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What do you call a long, thin sandwich?
July 8, 2008 7:39 AM   Subscribe

What do you call a long, thin sandwich, and where do you live?

I'm looking for information about what people call a {hoagie, grinder, hero, sub[marine sandwich], etc.} based upon where (specifically in the U.S.) they live. Any help, anecdotes, personal or family histories, pet theories, and so forth would be welcome. Thanks!
posted by ChasFile to Food & Drink (140 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Sub; Midwest.
posted by nitsuj at 7:42 AM on July 8, 2008


lunch; Seattle
posted by b1tr0t at 7:42 AM on July 8, 2008


"Sub" - raised in south Florida, now live in north Florida, and it's still called a sub up here.

Data point - in Putney, VT, they're called grinders, as in, "The general store down the street has the most bomb-ass eggplant grinders."
posted by tatiana wishbone at 7:43 AM on July 8, 2008


Here you go.
posted by vacapinta at 7:43 AM on July 8, 2008 [11 favorites]


A cold sandwich is a hoagie. I live in Philadelphia.
The same sandwich toasted? Probably grinder, and I don't care what Wawa tries to tell me about it.
posted by sjuhawk31 at 7:43 AM on July 8, 2008


I call the bread you would put it on a hoagie roll....the sandwich I probably alternate between hoagie and sub....I'm from Oklahoma and currently live in TN
posted by Autarky at 7:44 AM on July 8, 2008


'round these parts (Midwest) two pieces of bread= Sub but 1 piece stuffed=Grinder.
posted by piedmont at 7:44 AM on July 8, 2008


"Sub" born in reared in central Florida.
posted by LoriFLA at 7:44 AM on July 8, 2008


1. Sub
2. Texas
posted by Ruby Doomsday at 7:45 AM on July 8, 2008


Sub. NYC.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:45 AM on July 8, 2008


and
posted by LoriFLA at 7:45 AM on July 8, 2008


Sub in Michigan.
posted by All.star at 7:45 AM on July 8, 2008


Sub in central New Jersey
Grinder in Western Massachusetts
posted by plinth at 7:45 AM on July 8, 2008


Sub, Baltimore.
posted by electroboy at 7:45 AM on July 8, 2008


Sub. Western Canada.

Next: What do you call those clicking things you put on a piano to keep time, and what is your social security number?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 7:46 AM on July 8, 2008


In front of educated people, a sub. Privately, a sammich. I'm from Tennessee; I currently live in Northern Virginia.
posted by timetoevolve at 7:47 AM on July 8, 2008


It's an Italian in Maine, and usually has cold cuts, cheese, veggies--sour pickles in particular--salt pepper and oil. And OMG it's so delicious.

If it's tuna or something like that that puts it outside of Italian territory, it's a sub. Or even just a sandwich, if you're at the type of store where that's the only type of bread available.
posted by lampoil at 7:48 AM on July 8, 2008


Sub in Michigan, ocassionally a hoagie in Michigan. Grinder in Vermont.
posted by k8t at 7:49 AM on July 8, 2008


Growing up in Philly I called it a hoagie (although my folks were from Brooklyn, and I can't remember if it was a local term or a family term). Here in Chicago it's a sub.
posted by nax at 7:50 AM on July 8, 2008


yeah, Italian in Maine. Oiled and spiced!
posted by miss tea at 7:52 AM on July 8, 2008


I call it a sub.. Live in MD, born in CA -- and I have somewhat of a CA "accent" eg, I say like a lot, and something like "he was all". I also use the word "freeway"
posted by majikstreet at 7:53 AM on July 8, 2008


A piece, Scotland.
posted by the cuban at 7:54 AM on July 8, 2008


Yo, hoagie, Philly.
posted by The Straightener at 7:54 AM on July 8, 2008


Sub, central canada.
posted by aclevername at 7:55 AM on July 8, 2008


Sub
New Brunswick, Canada
posted by gwenlister at 7:55 AM on July 8, 2008


Sub! Grew up in NY, currently live in Toronto.
posted by kate blank at 7:55 AM on July 8, 2008


Boston area. If it’s toasted I call it a grinder. If it’s cold I call it a sub. That might just be me.

