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Define "Grinder"

k
knucklesandwich Apr 4, 2012 01:42 PM

As I understand it, the grinder comes from somewhere between New Haven and New London. It's a cold sandwich on a hero-y roll, made with cold cuts, or tuna salad, provolone, sliced iceberg lettuce and tomato. Oil and vinegar dressing is customary, but not mandatory.

A good grinder doesn't need much protein. The bread has to be very fresh. And the soul of the sandwich is the generous pile of shredded lettuce that cushions the other contents. At a grinder shop near Niantic (perhaps the epicenter of grinder country), in the mid-sixties, the woman behind the counter told me that the sandwich itself was named for "the ground-up lettuce".

That means a hot grinder isn't really a grinder, no matter what they call it.

Right?

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  1. L2k Apr 4, 2012 01:43 PM

    Depends where you are. Same thing is a grinder here, a sub there, a hoagie somewhere else, a torpedo elsewhere, and a hero someplace I used to be.

    And I'm sure there are other names, too.

    I doubt any of them can be strictly and scientifically defined.

    Edit: I've heard it called Grinder in central Maine, and a sub when I went to school in New London (and no, not at the Coast Guard Academy!)

    1. r
      ratbuddy Apr 4, 2012 01:46 PM

      No.

      There are idiots out there who insist a slider is only a specific type of mini burger cooked with onions and cry loudly when someone 'misuses' the term. Then there's the rest of us who have moved on to using the term 'slider' to mean anything on a little bun.

      Grinder is a similar situation - it's come to mean the same thing as a submarine/whatever. You might find a pedant or two clinging to the 'traditional' defition, but we can safely ignore them.

      Right?

      8 Replies
      1. re: ratbuddy
        Perilagu Khan Apr 5, 2012 08:59 AM

        Just because you call your Barcalounger a '68 Buick doesn't make it so. Likewise, calling your grilled cheese sandwich a grinder.

        1. re: Perilagu Khan
          r
          ratbuddy Apr 5, 2012 12:51 PM

          Consensus is different from a single oddball. Your examples are disingenuous.

          1. re: ratbuddy
            Perilagu Khan Apr 5, 2012 01:48 PM

            I daresay your big-tent definition of a slider is not the concensus. Hence, peekie toe crab foam with passionfruit aioli on a small bun would not meet the majoritarian definition of a slider, yet you said "anything" on a little bun.

            At any rate, I reject descriptive rather than presecriptive ontology and heuristics. Increasingly, I see so-called "professional" writers incorrectly using the apostrophe to indicate the possessive of "its", but that doesn't make it correct and it never will.

            1. re: Perilagu Khan
              TroyTempest Apr 5, 2012 01:52 PM

              well put.

              1. re: Perilagu Khan
                r
                ratbuddy Apr 5, 2012 02:06 PM

                Among pedants and purists, sure, slider means a very specific type of sandwich. Out in the real world, if you put peekytoe sliders on a menu, you can be assured people will know exactly what you mean - although you might be better off phrasing it 'crab sliders.'

                Language changes over time, and the only folks who fight to stick with an outdated meaning are the ones who enjoy correcting folks who use the word 'wrong.'

                1. re: ratbuddy
                  Perilagu Khan Apr 5, 2012 02:24 PM

                  I'm not talking about slider with a modifier in front of it. Put the word slider alone on a menu, then serve it with peekytoe and passionfruit and see how long you stay in business.

                  Linguistic change is not the same thing is linguistic decline. I accept the former and mock the latter, along with its abettors.

                  1. re: Perilagu Khan
                    t
                    thegforceny Apr 5, 2012 02:33 PM

                    "...You might find a pedant or two...."

                    And on cue, one appears!

                    1. re: Perilagu Khan
                      cowboyardee Apr 6, 2012 11:35 AM

                      I suspect that putting modifiers in front of words like 'slider' and then eventually removing said modifier once people begin to associate the word 'slider' with any small sandwich using a bun is exactly how the definition of that particular word begins to change.

                      Not that I think there's anything wrong with that. I fall distinctly into the descriptive rather than prescriptive camp of linguistics.

          2. mels Apr 4, 2012 01:50 PM

            I grew up just west of New Haven and there is no clear definition of a grinder. They can be hot, cold, on stale bread, on fresh bread...a grinder is a hoagie, a sub, a wedge, a torpedo, depending on where you are from.

            I never heard of this "ground up lettuce" business. Even if that woman is right, they will always be known as meatball grinders to me, piping hot with no lettuce in sight.

            1. q
              qbdave Apr 4, 2012 02:12 PM

              Define "Grinder..."
              Franklin Giant Grinder, Franklin Ave, Hartford, CT.

              8 Replies
              1. re: qbdave
                dennisl Apr 4, 2012 05:38 PM

                I grew up in Middletown, CT and every sandwich
                on a roll (sub, hoagie, etc.) is called a grinder to me.
                I also know chocolate sprinkles on ice cream as
                shots, so there's that, too. :)

                1. re: dennisl
                  cookie monster Apr 4, 2012 07:01 PM

                  Same thing in RI - we had meatball grinders, eggplant parmesan grinders, italian coldcut grinders, tuna salad grinders, cheeseburger grinders . . . And chocolate sprinkles on ice cream were jimmies.

                  1. re: cookie monster
                    Bob W Apr 5, 2012 07:10 AM

                    I grew up in Pawtucket and I think that is generally the case, but I seem to recall that for some reason, steak and cheese (not cheesesteak as in Philly) were called subs, not grinders.

                    1. re: cookie monster
                      c
                      coolaugustmoon Apr 5, 2012 10:53 AM

                      I grew up in Western Mass. A grinder to me is anything on a sub roll.

