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Defining 'Wedge' [split from Boston]

Will any of the northeasterners here take a shot at defining the term "wedge," relative to its cousins, the sub, hoagie, hero, grinder, and po'boy? Any takers?

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  1. wedge is a Connecticut sub/hoagie/hero. it is the long roll served by every resto described above. when jfood first moved to CT he thought when he ordered a "wedge" he would receive a sandwich on a roll he knew from his NJ Italian hot dog days. But nope, just another name for the same sandwich.

    19 Replies
    1. re: jfood

      Thanks for responding, jfood. Having grown up in Stamford, wedge was what we called them, and while I would associate the term with a hot sandwich, I wouldn't quibble. I've been challenged by other folks on the board from SW CT who claim never to have heard the term and asserted that the term "grinder" is correct. Since we occasionally emerged from the "panhandle" to explore other environs, we needed to be conversant, so I was familiar with the grinder word and its broader acceptance. As near as I can figure, the term wedge is very narrowly defined geographically to a point no more than several train stops up into CT and down into Westchester, perhaps as far as Yonkers. I've known Italian boys from Bridgeport who are grinder guys and say "huh?" to the wedge word. Interesting that the Subway chain started in the Bridgeport/Stratford area ... I guess had they gone with "Grinderway" they never would have made it. Thanks for the validation.

      The hero/hoagie thing always confused me -- I figured you have to be from Philly to phigure it out.

      1. re: misohungrychewlow

        I grew up in Monroe and never heard of them called a Wedge (until I started working in NY). It was either Subs or Grinders (and not Submarine's either - just Subs). My Italian Subs always came with lettuce (and oil & vinegar - never Mayo). Just my 2 cents.

        1. re: HunterJay

          Probably more to CT-ography. It appears that Wedge is more panhandle-FFD county speak. Since the closest D'Angelos is Exit 24 on 95 that where NE lingo starts in. New Haven likes the term grinder or hoagie.

          At the end of the day it's cold or cold and then its wedge, hoagie, sub, grinder, D'angelo Blimpies Subways Mikes, Tome Peter Paul and Mary.

          Its a great sandwhich if made correctly.

          1. re: jfood

            Born and raised in CT and never heard wedge until this post. I thought it was going to be about iceberg lettuce. My usual stomping ground was New Haven, Waterbury, Hartford. The term there is grinder.

            Went to college in Boston and my usual range was Framingham to Rockport. Never heard the term. The term there is submarine.

            1. re: rworange

              rworgange...I'm with you. Same stomping grounds growing up too. Spent lots of time in Litchfield too.

              But it was always grinder or sub. But usually grinder. I thought a wedge was some sort of middle eastern falafel type thing stuffed into a pita. I had never heard the term until I met my italian husband and moved to NYC. I thought he was grossly misinformed as to what a "grinder" was but it turned out everyone in NY calls it a wedge.

              1. re: OrganicLife

                Not everyone in NY calls it a wedge! I grew up in NYC and never, ever heard the word wedge (it's a hero, and nothing but a hero) until I moved to Westchester County....like others, I thought a wedge was a quarter of a head of iceberg lettuce, or short for an embarrassing situation involving tight underpants.

                1. re: Marge

                  All

                  Jfood never heard the term until he moved to FFD county either and grew up with "Sub" & "Hero" in NJ (Don't get jfood started on Sloppy Joe either). College brought a new term Blimpies to the vocab.

                  But in the panhandle of CT, it's called a wedge. Here are a couple of examples:

                  Website for Wedge Inn in Stamford
                  http://www.wedgeinn.com/index2.html

                  It also appears that it has the same name in Westchester County, a suburb of FFD county [:-)))

                  ]

                  As stated in the following URL:
                  http://www.foodtimeline.org/foodsandw...

                  "Term used exclusively in Westchester County, NY (Yonkers, especially

                  )

                  "Wedge (for the shape of the sandwich, usually cut at an angle) is another common alternative for hero..."
                  ---Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink, John F. Mariani [Lebhar-Friedman:New York] 1999 (p. 154)

                  "To the Editor: Your article ''In Hoagieland, They Accept No Substitutes'' (May 28) and the many names for a sandwich on hero bread brought to mind an experience I had in Brooklyn. I have lived in Yonkers all of my life, and we refer to the hero/hoagie/grinder/submarine as a wedge. When I went to a coffee shop in Brooklyn, they had a sign listing meatballs as a sandwich special of the day, and I ordered a meatball wedge and they hadn't a clue as to what I was talking about!"
                  ---New York Times, Jun 4, 2003. pg. F.8

                  "Westchester: Wedge Sandwich
                  A regional sandwich name in Westchester (Yonkers) for the hero/sub/hoagie is "wedge." Again, I checked the telephone directories.
                  Yonkers, Mt. Vernon, Bronxville, Tuckahoe
                  YELLOW PAGES
                  CLASSIFIED TELEPHONE DIRECTORY
                  1958
                  Corrected to January 3, 1958

                  Pg. 320, col. 3:
                  GAITO'S INN
                  Specializes in Hot Wedges
                  434SawMillRiverRd -- YOnkers 9-9269

                  Yonkers, Mt. Vernon, Bronxville, Tuckahoe
                  YELLOW PAGES CLASSIFIED TELEPHONE DIRECTORY
                  1960
                  Corrected to October 13, 1959

                  Pg. 315, col. 1 ad:
                  GAITO'S INN
                  YOnkers 9-9269
                  Specializing in
                  ITALIAN
                  HOT WEDGES
                  TO GO
                  434 SAWMILL RIVER RD.
                  YONKERS""

                  As the saying goes - Jfood just works here.