Chains like D’Angelos or Subway have “subs”, toasted or not. You can only get “grinders” at the mom and pop places. If there’s a tray of baklava on the counter and every sentence ends with “…my friend.”, then it’s probably a grinder. If they sell good grinders they probably also sell shitty pizza.
posted by bondcliff at 7:56 AM on July 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Sub in North and South Carolina and Baltimore (basically all my data points, there.)
posted by mygothlaundry at 7:56 AM on July 8, 2008


Sub Sandwich, in the Upstate of South Carolina.

Here's my theory about why nearly 80% of people in the survey vacapinta linked to also used the word "sub:" Subway. Marketing is everything, and Subway, a huge international brand of sandwich shops, has "sub" right in the name.
posted by JDHarper at 7:58 AM on July 8, 2008


Hero, NYC
(I'm an immigrant and learned my American vocabulary in the Bronx, but plenty of places in Manhattan use "hero" too).
posted by nowonmai at 7:59 AM on July 8, 2008


Sub, in Ohio.
posted by thejanna at 7:59 AM on July 8, 2008


Sub. Ontario, Canada.
posted by Meagan at 7:59 AM on July 8, 2008


Seattle: Bahn Mi or Sub, depending what's on it and where I got it.
posted by Good Brain at 8:01 AM on July 8, 2008


Here's my theory about why nearly 80% of people in the survey vacapinta linked to also used the word "sub:" Subway. Marketing is everything, and Subway, a huge international brand of sandwich shops, has "sub" right in the name.

True, I am old enough to remember when New York actually had local joints and people actually spoke with New York accents. Everybody called them heroes. When subway first came to New York they had commercials with (my memory is somewhat faulty) a New York style deli guy explaining that a sub was the same thing as a hero for those New Yorkers who didn't know what a sub was.

Now I hear that the young uns, even in New York call them subs.

Welcome to McAmerica where regional differences are to be obliterated.
posted by xetere at 8:02 AM on July 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


I grew up in suburban NY (Westchester county) and always called it a sub, short for submarine. I've lived in 5 different states since, but I still say sub.
posted by DiscourseMarker at 8:05 AM on July 8, 2008


I grew up on Long Island, but lived for 8ish years in Boston. It's almost always a hero, occasionally a sub, sometimes a po boy, rarely a grinder, and never a hoagie.

I have never, ever heard anyone in my neighborhood refer to such a sandwich as anything other than a hero, except in the case that it is explicitly called a sub on the menu.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:06 AM on July 8, 2008


In Stoke on Trent, UK, they call it a stick.

One of the local delicacies is 'breakfast on a stick'
posted by Helga-woo at 8:06 AM on July 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Sub, raised in & living in Western NY. Have always called it that (~20 years' worth of conscious referring to sandwiches).
posted by knile at 8:06 AM on July 8, 2008


Sub. (Massachusetts and Maryland)
posted by roomwithaview at 8:08 AM on July 8, 2008


Spuckie. Only in the Southie neighborhood of Boston, otherwise a Sub.
posted by Gungho at 8:09 AM on July 8, 2008


In southeastern Massachusetts, I'll use a stick bread to make a grinder.
posted by maloon at 8:09 AM on July 8, 2008


Sub, all over Canada. Never any of these others (grinder, hoagie, hero) unless it's fancy and then it's a panini.
posted by loiseau at 8:09 AM on July 8, 2008


sub, grindah

rhode island
posted by edmcbride at 8:10 AM on July 8, 2008


Chicago: Sub. This predates the Subway chain, by the way. We didn't have Subway here until 1985 or so, and I remember well before that.

Some small places that sell them call them Submarines... As in "All-American Submarine"
posted by jeff-o-matic at 8:11 AM on July 8, 2008


I call 'em subs now, but I grew up calling them grinders. Central Massachusetts.