                      1. re: cookie monster
                        e
                        escondido123 Apr 5, 2012 11:17 AM

                        Another Rhode Islander--if it was on a long roll it was a grinder. And I called the steak and cheese one a grinder too.

                      2. re: dennisl
                        masha bousha Apr 5, 2012 04:48 AM

                        Shots! me too. I grew up in W. Hartford...circa 1970. I was in Key West last spring ordering an ice cream cone "with shots" and the guy who waited on me knew exactly what I meant. Of course he was about my age and I discovered...he was from Vernon, CT.

                        1. re: masha bousha
                          b
                          betsydiver Aug 19, 2012 11:14 AM

                          our family called chocolate sprinkles "ants"

                          1. re: betsydiver
                            kattyeyes Aug 19, 2012 11:18 AM

                            GET OUT! No ants on my cone, please. What a thought! Oh, that is too funny! Now shots, sprinkles, jimmies, those are A-OK. ;)

                            ETA: Did you ever go to a friend's house and ask for ants on your ice cream? What was their reaction? That had to have been a Kodak moment!

                    2. kubasd Apr 4, 2012 06:40 PM

                      I grew up in Colchester, and any kind of sandwich on the Italian style roll i a grinder, hot or cold. I lived in Arlington, Va for a few years after college, and I could always tell when someone was from Connecticut because they called it a grinder :)

                      1. Veggo Apr 4, 2012 07:21 PM

                        East of the Housatonic River - grinder

                        Housatonic to the East River, plus Jersey- sub

                        West of the Delaware River- hoagie

                        8 Replies
                        1. re: Veggo
                          bagelman01 Apr 5, 2012 06:20 AM

                          Veggo, youv'e been away from CT way too long................
                          Lower Fairfield county, lower Westchester and northern Bronx......WEDGE
                          Growing up in New Haven./Hamden 50s and 60s Grinders were made with cold cuts, subs were made with hot food such as meatballs.
                          But it all changed
                          I worked for Leon's Bakery when Subway started in business and order our grinder rolls to make their subs.
                          I went to college in Philadelphia more than 40 years ago. A hoagie roll is not the same bread as used for a sub/grinder in new England. The stuffing may be the same but the bread is not close.

                          The wedge of the Bronx/Yonkers/Stamford area is made by cutting a section off a loaf and splitting and filling. They don't use a full loaf as most subs or grinders do.
                          Unfortunately, there is no real differnce today, the names are interchangable and meaningless.

                          1. re: bagelman01
                            c
                            Clams047 Apr 5, 2012 06:38 AM

                            Growing up the Hartford area in the 50's / 60's, hot oven grinders were very common. Never heard of a sub, hoagie, torpedo, etc until I moved out of CT.

                            Fully agree that none seem to compare with a typical CT grinder as the bread / roll used outside of CT never seems to have the quality of a typical CT grinder roll. Others may use similar cold cuts, meatballs, Italian sausage, etc, but the end result never seems to match up due to the bread / roll. The bread is especially critical for making an edible hot oven grinder.

                            Oddly, Subway was started / is based in CT, yet it has about the worst bread / rolls of any sub, etc shop (never mind their typically low / poor quality cold cuts, etc). They may have started out with a good roll, but they obviously dropped all the quality when they expanded.

                            1. re: Clams047
                              b
                              brookerme Apr 5, 2012 06:52 AM

                              Most of the grinder shops in the Hartford area seem to use bread from the same bakery. Its OK but its too soft and lacks the soul of bread from Arthur Ave. in the Bronx or what you find in Philadelphia.

                              1. re: brookerme
                                c
                                Clams047 Apr 5, 2012 07:37 AM

                                Can't speak about grinder roll quality in the Bronx, but having lived in NJ, I was never pleased with any grinder roll bread in PA nor NJ. NJ / NYC has some excellent rye, etc, but I've always found the grinder / sub rolls outside of CT to be lacking. It may be that I was brought up on CT type bread & have a preference for that style.

                                I'm currently in RI where the bread (with a few exceptions) is typically bad - especially in the sandwich / sub / shops. One would think with its Italian population, they'd have learned something about CT/NY/NJ breads.

                                1. re: Clams047
                                  Bob W Apr 5, 2012 07:53 AM

                                  I don't think people in RI care in the slightest what anyone in CT does. 8<D

                                  1. re: Bob W
                                    t
                                    tanker64 Apr 5, 2012 07:40 PM

                                    CT? The wide spot between Providence and NY City???

                              2. re: Clams047
                                bagelman01 Apr 5, 2012 10:49 AM

                                by 1974 Subway stopped buying freshed baked rolls from Leon's bakery and started baking their own rolls in the store using a commercially made frozen bake off white style italian dough. The instore ovens and the baking nowadays in 'rubber' sleeves cannot produce a quality roll, just mush.
                                And if you're old enough, you remember the riools Subway used could stand up to having a wedge cut out of the top and be filled. They nevr cut the roll from the side as they do now. The current roll would smush to nothingness if they attempted tp cust a wedge out from the top.

                                1. re: Clams047
                                  mudcat Aug 19, 2012 02:19 PM

                                  Hey...I'm from Manchester, Connecticut...1930-1950...Best Grinders were made at a
                                  restaurant (?) in Manchester Green...sort of on your way to Coventry Ct....I have lived
                                  all over the country (husband in Navy) and no other place in the world could ever
                                  surpass the ones made in Manchester Green...The pizzas made in Manchester were
                                  also the best ever. also

                                  mcattt@gmail.com

                            2. boyzoma Apr 5, 2012 01:42 PM

                              North West Coast sounding off here. I've seen them both hot and cold. My favorite is hot, with salami, pepperoni, ham and melted cheese on a hoagie roll. Then top with dill pickles, tomatoes, green pepper and diced tomatoes - then sprinkled with a little olive oil and salt and pepper. We called this a "garbage grinder". So I think it is just a "word". It's like a discussion in another thread about scalloped potatoes vs. au gratin - cheese or no cheese.

