone now, but there was one on RT 1 in Saugus. I haven't tried it, so I can't vouch whether it is the same as the original.

    On my last trip to Boston I did find a sub shop near BC on Commonwealth Ave called College Subs, which is the closest to the old Santoro's that I've come accross.

    I think the terminology of subs vs grinders is a geographical one. In Boston they always seem to be subs. In Philadelphia, grinders.

    10 Replies
    1. re: jaweino

      Close. A Grinder is a Hoagie that has been toasted in the pizza oven after it was made.

      1. re: FatBob

        In Northern Worcester County they were always grinders, whether they were toasted or not !

      2. re: jaweino
        Michele Blake

        My father grew up in Stoneham, Ma and always told us about Santoro's. I wanted to surprise him with a fed-ex delivery and cannot find any information. Has the Santoro's in Stoneham closed? I would appreciate any help.

        1. re: Michele Blake

          I found two in towns nearby. I don't know if they are / were affiliated.

          Santoros Sub Villa Sandwich Shop
          259 Essex St
          Saugus, MA 01906
          Tel: Phone: (781) 233-022

          Santoro's Sandwich Shop
          378 Main St
          Wakefield, MA

          1. re: mfoeas

            The ORIGINAL Santoro's was at 50 Northern Ave. The father and his daughter, Marilynn ran it. It was a have for truckers and business men in suits the same. Just standing counter space and just the BEST! I remember going by and hitting the air horns, then making a u turn at Anthony's Pier 4. When I double parked in front, my pepper steak and cheese, with mayo, raw onions, pickles and a scrambled egg on top was on the counter! They were displaced during the "big dig". The father had a stroke shortly before and was never the same as he was back in the day. I judge all other sandwich shops by their standards! NONE have met them yet!

            1. re: tonyiiiafl

              I am lucky enough to have been to that Santoro's a couple of times, when I had business in the area back in the mid 1990s. Great subs--great place. I never new there was a chain of them, it seemed so unique.

              1. re: Ralphie_in_Boston

                I really need to stop in at the Malden one when I'm in the area. My curiosity is getting to me - there are some negative reviews on Yelp, but that won't stop me taking one for the team. ;-)

                1. re: threedogs

                  Cool, do report if you end up there! I rarely pass through Malden but if I happen across it I'll pull over as well!

                  1. re: Ralphie_in_Boston

                    Same here, Raphie! But if I do end up there, I'm getting me a sub. From the photos on Yelp, it looks like it's the same as it was in the '70's (perhaps the same grime, too? lol)

            2. re: mfoeas

              Never knew there was one in Wakefield. The one in Saugus has been there forever. We used to go there when I was a kid, and they had a toppings bar- they put the meat and cheese on, and then you could go and put on whatever you wanted, We loved it, and piled on the toppings.

        2. The one that was in Quincy in the 70's is long gone.

          1 Reply
          1. re: CookieLee

            Where was the Santoro's in Quincy? I don't ever remember seeing one here.

          2. a sub is a roll , usually with meat, cheese, olive oil and toppings. Toppings never include lettuce, and a sub is never cooked. The classic sub is an Italian- salami, hot ham, mortadella, provolone, olive oil, salt pepper. Toppings are usually tomatoes, pickles, onions and hot peppers.
            A grinder is a toasted sandwich, which usually has shredded lettuce. Grinders are typically sold at Greek Pizza places ie: Saugus House of Pizza.

            1 Reply
            1. re: macca

              Perfect description, macca. In the day, Santoro's was the only sub to buy. Tried most of them and frankly, the best was in Stoneham. The owner, Paul, was from the family I think, and he was a master. Wakefield was OK, and now, Saugus has a hint of the greatness but. . . . maybe memories are just sweeter! My go-to now is Vinnie's for a super-Italian.

            2. I grew up in Malden back in the 60's & 70's when there were two Santoro's - both on Main St., both pretty close to each other. Driving by recently, I was very surprised to see that one is still there - across from Sacred Hearts Church. (Not the one I used to frequent for my high school Italian sub lunches, though).

              I have no idea how it is now, and I don't know much about the history of the place - except I could get a really great Italian sub there. (Back then, my mom - second generation Sicilian - called the bread rolls used in subs "spukies" (sp). Haven't heard that in years...) Good solid sub roll, good quality Italian deli meats, provolone cheese (never American!), chopped tomatoes and pickles, the optional hots, and oil & vinegar on top. Mmm... bag of chips & a soda. High school gourmet lunch! :D

              6 Replies
              1. re: threedogs

                believe you can still get spucadella rolls at bova bakery in the north end. they are also open 24 hours, if i am not mistaken.

                1. re: hyde

                  I love Bova's- esp. the braided rolls w/sesame seeds! Not sure what spucadella rolls are - to us, spuckies were just sub rolls (and since we were in Malden, it also meant Piantedosi rolls). Curious now, though!

                2. re: threedogs

                  I remember the Santoros on Main street, right before you got to the intersection at Malden High, if you were coming from Melrose. Used to get their eggplant subs.
                  Spukie rolls- we still get them from Piantedosi's when having a part!

                  1. re: macca

                    That was 'my' Santoro's! I'd grab one on the way to going to school (Malden High). Always Italian for me (I have been nothing, if not, consistent, when I find something I like). And yes - we used to buy from Piantedosi's right up until we moved away (I came back w/my kids - so they grew up in Malden, too).

                    I have to admit, though - had some of their standard sub rolls recently when I was driving nearby - not nearly in love with the rolls like I was during all those years. Taste buds have expanded, I think (plus I make my own bread when I feel like it). Still, for a standard Italian sub, that's what you need (not a crusty French baguette, IMO), just like a Bahn Mi needs a totally different type of bread.

                    1. re: threedogs

                      In the "old days" of the waterfront Santoro's was just about the only thing between the beginning of Northern Avenue after going over the old bridge until you got the Pier 4.

                      1. re: edgewater

                        Right, and when I had to make an 'excursion' to the World Trade Center in those days I'd stop there while hoofing it to or from South Station.