When I was a little LITTLE kid we lived in Urbana, Illinois, and I remember we called them "submarine sandwiches", but that is probably less a reflection on any regionalism and more a reflection on me and my brothers thinking submarines were cool.
posted by dirtdirt at 8:14 AM on July 8, 2008


I've lived most of my life in Texas, and I call them subs.

When I lived in the Bronx, I called them heroes.
posted by 23skidoo at 8:14 AM on July 8, 2008


Sub. British Columbia. We didn't get Subway where I lived till 1990. I think we called them hero sandwiches, hoagies and subs before that. But hoagie might have come from the Cosby show.
posted by acoutu at 8:15 AM on July 8, 2008


Back home in CT, when I was a young'un: grinders.
In NJ and PA, where I live and work now: subs or hoagies.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 8:15 AM on July 8, 2008


Hoagie, NJ (check out Hoagie Haven in Princeton NJ)
posted by dm_nyc at 8:19 AM on July 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Sub. North Georgia.
posted by susiepie at 8:19 AM on July 8, 2008


When I lived in:

NYC = sub
Rhode Island = grinder
posted by DarlingBri at 8:20 AM on July 8, 2008


Sub, Dallas.
posted by MadamM at 8:20 AM on July 8, 2008


They are subs here in NJ. In college in Worcester MA, they were grinders.
posted by xsquared-1 at 8:23 AM on July 8, 2008


Southern Ontario - sub, since at least the early 70's.
posted by davebush at 8:24 AM on July 8, 2008


Sub, Georgia Girl my whole life.
posted by pearlybob at 8:27 AM on July 8, 2008


Grinder. ALWAYS. At least in Connecticut.
posted by nkknkk at 8:27 AM on July 8, 2008


Hero - Oregon

po'boy - Washington DC

sub - Berkeley, CA
posted by parmanparman at 8:28 AM on July 8, 2008


West Coast (California and Oregon) - just 'restaurantname' sandwich, unless it was expensive or from somewhere european (or when I was in France), then it's a panini.
posted by baserunner73 at 8:38 AM on July 8, 2008


Used to be hero but in the last decade it's become sub. NYC.
posted by rokusan at 8:39 AM on July 8, 2008


Sub, Midwest.
posted by Science! at 8:40 AM on July 8, 2008


Sub.
I grew up in Texas, pre-Subway, and the place to get a sub in town was a beer garden called Captain Nemo's. Looks like it's defunct now... pity. As I recall, they were very much into the oil and vinegar and shredded lettuce, so that you had something of a cole slawy sandwich with grilled meat.

When I lived in Philadelphia they were hoagies, and when baked they were grinders. A cheesesteak is something else entirely, of course.

In Portland, Ore. they seem to generally be subs, but I'm pretty sure I've heard hoagie and hero as well. I probably only eat one biannually, so I'm not exactly attuned to the hep sammy-eatin' lingo.
posted by mumkin at 8:40 AM on July 8, 2008


Yeah, po'boy in New Orleans, although I tend to think of that as a specific long thin sandwich with fried seafood or roast beef. Everything else is kind of just... a sandwich.
posted by bookwo3107 at 8:42 AM on July 8, 2008


bahn mi

But then, I live in the cultural wasteland of Texass and the best sammies I can get are from Vietnamese sandwich shops.

Family from Yonkers and Jersey. They call 'em subs. And so do I when I can get one worthy of the name.
posted by Seamus at 8:43 AM on July 8, 2008


Sub - Ohio, though sometimes I hear "hoagie." If you said "hero" there would be a momentary delay before I realized what you were talking about. "Grinder" would be meaningless... until now, of course.
posted by jon1270 at 8:44 AM on July 8, 2008


Sub, Wisconsin
posted by drezdn at 8:45 AM on July 8, 2008


Sub.

I have lived in Minnesota, South Dakota and North Carolina. In Minnesota and South Dakota, before the Subway chain arrived, we still called them subs.
posted by bristolcat at 8:46 AM on July 8, 2008


Sub, Maryland.
posted by sperose at 8:47 AM on July 8, 2008


Sub. SoCal.