                              1. m
                                mmalmad Apr 5, 2012 01:53 PM

                                A rose by any other name.....
                                I prefer "sub" but will eat grinders, hoagies, even a wedge, but I never understood the latter.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: mmalmad
                                  f
                                  Florida Hound Aug 19, 2012 10:47 AM

                                  I am a Westchester County NY transplant to Florida, and the term "wedge" is as much a code for me that the other person grew up in my neighborhood, as it is any definition for a certain sandwich. Its a term of great affection by locals in Westchester, especially Yonkers, NY, and apparently over the Westchester border into a small portion of Connecticut.

                                  But there is a little more to it, according to my memory banks and ---Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink, John F. Mariani [Lebhar-Friedman:New York] 1999 (p. 154)
                                  Check out this link: http://www.foodtimeline.org/foodsandw...

                                  Per the foodtimeline site:
                                  Wedge:
                                  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..."

                                  OK, a sandwich being cut at a certain angle is probably not a big deal, but from these things, famous sandwich names are made.

                                  The current chowhound thread is dedicated to the burning question, "Define grinder." Check out a Chowhound thread, "Defining Wedges" (I kid you not!) started by misohungrychewlow in June, 2007, and going strong until 2009.

                                  That foodtimeline.org link goes on and on about a lot of different sandwiches, and is an interesting read, much trivial pursuit, yes, but for chowhound types, still interesting.

                                  1. re: Florida Hound
                                    c
                                    cavandre Aug 24, 2012 05:02 AM

                                    FH,

                                    Ever have a Landy's Wedge?

                                    Another Yonkers guy in FL

                                    1. re: cavandre
                                      f
                                      Florida Hound Aug 27, 2012 09:39 AM

                                      I have only read the legends. My Yonkers Wedges are still the stuff of wonderful memories of Ruzak & Zucks. I think R & Z and Landy's are long gone. But I'm glad to hear the population in Florida has a few people educated around Getty Square, Central Avenue, Warburton, and the old stomping grounds.

                                2. KaimukiMan Apr 5, 2012 02:07 PM

                                  ran across this place a while back when looking for something else entirely. More on the definition of a grinder and how it came to be.... of course no clue as to how real the definition is, but it makes more sense than referring to chopped lettuce as ground lettuce.

                                  The term "Grinder" can be traced back to the east coast, where, during WWII, Italian Immigrants set up sandwich shops close to the shipyards. These supersized sandwiches were a favorite of the hard working men who ground rivets off the warships. The friendly shop owners referred to these men as grinders and the ever-popular sandwiches also came to be known as Grinders.

                                  http://www.grindersshoreline.com/

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: KaimukiMan
                                    Perilagu Khan Apr 5, 2012 02:30 PM

                                    I want one of those red-eye ham sandwiches.

                                    1. re: KaimukiMan
                                      9
                                      9lives Apr 6, 2012 01:17 PM

                                      I've heard a similar story but it said that they were called subs because of their resemblance to submarines..:)

                                      I grew up in NY and they were called heros. Ms 9 grew up in CT..grinders. I think of subs, heros, grinders and hoagies as pretty much interchangeable..just depends where you grew up.

                                      Same deal with carbonated beverages. I grew up calling it soda and some call it pop.

                                    2. gaffk Apr 5, 2012 02:16 PM

                                      In Philadelphia, a hoagie is any number of cold sandwiches served on a hoagie roll (with the Italian being the most popular). A grinder is that same sandwich, heated in the pizza oven. (Hence a local pizza place announcing that all of its hoagies can be ordered as grinders.)

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: gaffk
                                        egit Apr 5, 2012 03:22 PM

                                        Came here to say the same thing. A grinder is a hot hoagie. At least that's what it means in the Philly area.

                                        Oh the arguments I had with my Vermont-born exGF over that.

                                        1. re: egit
                                          gaffk Apr 5, 2012 06:30 PM

                                          Philly is Philly. Vermont is Vermont. Never the twain shall meet ;)

                                          1. re: gaffk
                                            Veggo Apr 5, 2012 07:18 PM

                                            Sure they do. 30th St station to Grand Central, then New Haven, then Hartford, then Burlington, on the choo choo twain.

                                        2. re: gaffk
                                          cowboyardee Apr 6, 2012 11:37 AM

                                          Grew up in Philly, with parents who grew up in North Jersey. That was how I understood the terms as well.

                                          1. re: gaffk
                                            b
                                            Bigley9 Aug 20, 2012 10:55 AM

                                            exactly!

                                          2. j
                                            judybird Apr 5, 2012 02:40 PM

                                            Some 40+ years ago, when I used to follow Formula One racing, we'd pick up grinders at a place in Riverside, CA and bring them to the raceway for lunch. They were what we'd now call a sub or hoagie - meat, cheese, shredded lettuce and Italian dressing come to mind, but I'm sure there was even more on them. One sandwich was sustenance for an entire, long day. I tried to find the place a couple of years ago, but apparently it's long gone, and nobody we asked (all under age 40) even knew what we were talking about.

