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Jul 8, 2005 10:13 AM

Subs, Hoagie's, etc.

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I am trying to figue out the geographical boundaries for the various names ascribed to essentially (repeat, essentially) the same kind of sandwich: deli meats or meatballs or chicken parm or tuna salad, etc., on a long, tubular (usually Italian bread style) roll. For example, the Philly area calls them "hoagies," while South Jersey calls them "subs." In New Orleans they seem to be called "Po Boys," (but I am not even sure if this term refers to the broad class of sandwiches, or only a discrete subcategory.) In some places, they are called "heroes." What are the bounderies of these names, and by what other names are these sandwiches called throughout the country?

p.s. I grew up calling them "wedges." Can you figure out where I am from?

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  1. In Virginia we call them subs. It was the same when I lived in North Carolina.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Janet

      In Buffalo, NY and most of Western NY we call them subs whether they're hot or cold. Some restaurants call them different things on their menus though. You can get mayo, oil and vinegar, oregano dressing, etc - it usually depends on the place but in the sub place I worked at mayo and oil and vinegar were standard unless it was a pizza or meatball sub. We also had to distinguish between mayo and salad dressing (Miracle Whip) because there are strong allegiances to both.

    2. In New England, grinders. Wedge is Ohio, right? Or maybe Baltimore?

      1 Reply
      1. re: chowgal

        In Philly, the difference between a grinder and a hoagie is that a grinder is heated up.

      2. In my experience in the NYC area it usually is 'hero', though it is not uncommon to see them called 'sub'.

        The first time I heard the term 'wedge' was about 5 years ago when I was doing a job in Purchase, NY (Westchester County). Of course, I had to ask what that meant, and was told "it's what you guys call a hero". I'm sure they get that question all the time...

        1 Reply
        1. re: TongoRad

          Right. I'd never heard "wedge" until I moved to southern Westchester County.

        2. In the Boston area, cold sandwiches ( usually with oil)are usually called Subs, and the oven cooked ones, ( which usually include shredded lettuce) are called grinders.
          One of my relatives lives in the Akron/Canton area, and she claims she cannot get good subs in her area. She loves Italian subs with lots of hot peppers. I am taking a road trip out to see her tomorrow, so I stopped at a local deli, told the deli clerk to give me enough cold cuts to make a dozen large Italian subs. Also bought some hamburger dill chips, a vidalia onion, pastene hot peppers and vine tomatoes. Then stopped at Piatedosi's ( local Italian bread bakery/outlet), and bought a dozen large sub rolls. She will be happy when we arrive tomorrow!!

          1. In the part of Maine that I'm from (Central Me.) there are Dagwood's. Also some parts of the state say Italian Sandwich. I'm not sure how widespread this is in northern New England.

            5 Replies
            1. re: Pat Hammond

              Hi Pat: Having spent many summers up in your neck of the woods (Waterville area), I'll throw my 2 cents in.

              Dagwoods are served on (in, actually) pita bread. Italians are the Maine version of subs.

              1. re: Bob W.

                Thanks, Bob, for setting the record straight. I've never had a Dagwood. But I've had a lot of Italians! pat

                1. re: Bob W.

                  I grew up in the Portland area. Italians are a very specific type of sub. They consist of either ham or salami, processed cheese, fresh tomatoes, green peppers & onions, (very) sour pickles, and black olives, topped with olive oil, salt and pepper, and are served on a soft (not crusty) long roll. The term sub is used there the way it is many other places, meaning a sandwich on a long crusty roll with any of a wide variety of fillings. I never heard of a grinder until I went to college in Vermont, and never heard of a wedge until I moved to southeastern NY in the 1980s. I now live in the Albany area and sub seems to be the accepted term here - I never hear anyone talking about grinders, wedges or heros here.

                  1. re: John Kent

                    In the area I grew up ( just north of Boston), and Italina was also very specific- capicola (SP?), salami, mortadella and provolone served with dill pickles, onions, tomatoes, hot peppers, oil and S/P. If you wanted an "American", you would get bologna, boiled ham and American cheese with all the fixings.
                    And to this day, that is how I like my Italian subs. Can't abide the cooked ( grinders) sandwiches.

                    1. re: John Kent

                      Nice -- you described the Italians I remember so fondly to a "T." Sounds the recipe traveled up to Waterville without a hint of deviation. The pickles, I will note, were always little cubes, not slices.

                      One thing we loved about both Dagwoods and Italians in the Waterville area was the availability of crunchy strips of bacon as a topping. If you really wanted to go whole hog (so to speak), you'd get a ham Italian with EXTRA bacon. Now that's good eating!