But my new second favorite sangie place calls 'em "Torpedoes."
posted by notyou at 8:49 AM on July 8, 2008


As apparently with lots of folks who grew up in East Coast\New England, we used to call them grinders. In the West now and they're just Subs.
posted by elendil71 at 8:49 AM on July 8, 2008


Sub; NJ
posted by InsanePenguin at 8:56 AM on July 8, 2008


Sandwich- San Jose, CA. Among my friends, if I say that I'm having a sandwich for lunch it's assumed that it's going to come from Subway, Quiznos or Blimpie. A "sammich" or "sangwich" is on square bread and those pronunciations come from making fun of my friends' accents.
posted by dogmom at 8:58 AM on July 8, 2008


Always panini in South Africa. But those are, I believe, always hot, usually smushed like a grilled-cheese.

I wonder how this word 'hero' came to be used for a sub (native Michigan word), since there is a Gyro, made with the kebap meat (my head spins with different words for the meat cooked on a spit that is vertical).
posted by Goofyy at 8:58 AM on July 8, 2008


Cambridge UK (I know you said stateside, but I'm feeling hungry) it's a baguette, which is odd as people round here seem to call the actual bread bit a "french stick". *shrug*

If it's toasted (and looks like it's been run over) then it's a panini.
posted by twine42 at 9:02 AM on July 8, 2008


NH/MA border-ish, always subs. Anything else sounds strange to me... I've heard grinder as I move further south (into MA), but it's rare.
posted by fogster at 9:05 AM on July 8, 2008


I grew up in northern Westchester County in NY, and we called them wedges. Not everyone did, mind you -- "sub" was also popular -- but if you called up the local pizza place and asked for a meatball wedge, they knew what you meant.

I hear they use the term in CT as well, but I have literally never met anyone outside of Westchester that knows what I'm talking about.
posted by danb at 9:07 AM on July 8, 2008


Sub, Vancouver.
posted by cgg at 9:14 AM on July 8, 2008


I can't believe the # of downstate NYers claiming to use "Sub" Have you no sense of place people.

Hero, Grinder, Wedge, Hoagie all acceptable depending on which State/County you are from, but Sub people also probably toast fresh bagels and think Dominos is halfway decent.
posted by JPD at 9:16 AM on July 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ceci n'est pas une baguette?
posted by tallus at 9:17 AM on July 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Sub: Wisconsin.

Hoagie: Philadelphia

Grinder: sometimes a meatball sub or similar in Philadelphia (agreed with minkum above).
posted by Madamina at 9:24 AM on July 8, 2008


Sub in Wisconsin. I'd know what you meant if you said hoagie. If you said po' boy I'd assume it had shrimp. If you said grinder I'd look at you funny.
posted by echo target at 9:24 AM on July 8, 2008


Er, mumkin :P
posted by Madamina at 9:24 AM on July 8, 2008


Sub--west central Florida. I like this thread.
posted by recoveringsophist at 9:35 AM on July 8, 2008


A Hero when I grew up in NYC, a Po' Boy when I lived in New Orleans, a Wedge or a Grinder when I visited Westchester or Mass and a Hoagie in Philly, maybe washed down with a Wooder Ice after. I've heard sub everywhere and I've heard Torpedo too and Italian, mostly in the north east.
posted by Divine_Wino at 9:35 AM on July 8, 2008


In South Dakota, I call it a sub. Unless it's hot and contains something like pizza sauce or meatballs, then I call it a hoagie. (Which was a totally new term brought in by the menu on my brother's pizza place.)
posted by punchdrunkhistory at 9:37 AM on July 8, 2008


Also, my dad's family is from New Orleans and there the term "po-boy" extends a little past its seafood base into sandwiches that would elsewhere be subs, hoagies, etc. Obviously, a shrimp po'boy is unique, but a roast-beef po'boy--the only difference between that and a sub is the bread. But oh, the bread...
posted by recoveringsophist at 9:40 AM on July 8, 2008


So. California, around 1970 my bf's older sisters worked a Grinder shop. At home my mom (from Chicago, through Buffalo) made us Hero sandwiches with spicy pepperoni toasted on the bread in the broiler. Thanks mom.
posted by tula at 9:42 AM on July 8, 2008