                                            8 Replies
                                            1. re: judybird
                                              t
                                              ThanksVille Apr 5, 2012 03:02 PM

                                              Growing up in central NJ, where hoagies are king, my exposure to grinders was and remains Steck's Deli at the Bridgewater Circle Shopping Center immediately adjacent to Raritan Valley Country Club. As a caddy from age 12, making $20. Cash per round carrying doubles (2 bags) we could cut across the 10th hole to Steck's between rounds and pick up a fresh baked torpedo roll loaded with ham, salami, provolone, slices of onions and red bell peppers dressed in thousand island salad dressing with a couple crisp lettuce leaves. All for $0.50 plus another quarter for a coke and we were living life huge. We'd use the quarter change to tip Benny the caddy master who would get us out for a second round and another $20. Cash and we'd head home with $39. In our pocket. No bs about taxes or withholding crap. We earned it by our Own sweat and had a nice grinder along the way. Back then, could have eaten two plus their great thick pickle slices. Today, one is enough. Same recipe, still sliced in half on the diagonal. Price is up to $5.50 today but to their credit. Never reduced in size. I can still get good to great hoagies but only one central jersey grinder and that is Steck's. 40 years later still going strong!

                                              1. re: ThanksVille
                                                Perilagu Khan Apr 6, 2012 07:36 AM

                                                Cool story.

                                                I lived in Lawrenceville two years and now regret never having made it over to Steck's.

                                                1. re: ThanksVille
                                                  TroyTempest Apr 6, 2012 09:41 AM

                                                  That sounds great. The story, and the sandwich. Makes me want to get up that way just to try one of those.

                                                  1. re: ThanksVille
                                                    m
                                                    markfifton Apr 6, 2012 04:16 PM

                                                    Wow thanks for this. Sounds like a similar story to me!

                                                  2. re: judybird
                                                    Will Owen Apr 6, 2012 10:43 AM

                                                    judybird, if you'd like to replicate that remembered sandwich, it sounds an awful lot like the ones from the Claro's markets. There are better versions than theirs, I'm sure, but they make them fresh every day and they're cheap - I think the big ones are about $6.

                                                    1. re: judybird
                                                      c
                                                      chocolatetartguy Apr 6, 2012 12:41 PM

                                                      I forgot that Formula One ever ran at Riverside. I thought the the US GP was always at Watkin's Glen.

                                                      The grinders you describe sound like what I bought at Rocco's Sandwiches at Reading Terminal Market in Philly.

                                                      1. re: judybird
                                                        tcamp Apr 7, 2012 06:18 AM

                                                        Hey Judy, my mom grew up in that area in the 50's. She uses the term grinder for what I'd call a sub - I never figured out why. Sounds like a micro-regional thing.

                                                        1. re: judybird
                                                          Midlife Aug 20, 2012 06:14 PM

                                                          "Some 40+ years ago, when I used to follow Formula One racing, we'd pick up grinders at a place in Riverside, CA and bring them to the raceway for lunch."

                                                          WOW!! I went to college in Riverside when the raceway was still there...... and my roommates and I practically lived on D'Elia's Grinders'.....well............grinders. I believe it's still there, but haven't though to stop to be sure on my occasional drive out that way. Have to remember to do that.
                                                          http://www.deliasgrinders.com/

                                                          My conclusion is that what you call that kind of sandwich is about where you're from, more than about where you've had one. Here is SoCal they're usually called subs or heroes, but hoagie is not uncommon. Grinder, though............. only at D'Elias's in my experience.

                                                        2. s
                                                          silverlakebodhisattva Apr 5, 2012 06:45 PM

                                                          Depends on who you talk to, and where. This country 3/4 of a century ago, was filled with big ol' sandwiches for working class guys to take to, or buy for lunch. Generally, the rolls were of a "sturdy" sort, so that the contents didn't make 'em soggy.

                                                          What someone called 'em varied from city to city, ethnic group to ethnic group, and if someone was transplanted, they often brought the "old" name with 'em.
                                                          So, sub, grinder, hoagie, po'boy, (mufaletta, even!) even the ancient "hero sandwich"! (haven't seen that one in a while!)

                                                          21 Replies
                                                          1. re: silverlakebodhisattva
                                                            Will Owen Apr 6, 2012 10:48 AM

                                                            "Hero" was a misspelling of gyro … but yeah, after several hundred thousand years of carrying stuff around wrapped in bread we've generated so many names for it in so many places it seems silly to try to nail any of'em down and proclaim that to be the True, the One and Only.

                                                            1. re: Will Owen
                                                              bagelman01 Apr 6, 2012 12:31 PM

                                                              Not so, Hero appears in written form in New York City as early as 1937 and has been attributed to a food writer at The New York Herald Tribune. The Gyro really didn't arrive on the NY scene until about 1960. My father wa born in NY in 1922 and lived there until 1946 and ate pleny of Hero sandwiches. I remember them in the 50s as well.
                                                              Manganero's Hero Boy has been selling them on 9th Ave in NY since 1956, following an older family tradition.

                                                              1. re: bagelman01
                                                                egit Apr 6, 2012 01:05 PM

                                                                I think you're right about this. Gyro and Hero are an odd coincidence and nothing more. Am I correct in assuming that "gyro" comes from "spin," as in the meat slowly spins on the spit? That was always how I thought of it.

                                                                1. re: bagelman01
                                                                  Will Owen Apr 6, 2012 04:55 PM

                                                                  Bagelman01, I'm perfectly aware that any New Yorker or former New Yorker assumes that whatever happens in New York happens there FIRST (and better than any subsequent copycats), but it ain't necessarily so. Greeks were making gyros an awfully long time before 1960; even if "heroes" showed up in 1937, they could easily have been invented somewhere else where someone knocked off a Greek sandwich whose name he knew only by hearsay.