                  1. re: Marge

                    Ditto - and my parents also grew up here...

              2. re: jfood

                Yes, New Haven is definitely a "grinder" town. Never heard the term "wedge" once in all the years I lived there, Boston, and NYC.

                1. re: jfood

                  I went to college in NH and that was where I first heard the term wedge. But it was from kids from CT. Grinder, hoagie, sub and wedge are used all around NE. In NYC it's sub or hero. NJ is usually hero. We could start a whole separate thread on the different terms in New England that are tossed around for milkshake. Frappe (MA)? Cabinet?

                  1. re: southernitalian

                    In NJ (Elizabeth) the cold ones were subs and the hot ones were heros.

                2. re: HunterJay

                  I grew up in Fairfield and, similarly, don't remember hearing "wedge" until dating my Westchester-born and bred husband. Sub or hero is what I remember hearing in CT.

                  1. re: shellyesq

                    I grew up in Easton, calling it a grinder, and never even heard of wedges until recently at a restaurant. However, maybe that is because my father is from Boston.

                3. re: misohungrychewlow

                  I grew up in Stamford, too. We called them subs. Never heard the term "wedge" until this thread. Where did you get your wedges in Stamford?

                  1. re: RoxyB

                    Hello? Anyone lucky enough to live anywhere near the Summer Street deli that doesn't get subs there at least three times a week is missing out. They are the best I have ever had.

                    1. re: southernitalian

                      S

                      next time continue down Summer and make a right at the light where Planet Pizza is (think its North St). at the next light there is a small Italian place, jfood thinks the name is Giovanni 4. There are three old Italian guys running the place and they make the BEST hot heros jfood has found in CT. Eggplant parm is jfood's favorite.

                      1. re: jfood

                        Haven't lived in Stamford in decades and my parents left 3 years ago. But next time I visit old friends, I'll stop by. I love eggplant parm.

                    2. re: RoxyB

                      hope this helps define the wedge. such a silly name for a hero/sub.

                      http://www.wedgeinn.com/index2.html

                      1. re: RoxyB

                        At the Wedge Inn in Stamford!

                        Grow up in Stamford and never go to the Wedge Inn?

                  2. The guys at the delis up here in central Fairfield County always know I'm from Westchester because I refuse to call a wedge anything else but a wedge...The owner of the Newtown General Store is from Yonkers, so he knows what I want!

                    1. Sandwich was a "wedge" in Ossining NY (mid-Westchester) in the early '90s when I lived there. So seems to be a Westchester and Fairfield Cty CT area name.

                      1. I grew up in New Rochelle in the late 50's, 60's. I recall the term wedge being used for what we call here in MA, a sub., as in "meatball wedge" meaning a hot or cold sandwich on a roll. In NY, I also remember hearing the term hero used for the same Italian-type sandwich.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: EllenMM

                          Juggler was close... wedge is short for sandwich... The original use of the word in this context can be traced back to the 20's/early 30's. Specifically, Landi's in Yonkers. Best wedges ever.

                          1. re: 50col

                            Without any malintent, but containing no political correctness, I grew up calling a cold hero a 'guinea (or Ginny) sandwich.' My father grew up in the Bronx in the 30's - 50's and that's what he and his friends called what I later (much later) learned to call a sub and now I'd use 'hero.' I live in Northern New Jersey.

                        2. I grew up in Stamford in a mixed "wedge/grinder" environment - seemed the delis called them "wedges" and the pizza joints "grinders". When I went to UConn in Storrs and ended up in sub/grinder territory, it was very confusing. Especially as there were a handful of "hoagie" places there as well.

                          As I understand it - and mind you, this has no authority behind it - the "wedge" got its name from the way the top of the sandwich was cut out - similar to how Subway used to do theirs. Two angled knife cuts were made on opposite sides along the length of the bread and that piece of bread was removed. The stuffings went atop the bottom piece of bread and then the "wedge" was put back in place.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Panini Guy

                            I grew up on Long Island where they were always referred to as heros or a hero sandwich. My father-in-law was from northern Westchester and we used to sail out of Norwalk, where they were always wedges. When I moved to upstate NY long ago, they became subs. We have a very localized famous variation in Saratoga Springs: the Scudder. Scudders were first made in a local pizzeria by Mrs. Scuderi (now departed) and the pizzeria became Marino's Pizza. The Scudder lives on and it's a great sandwich.

                            1. re: markabauman

                              Also from the Saratoga Springs area, markbauman, and love the Scudder. I think Rachel Ray may be related to the departed Mrs. Scuderi.