Sub, MN. What did they call them before submarines existed?
posted by djpyk at 9:42 AM on July 8, 2008


Bay Area native: sandwich. Most any sandwich place will make them on your choice of bread or roll, so the shape of the bread itself has become irrelevant. There were a few places that advertised "subs" when I was a kid, but I can't think of anyone I've ever known calling a sandwich a "sub".
posted by oneirodynia at 9:51 AM on July 8, 2008


Hoagie in Philadelphia where I live. Sub in Colorado where I grew up. My dad grew up in Pittsburgh and he always called them hoagies too, which for some reason I found embarrassing when I was in Colorado.
posted by jrichards at 9:59 AM on July 8, 2008


People been calling us out for using the term sub, but that's what my Yonkers and Jersey family called them before the fast food version came around.

Someone else brought up the term "wedge". That dredged up something from my dago red addled brain. Wedges were never (as far as I can remember) served on a long roll. They were always on round rolls.

It might be that regionalisms might actually be more like neighborhoodisms.
Anyway, your name for a sandwich sucks, you corporate sell-out poser.
posted by Seamus at 10:00 AM on July 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Thirding 'wedge' in Westchester County, NY - seemingly specific to pizzerias and Italian delis (of course, why would you go anywhere else for a wedge?) . 'Sub' is also acceptable, but obviously has less local flavor.
posted by a young man in spats at 10:01 AM on July 8, 2008


As a kid in north central Texas in the late 70's, I knew them as submarine sandwiches, but I would have known what you meant if you called it a hero. When I moved to NC this year, I called my brother (who lived in Ohio for a time) to ask him if he knew what a grinder was. I had no idea.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 10:03 AM on July 8, 2008


Generally, subs. Grinders, as per Mancino's in Lansing, Mi., are baked in the pizza oven. I've also seen 'em called hoagies and heros, generally based on the shop. I'm from Michigan.
posted by klangklangston at 10:04 AM on July 8, 2008


Growing up in New Jersey in the 1970s, I heard both Hero and Sub used. All other terms sound strange and foreign to me.
posted by baf at 10:18 AM on July 8, 2008


Subs, born in OH raised in AZ. Here in Tucson there's a local chain called Eegee's that has "grinder style" as an option - it adds italian dressing, oregano and pepperoncinis. To me, any term other than sub makes me think of a three-foot long sandwich.
posted by lizjohn at 10:18 AM on July 8, 2008


1.) Sub
2.) Upstate NY (i.e. the other part of NY that no one really knows about)
posted by Sgt.Grumbless at 10:19 AM on July 8, 2008


I growded up in NY - we always called them heroes
posted by Calloused_Foot at 10:28 AM on July 8, 2008


At least in the Tampa, Florida area, there is a subset of the genre called a "Cuban Sandwich," generally made with infinitely delicious Cuban bread (The contents are apparently arguable, but generally pork and mustard and perhaps salami or not). Miami has something similar, but different.
posted by that girl at 10:33 AM on July 8, 2008


A sub. I live in FL. I dunno what else I would call it.... maybe a hoagie if it was a shorter, fatter roll.... otherwise, just sub.
posted by ForeverDcember at 10:36 AM on July 8, 2008


Hoagie/grinder; I'm from Philly. Out here in Oregon I have seen them called Italian subs or California Subs? *Sigh* They are not good.
posted by medeine at 10:37 AM on July 8, 2008


Just a heads-up, there was an article about this phenomenon in Verbatim Magazine a few years back: A Hoagie by Any Other Name (PDF link).
posted by j.edwards at 10:38 AM on July 8, 2008


Essex, England : baguette
posted by essexjan at 10:42 AM on July 8, 2008


Born and raised in NYC - subs and heros
posted by Julnyes at 10:53 AM on July 8, 2008


Wikipedia covers this in the article on submarine sandwiches.
posted by yohko at 10:55 AM on July 8, 2008


Sub, if it's cold or non-seafood.