                                                                  1. re: Will Owen
                                                                    bagelman01 Apr 7, 2012 05:18 AM

                                                                    #1 I am born and bred and still live in Connacticut almost 60 Years.
                                                                    Hero is a NYC term

                                                                    Guess what, the Greeks didn't invent the Gyro. back when Greece was just a backwater province of TURKEY Gyros were available in Turkey. In other parts of the middle East it was called schwarma, which doesn't rhyme with HERO.

                                                                    Your maybe it could have been knocked off etc, etc sounds like the nonsense of the bride's father in My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Greeks and Greek Americans are entitled to take pride in their heritage, even a sandwich stolen from the Turks ( who ruled Greece for a really long time). But don't just make false claims with nothing to back it up.

                                                                    1. re: bagelman01
                                                                      kubasd Apr 7, 2012 05:20 AM

                                                                      haha, "Give me any word and I'll tell you the Greek word it comes from"

                                                                      1. re: kubasd
                                                                        KaimukiMan Apr 13, 2012 07:01 PM

                                                                        now where did i put that windex???

                                                                      2. re: bagelman01
                                                                        Will Owen Apr 7, 2012 12:13 PM

                                                                        bagelman, I didn't claim that the Greeks "invented" the gyro, only that they named it. Talking about "inventing" any food of this sort is just silly anyway, like suggesting that the Earl of Sandwich "invented" the sandwich. My sole interest, and it's an abiding interest, is philological: the migration of food names from culture to culture, such as burek = boereg = pierogi = piroshki. The 1001 names for cabbage, for dumplings, and - yes - for sandwiches. Nobody's attacking anyone's culture here by suggesting that your own culture's favorite food might have arrived from elsewhere. (And bringing up the Turkish tyranny over Greece is a good bit more offensive in some quarters than any kind of food fight!) As for any "insulting, NY-bashing comments", this NY attitude I mentioned was spelled out to me in great detail by a born-and-bred New York woman, who explained that "We believe that anything that New Yorkers don't eat is crap, and anything New Yorkers do eat is crap unless it's made in New York." My experience, however, is that although she insisted that her people were the most provincial on the planet, that attitude is a lot more common than she thought, as witness the many extended arguments on these boards (like this one) about whose version of anything is the One True Whatever. I don't know about you guys, but I get into them to learn stuff and maybe change my own mind if that's called for.

                                                                2. re: silverlakebodhisattva
                                                                  y
                                                                  yellowstone Apr 6, 2012 11:32 AM

                                                                  I swear I was in Maine once and saw this type of sandwich called "an Italian." Not just the ones with Italian meats, but you could get a turkey Italian, roast beef Italian, pastrami Italian... but I haven't been back to that little town (Bridgton?) and I've never seen that usage elsewhere. Maybe I made it up.

                                                                  1. re: yellowstone
                                                                    kattyeyes Apr 6, 2012 12:47 PM

                                                                    Nope, I've heard it, too...and worse yet, "EYE-talian"...oh, well!

                                                                    In Connecticut, no matter if it's hot or cold, stuffed with meatballs, cold cuts or cutlets, it's a grinder if it's on THAT kinda roll. Back in the day, my uncle got his grinder rolls from Moon Bakery in Hartford (now gone, both the uncle and the bakery). Gotta guess my grandparents got their grinder rolls there, too. Their grinders were so loaded it was hard to get your mouth around them--a true mom & pop grinder shop--the Silver Lane Deli (East Hartford, CT), sadly gone along with my grandparents. Thankfully, Maple Giant and Franklin Giant in Hartford make grinders very similarly, so I can still get a taste of "the store" if I'm in the area.

                                                                    Signed,
                                                                    the proud granddaughter of Eva and Fred (RIP, ILYA)

                                                                    1. re: kattyeyes
                                                                      kubasd Apr 6, 2012 02:02 PM

                                                                      LOVE Franklin Giant.... their eggplant parm (at least in my memory) is still the best I've ever had.... still crispy from the fryer, with perfect sauce and melty cheese....

                                                                      1. re: kubasd
                                                                        kattyeyes Apr 6, 2012 03:44 PM

                                                                        Your description is making me hungry, knock it off! ;) That's exactly as it should be!

                                                                        1. re: kattyeyes
                                                                          kubasd Apr 6, 2012 05:59 PM

                                                                          I'd never had an eggplant parm sub before having it at Franklin's Giant, so that is still my gold standard

                                                                      2. re: kattyeyes
                                                                        bagelman01 Apr 6, 2012 02:18 PM

                                                                        katty,
                                                                        you're up there in RedSux country
                                                                        Down in the Yankes part of Connecticut, it may be a sub, a grinder and in lowest Fairfiled county a wedge all of which may be made on the same roill.

                                                                        Agree with you about Maple and Franklin, what I cannot tolerate is Nardelli's. They don't get my vote for best grinder in CT.

                                                                        1. re: bagelman01
                                                                          kattyeyes Apr 6, 2012 04:02 PM

                                                                          Hey, don't blame me. Our family is split on that (Yanks/Sox)!

                                                                          I hear you--Nardelli's is nowhere close to the same league as Maple, Franklin and my Nanny & Poppy's! But I like them OK enough for a local option. I like that "classic mix" of theirs (a la giardiniera) for something a little different. BUT they're a franchise now and, you know, they weigh meats and blahblahblah like little mom & pop shops never do--that's the big difference, if you ask me. I honestly think Poppy did it by looks as he sliced away. He sure as hell never threw anything on a scale, he just loaded up that grinder roll...and chatted away with customers b/c that chiacchierone thing seems to run in the family, HA HA. I can still hear Nanny yelling at him to get going and stop yapping, "FRED!!!"

                                                                          Down your way, I LOVE Gaetano's in Stratford, though I am long overdue for an excuse to have lunch there...like a bike ride...hmmmm. Thank you for helping me remember! :) It is good to live in grinder country. That wedge thing just bothers me (sorry)...it's just an "i" away from uncomfortable, you know?!

                                                                          1. re: kattyeyes
                                                                            kubasd Apr 6, 2012 05:58 PM

                                                                            I have to say, I've never heard it called a wedge.... I like your comparison of it to a wedge(i)e, ke :) haha I know that it's called one in that part of the state... but maybe that's why I prefer my red sox side hehe

                                                                            1. re: kattyeyes
                                                                              bagelman01 Apr 7, 2012 05:24 AM

                                                                              Katty,
                                                                              Back in the 1970s when I worked for Leon's Bakery in Hamden, we baked the rolls for Subway and lots of hard rolls and rye bread for all the local delis. If it was really cold, the rolls and bread didn't proof as large as in the heat. They always weighed the same when the raw dough was portioned. Murray Rosenberg, the owner of Fox's Deli in Hamden (originally on Legion Avenue in New Haven) used to call me yelling: "The bread is too small today, now I have to put more meat on it to make the sandwich look the right size"
                                                                              No one weighed what they sliced, delimen (and I was one after the bakery) looked at the product and eyeballed what was an appropriate amount to serve.

                                                                              1. re: bagelman01
                                                                                kattyeyes Apr 7, 2012 06:01 AM

                                                                                Thanks for sharing your story and validating no one weighed what they sliced. That's funny about the bread being too small, too. Imagine--quality bread at Subway! Those were the days, my friend. We've come a long way in the wrong direction, baby, haven't we?

                                                                                1. re: bagelman01
                                                                                  Veggo Apr 7, 2012 06:01 AM

                                                                                  bagel, you would remember the Lupi-Legna bread trucks making their rounds with fresh grinder rolls.

                                                                                  1. re: Veggo
                                                                                    bagelman01 Apr 7, 2012 07:36 AM

                                                                                    Vegg, You know I do, But as this week is Passover, all I can do is dream about it. One on my friends is making abeatzagain, wheat pie and rice pie and freezing them for me for after the holidays.

                                                                                  2. re: bagelman01
                                                                                    k
                                                                                    KSlink Apr 15, 2012 03:27 PM

                                                                                    I, too, remember Subway when it made its debut in CT oh-so-many moons ago...imagine my shock when I went into one after living in MA for 25 years...what a letdown!

                                                                        2. s
                                                                          SMFlovesfood Apr 7, 2012 06:37 AM

                                                                          Growing up in Washington state, we had hot over grinders that were to die for. Our local pizza joint made them. My favorite was the canadian bacon with extra cheese. Yum!

                                                                          1. KaimukiMan Apr 13, 2012 07:03 PM

                                                                            there is a map of the US showing where carbonated sugared beverages have varying names, soda, pop, soda pop, soft drinks, cokes (generic), etc. maybe we can find someone to do the same for dagwood sandwiches.

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: KaimukiMan
                                                                              TroyTempest Apr 15, 2012 02:12 PM

                                                                              i haven't heard them called that in years

                                                                              1. re: KaimukiMan
                                                                                bagelman01 Apr 15, 2012 02:49 PM

                                                                                but it would have nothing to do with grinders, subs, hero, hoagies or wedges.
                                                                                Dagwood Sandwiches are built on the vertical with slices of bread.
                                                                                Grinders. etc are assembled horizontally. such as 6", 12" 3' party sub, etc. NEVER made out of sliced bread.
                                                                                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dagwood_...

                                                                              2. h
                                                                                hawkeyeui93 Aug 19, 2012 02:34 PM

                                                                                A grinder in my part of Central Iowa is a hot Italian sausage sandwich with peppers and melted mozzarella cheese placed upon a toasted hearty hero-y roll or crusty bread ....

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: hawkeyeui93
                                                                                  captmorgan40 Aug 20, 2012 10:38 AM

                                                                                  Finally hawkeye i93 hit on what a GRINDER really is. I was born in Philly in 1940. HOAGIES are room temperature (best for full flavor of meat and the prov) and GRINDERS are hot out of the oven. They are call GRINDERS because the contents of this sandwich on an Italian loaf bread in of GROUND meat. Sausage-hot or mild, meatballs etc. The original grinder meat was topped with hot or mild Italian roasted peppers in a tomato sauce, then a Marinara sauce, then loaded with shredded mozzarella cheese. This was put in a hot pizza oven until the cheese was melted and very hot. The sandwich was then cut on a diagonal. Properly made, this sandwich is right up there with authentic HOAGIES and CHEESE STEAKS. Now, any one have any thoughts about real PEPPERONI ROLLS from North East W. VA? Again, total Italian. These Italians were coal minors instead of the East coast shipyard workers.

                                                                                2. f
                                                                                  FriedClamFanatic Aug 20, 2012 06:32 PM

                                                                                  For what it worth (about as much as watered down coffee).Growing up on Cape Code in the 50's and 60's, we got grinders.or sometimes subs depending on the place...hot, cold with whatever you wanted in them.although a clam roll was ALWAYS a clam roll.and on a different bun.

                                                                                  surfing in Newport or Narragansett we'd get subs...along with GREAT Clam Fritters

                                                                                  At College in Providence, it was out to the trucks every night for grinders

                                                                                  Not sure I care what you call it, but serve it to me on a long roll, and make it taste good!