Poboy, but ONLY if it's seafood. There's also muffalata, but those are big round breads vs. French bread.

L: South Louisiana
posted by chrisfromthelc at 10:57 AM on July 8, 2008


Sub - Los Angeles.
posted by jabberjaw at 11:00 AM on July 8, 2008


Burrito. San Francisco.
posted by gyusan at 11:11 AM on July 8, 2008


Po-boy - Louisiana.

Hoagie, when in Philly. Specifically, Tofu Hoagie from Fu Wah.
posted by oreonax at 11:20 AM on July 8, 2008


sub, wisconsin.
posted by desjardins at 11:41 AM on July 8, 2008


Sub. Grew up in Northern NJ.
posted by EmilyClimbs at 12:17 PM on July 8, 2008


sub. phoenix, az
posted by maulik at 12:28 PM on July 8, 2008


In Maine, it's an Italian, and it has ham, white cheese, green peppers, tomatoes, onions, black olives, sour dill pickle, on a long white roll, dressed with oil, salt & pepper. There are variations on what kind of meat and cheese. Very messy to eat, and totally worth it. I've been craving one, and now I know what's for dinner.

A sub is a sandwich on a long roll, without the classic veggies, oil, salt, pepper combo.
posted by theora55 at 12:28 PM on July 8, 2008


sub; atlanta, GA
posted by milestogo at 12:30 PM on July 8, 2008


but my elementary school cafeteria served hoagies
posted by milestogo at 12:30 PM on July 8, 2008


north jers - sub
central jers - grinder
south jers - hoagie
posted by fumbducker at 12:39 PM on July 8, 2008


Plenty of po'boys don't have seafood on them. It's that delicious bread that you can't bite into without making a flaky mess all over your seersucker pants that makes it a po'boy. Dressed.
posted by gordie at 12:41 PM on July 8, 2008


Michigan
Sub (general)
Hoagie (school lunch only. god I hated hoagie day)
Grinder (only at one specific place that we'd get a big ol' six-foot-long sandwich from for tailgating at U of M football games)
North Carolina
Sub
posted by Stewriffic at 12:42 PM on July 8, 2008


Native Manhattanite, fortyish. Have lived in Brooklyn for 20 years.

Hero, always.
posted by ROTFL at 1:07 PM on July 8, 2008


Boston area. If it’s toasted I call it a grinder. If it’s cold I call it a sub.

This is my understanding too. I think it is localized to Somerville/Arlington area, though.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:51 PM on July 8, 2008


Reporting from Boston: I call it a sub, regardless of whether it is hot or cold.
posted by katemcd at 1:55 PM on July 8, 2008


As people have noted, there is a specific type of sub in Maine called an Italian (for those truly pedantic, there is an exact list of ingredients).

As far as I know this term was spread by Amato's, a local sandwich chain that started in Westbrook, ME (right outside of Portland). I am not 100% on this and would welcome any historical references on this if someone found one.
posted by mbatch at 2:02 PM on July 8, 2008


In MN usually a submarine or sub sandwich and occasionally a hoagie (though the latter is more likely as part of a description, i.e. "served on a hoagie roll).
posted by nanojath at 2:06 PM on July 8, 2008


Someone asked if the New York term hero was related to gyro, I remember someone telling me that Gyro is a transliteration of the greek, but in greek it is actually pronounced something like hero or gheero. I know that long before Greek immigrants ran the classic Greek diners, they used to run lunchcarts in construction sites around New York, where many Italian laborers used to get their lunch. Well a gheero (or gyro) on Italian bread, and lo and behold you've got a hero.

I have no idea if this is a just-so story but it sounded good.

For those people form the New York region who use sub, you must leave ASAP. Your New York privileges are hereby revoked. In deference to our mayor, you may call the grinders.
posted by xetere at 2:07 PM on July 8, 2008


pittsburgh, hoagie. but i also say yinz and gumband.
posted by thisisnotkatrina at 2:35 PM on July 8, 2008


I grew up in Northern Westchester County, NY (Bedford) in the late 70's/early 80's. Anything other than "wedge" sounds wrong.