                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: FriedClamFanatic
                                                                                    captmorgan40 Aug 20, 2012 08:27 PM

                                                                                    It's off the Grinder subject, but the best fried Clams I've ever eaten were in the little town of Mashpea.

                                                                                    1. re: captmorgan40
                                                                                      f
                                                                                      FriedClamFanatic Aug 20, 2012 09:27 PM

                                                                                      LOL..it's Mashpee............next town over to where i grew up.and i've had lots of great clams on Cape Cod..but the best I ever had were in Englewood FL.....by a gal who grew up in Nahant MA

                                                                                      1. re: FriedClamFanatic
                                                                                        captmorgan40 Aug 21, 2012 08:26 AM

                                                                                        Yes, I did spell Mashpee wrong. Where may I find an authentic recipe for fried clams?

                                                                                        1. re: captmorgan40
                                                                                          f
                                                                                          FriedClamFanatic Aug 21, 2012 02:57 PM

                                                                                          There are several on the internet, but the biggest problem with doing them at home is the mess of the brading mix and the need for a very large basket for fying. You want a quick complete immersion without too many touching one another. In most home pots, that means a max of 4 or so at a time. And, of course, they are best just out of the fryer and cold ones are not really good at all.

                                                                                          If you are still intent on trying it, I think there is also a mailorder co on the net that will send you the complete fixings including the clams! But it is outrageously expensive

                                                                                          BTW.which p[lace in Mashpee served the sub? There used to be a great clam shack called Dick and Ellie's that also had a phenomenal Roast Beef on a roll with onion and 1000 Island dressing. It was either that or clams for me there. Never had one of their subs but friends used to rave over them

                                                                                  2. j
                                                                                    John Francis Aug 22, 2012 02:50 AM

                                                                                    That counter-woman was surely making it up. In Rhode Island at least, the story is that "grinder" is an Americanization of "grande," meaning "big" in Italian, Portuguese, and other languages. I wouldn't bet a whole lot of money on that, but it's more plausible - whatever else a grinder may be, it's certainly big. And who ever heard of "grinding" lettuce???

                                                                                    17 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: John Francis
                                                                                      captmorgan40 Aug 22, 2012 07:51 AM

                                                                                      I'll go back to what I said several days ago. The meat contents of the sandwich, an Italian loaf, is ground. Back when in Philly, this was usually sausage or meatballs, served hot, topped with red gravy and either melted provolone or mozzarello. It's not hard to understand how the HOAGIE and similar shaped sandwiches became submarines, subs, torpedos, etc, because that was the shape of the roll. Who outside of Philly knew that Hoagie was a derivitive of Hoggy meaning a shipyard worker at Hogg Island Shipyard where the airport is now? Now I'm hungry. I'll make a grinder with hot Italian sausage, hot roasted Italian peppers in sauce topped with marinara sauce and a pile of shreaded mozz cheese and heated in the oven until the cheese is piping hot.

                                                                                      1. re: captmorgan40
                                                                                        j
                                                                                        John Francis Aug 23, 2012 03:22 AM

                                                                                        The only problem with that is, a grinder doesn't necessarily include sausage or any other ground meat. In fact I don't think I've ever had that in a grinder, though I have in a hoagie or sub. Emeril Lagasse, born and bred in Massachussetts, gives a grinder recipe that includes sliced salami and three kinds of cheese (two of them Italian) but nothing that's been ground. Not that you can't put ground meat in a grinder, or pretty much anything else you please, but we're talking etymology here.

                                                                                        1. re: John Francis
                                                                                          captmorgan40 Aug 23, 2012 04:37 AM

                                                                                          Salami is a ground, seasoned and cured meat in a casing. Same way with bologna, capacola, all the sausages and stuff in a casing. Check the etymology on "salami" and you will find it's of Italian origin.

                                                                                          1. re: John Francis
                                                                                            TroyTempest Aug 23, 2012 11:47 AM

                                                                                            Now i don't know or care about the origin of the name, but let's say it came about because of using ground meat. Sounds logical.
                                                                                            Now, once you've named it, for whatever reason then as ingredients are added interchanged, etc. the name won't change. If a place sells grinders of sausage and meatballs for example then one day decides to put ham on the same roll they will probably call it a grinder, because it looks like the others.
                                                                                            No one is going to come around and say, wait we can't call that a grinder, blah, blah.

                                                                                            1. re: TroyTempest
                                                                                              kattyeyes Aug 23, 2012 11:51 AM

                                                                                              :) The grinder police! HA HA HA! And I agree--where I'm from, it's a grinder no matter what's in it, cold cuts, beef/chicken cutlets, eggplant, meatballs, sausage, the whole nine. Grinder, grinder, grinder, grinder, grinder.

                                                                                              1. re: kattyeyes
                                                                                                f
                                                                                                FriedClamFanatic Aug 23, 2012 11:58 AM

                                                                                                Sort of like if "sandwich" only referred to beef....or even 2 pices of bread. Whatever the origin, the stuff in side is what matters

                                                                                                1. re: FriedClamFanatic
                                                                                                  kattyeyes Aug 23, 2012 12:06 PM

                                                                                                  :) Precisely! Just as with other important things in life.

                                                                                                2. re: kattyeyes
                                                                                                  BabsW Aug 27, 2012 04:00 AM

                                                                                                  Yep. Hot or cold, Italian or club, it's a grinder.

                                                                                                  Also, as someone mentioned above, we had chocolate shots on our cones, occasionally we'd call them jimmies, but really anytime I heard "shots," I knew it was a CT person.

                                                                                                3. re: TroyTempest
                                                                                                  captmorgan40 Aug 23, 2012 12:41 PM

                                                                                                  You're right Troy. Over time most every thing strays from origins.This is especially true in culinary. Chefs and cooks change recipes a little here and a little there to suit their tastes or give a dish a certain bend that is often thought to improve on the original. Now days it's called "reinventing". As the Philly folks will tell you, go a head and reinvent the HOAGIE or the original GRINDERS all you want but give me the real thing.

                                                                                                  1. re: captmorgan40
                                                                                                    r
                                                                                                    ratbuddy Aug 26, 2012 10:14 PM

                                                                                                    I appreciate that you have your own belief in the origin and meaning of the term, captmorgan40, but you can't bully us around like that.

                                                                                                    "Grinder is the term of art throughout most of
                                                                                                    New England, with the notable exception of
                                                                                                    Boston where it is less common. The name probably
                                                                                                    comes from the chewing or grinding your
                                                                                                    teeth do when consuming the sandwich. It dates
                                                                                                    to at least 1946. Many people make a distinction
                                                                                                    between grinders and other subs in that they use
                                                                                                    grinder to mean a hot sub, but this is not the original
                                                                                                    sense. The original grinders were the familiar
                                                                                                    cold cut subs we know and love. Hot sandwiches
                                                                                                    are often known as oven grinders. And you occa-
                                                                                                    sionally see the alliterative guinea grinder that
                                                                                                    associates the sandwich with its Italian-American
                                                                                                    heritage, however derogatorily."

                                                                                                    Source: http://www.verbatimmag.com/28_3.pdf

                                                                                                    "Shortly thereafter, when it migrated to New England, it became known as the grinder, supposedly so named because eating this long sandwich required a lot of 'grinding' or chewing."

                                                                                                    Source: http://dictionary.reference.com/help/faq/language/e33.html

                                                                                                    PMQ has a different version, "The term "Grinder" can be traced back to the East Coast, where, during WWII, Italian immigrants setup sandwich shops close to the shipyards. These super-sized sandwiches were a favorite of the hard workingmen who ground rivets off the warships. The friendly shop owners referred to the men as grinders and the ever-popular sandwiches also came to be known as Grinders."

                                                                                                    Source: http://www.pmq.com/mag/2003september_...

                                                                                                    I've seen other sources supporting the PMQ version as well.

                                                                                                    One thing is certain, noone called (or calls) them grinders simply because they contain ground meat, because they don't always contain ground meat. Ham/turkey/roast beef/whatever and cheese grinders, capicola grinders, tuna salad grinders, eggplant/chicken parm grinders, etc etc.

                                                                                                    You mention 'capacola' as a ground meat, and suggest that folks check the etymology of salami to learn that it's an Italian word. I would suggest that you check the definition of capicola - you will find that it is not a ground meat product.

                                                                                                    I can certainly see how it would be a nice little 'find' to have a eureka moment such as 'Ahh! Grinders are made with ground meat! Of course!'

                                                                                                    The truth is not that simple.

                                                                                                    Now.. I think I need a nice combo grinder. Mmm.

                                                                                                    1. re: ratbuddy
                                                                                                      k
                                                                                                      knucklesandwich Aug 27, 2012 08:24 AM

                                                                                                      Thank you for your scholarly efforts, ratbuddy. But be nice to the captain. He's no bully, and his theories about grinder evolution are no crazier than mine.

                                                                                                      1. re: knucklesandwich
                                                                                                        captmorgan40 Aug 27, 2012 08:53 AM

                                                                                                        Thanks Knucklesandwich. My efforts to explain in the blog are based on what I learned in my formal culinary education. Part of this education was foods history. I also call on my knowledge of the sandwich history during my early years growing up in Phila. Ground meat also known a "forcemeat" has been produced for centuries. Ratbuddy is just plain wrong about capicola. Please check: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capicola. No bulling, just pure fact.

                                                                                                        1. re: captmorgan40
                                                                                                          r
                                                                                                          ratbuddy Aug 27, 2012 09:05 AM

                                                                                                          Sorry, you will not convince me that capicola is a ground meat. It's not.

                                                                                                          1. re: ratbuddy
                                                                                                            captmorgan40 Aug 27, 2012 10:08 AM

                                                                                                            Did you read the link I provided?

                                                                                                            1. re: captmorgan40
                                                                                                              r
                                                                                                              ratbuddy Aug 27, 2012 10:39 AM

                                                                                                              Did you?? Capicola is not ground meat. I promise you.

                                                                                                              edit: Heck, I'll quote it. The first sentence says it all:

                                                                                                              "Capocollo (in America, capicollo or capicolla),[1] or coppa, is a traditional Italian cold cut (salume) made from pork shoulder or neck, and dry-cured whole."

                                                                                                              Note the last word. Whole.

                                                                                                              1. re: ratbuddy
                                                                                                                captmorgan40 Aug 27, 2012 11:58 AM

                                                                                                                I've done deeper research; you are right. There are some cheaper lunch meats on the market that are sold as capicola but authentic Italian capicola is made from a whole cut.

                                                                                                          2. re: captmorgan40
                                                                                                            k
                                                                                                            knucklesandwich Aug 27, 2012 09:58 AM

                                                                                                            You're welcome, captain. And props to ratbuddy too.

                                                                                            2. PotatoHouse Aug 27, 2012 03:28 AM

                                                                                              My mom's people were from the Los Angeles area and there was a drive-in in Ontario called Grinder Haven. We LOVED their hot pastrami grinders. They would dip the cut sides of the roll in the pastrami juices and with the contrast of the cold crunch of the shredded lettuce it was just fantastic!

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