Some people will tell you that "wedge" only applies to hot sandwiches. Those people are wrong. At least in the Greater Mount Kisco area, delis would list three sandwich prices: Bread/Roll/Wedge. It didn't matter if you were talking about an Italian Combo*, turkey or meatballs -- "Wedge" meant you wanted the thing on a long roll. I was stunned when I went to college on Long Island and nobody -- not even the pizzeria guys -- knew what I was talking about. It was like a Twilight Zone episode.

Never thought about it before meeting a young man in spats but it's possible that it's an Italian deli thing. The thing is, there were literally no other kind of delis in that area (say from White Plains north to Putnam County and west to the Hudson,) back in the day. Even now, my archetypical deli more closely resembles a salumeria than a chopped liver joint. And even when you ordered a long sandwich at the Center Store in my ultra-Caucasian hometown of Bedford you asked for a "wedge."

I've done a little bit of research on this linguistic quirk and have found the term in use (not exclusively) from the Bronx as far north as Dutchess County and out west to Rte 17 or so. But the southern, northern and western borders are fuzzy and Westchester really is the buckle of the wedge belt -- no other term was current or necessary. I've seen individual pizzerias and Italian delis using the term as far west as central NY and PA and here and there throughout the U.S. but they're almost exclusively Bronx or southern Westchester expats doing NY schtick.

Now I live in CT and they make "grinders" and it just sounds wrong. Unlike the other boundaries, the eastern "wedge" boundary is hard at the NY/CT border. Though you can throw a rock across the Byram River at Port Chester, hop over it into Byram and it's grinder central.

---
*An Italian Combo wedge (oil and vinegar of course and keep your mayo the hell out of my county!) is about as close to heaven as the earthbound can reach. Those of you who live in places with lousy bread, that is, most of the world, have absolutely no idea of what I speak.
posted by Opposite George at 2:38 PM on July 8, 2008


Filled roll (New Zealand)
We have subways here but it hasn't affected the name of the generic food.
posted by slightlybewildered at 2:46 PM on July 8, 2008


Born in Scotland, but raised in W. US, now live in N. FLA.

If it's got terrestrial meat, it's a sub.
If it's got fish of any kind, it's a Po' Boy (unless that fish is done up in a salad, then it's still a sub).
posted by Pecinpah at 2:49 PM on July 8, 2008


slightlybewildered said: "Filled roll (New Zealand)
We have subways here but it hasn't affected the name of the generic food.
"

I'm pretty sure the name came before the chain. IOW, the chain was riffing off the foodstuff. Where I grew up there was also a chain called Captain Sub, and there's another chain called Mr. Sub.
posted by loiseau at 3:01 PM on July 8, 2008


austin tx and phoenix az: the bread is a baguette, the sammich is a sub
posted by phritosan at 3:10 PM on July 8, 2008


Someone asked if the New York term hero was related to gyro, I remember someone telling me that Gyro is a transliteration of the greek, but in greek it is actually pronounced something like hero or gheero. I know that long before Greek immigrants ran the classic Greek diners, they used to run lunchcarts in construction sites around New York, where many Italian laborers used to get their lunch. Well a gheero (or gyro) on Italian bread, and lo and behold you've got a hero.

I have no idea if this is a just-so story but it sounded good.

For those people form the New York region who use sub, you must leave ASAP. Your New York privileges are hereby revoked. In deference to our mayor, you may call the grinders.


That story, appealing though it may be, makes no sense. First, the Greek word "γύρο" is pronounced closest to "YEE-ro," though the "Y" sound is further back in the mouth than in English. The aitch sound as in "hero" would be represented by a chi (χ) and you'd spell the word something like "χύρο," or "χήρο" which I guess could be a legitimate Greek word but it ain't the one we're talking about.

The Greek word we are talking about comes from the word for "turning" (like in gyroscope) and refers to a specific type of sandwich that was pretty rare in the U.S., even NY, before the 1970s. Etymological research superhero Barry Popik dates the NY term "hero" back to at least the 1930s. A Greek gyro requires turning meat or it ain't a gyro.

To refer to a generic sandwich, a new Greek immigrant would probably use "pita" or more likely just borrow the English term (my Greek-American grandmothers would say "sangvitza," or the diminutive "sangvitzoula!" :) ) There is no way they would use "gyro" as a generic sandwich term.

Nia Vardalos' Dad notwithstanding, not every word in English comes from Greek.

And Bloomberg is from Boston, so what does he know?
posted by Opposite George at 3:31 PM on July 8, 2008


Hoagie, western PA.
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 3:32 PM on July 8, 2008


They are either subs OR hoagies for me; I grew up calling them hoagies when they were ordered from church/Boy Scout fundraisers, but subs has never sounded weird to me.

Grinders/heros/and even the full "submarine" with optional "sandwich" all sound either fancy or ludicrous (esp. in the case of the full sub title).

I'm from about an hour and half west of Philly.
posted by dorothy humbird at 3:50 PM on July 8, 2008


sub; northern NJ
posted by natalie b at 4:16 PM on July 8, 2008


hoagie back home (western PA)
posted by citron at 5:20 PM on July 8, 2008


A cold sandwich is most definitely a hoagie. And, yes, I'm in Philadelphia. I'm in my mid- to late 20s, and I don't recall hearing the term 'sub' or 'submarine' (let alone 'hero'!) used anywhere I frequented during my childhood. It was always a hoagie. Toasted sandwiches would be grinders, though I still use the term 'hoagie' for hot sandwiches, too (meatball hoagie, for example).

As far as the origin of the term 'hoagie', I was just watching a fascinating show produced for local PBS (WHYY) that might be of interest. It was called The Philly Food Show, and it covers hoagies [YouTube]. There was a huge back story, and unfortunately, after watching back stories on a whole slew of foods, I can't remember the precise details of the hoagie section. The website I linked to above says, 'Another part of the Italian-American story, this sandwich bursting with Italian meats and cheeses is a success story that many fathers claim as their own. DiCostanza's will explain why they claim that their hoagie is best.' Here's the biased explanation from DiCostanza's. I do remember that there were some details as to how the name 'hoagie' was coined that this website doesn't cover. It seemed like it was the bastardization of another word, which then became standard (common in Philadelphia). Then, in the television special, I believe there was a counter-claim that a restaurant in Chester County, PA was the actual birthplace of the hoagie. I thrive on these sorts of Americana/pop culture-type shows. Rick Sebak has made a slew of great shows on similar topics, including Sandwiches That You Will Like (which does cover the South Philly hoagie) [Wikipedia], A Hot Dog Program, and An Ice Cream Show.
posted by Mael Oui at 9:41 PM on July 8, 2008


I call it a sub or an Italian sandwich; I was raised in Los Angeles.

The restaurant that used to serve the sandwiches of my childhood would wrap them in waxed paper and put them in a long, skinny, colorfully printed bag with lots of names for this type of sandwich printed on it. I recall it said "Submarine," but also Hoagie, Bomb, Torpedo, Grinder, and Hero.

Because of this I have always mentally thought of them as "bombs" even though I have never seen a sandwich referred to as a "bomb" anywhere other than that silly bag, which was usually soaked with oil by the time I got it.
posted by ikkyu2 at 11:11 PM on July 8, 2008


1 a: Sandwich
1 b: Flute
2: Copenhagen Denmark
posted by StephenMeldalFoged at 2:29 AM on July 9, 2008


Australia: it's a roll.
A sandwich is made with sliced bread.
A sub is from Subway.
Anything else, you'd get weird looks.
posted by indienial at 5:00 AM on July 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


po boy. new orleans.
posted by pyjammy at 10:36 AM on July 9, 2008


Because of this I have always mentally thought of them as "bombs" even though I have never seen a sandwich referred to as a "bomb" anywhere other than that silly bag

In the Boston area, steak-and-cheese subs (thinly sliced steak with melted cheese - grilled peppers and onions optional) are sometimes called "steak bombs".
posted by Rock Steady at 10:36 AM on July 9, 2008


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