Italian sandwich

The Italian sandwich, sometimes referred to as the Maine Italian sandwich,[1] is an American submarine sandwich in Italian-American cuisine prepared on a long bread roll or bun with meats, cheese and various vegetables.[2] The Italian sandwich was invented in Portland, Maine, in 1903 by Giovanni Amato, a baker. It is known as a grinder or a sub in Boston, Massachusetts, and as a spuckie in East Boston.

An Italian sandwich


A cross-section of an Italian sandwich

The traditional Maine Italian sandwich is prepared using a long bread roll or bun with meats such as salami, mortadella, capicolla and ham along with provolone, tomato, onion, sour pickle, green bell pepper, Greek olives, olive oil or salad oil, salt and cracked black pepper.[3][4][5] Additional ingredients, such as pepperoni, banana pepper, lettuce and mustard, may be added to the Maine Italian sandwich. Outside of Maine, Italian sandwiches are typically prepared on a hard or soft Italian roll with the following ingredients: all thinly sliced to order meats including danish ham, genoa salami and capicolla along with provolone, shredded lettuce, onion, oil and vinegar, cracked black pepper and dried oregano. Additional ingredients, such as banana pepper and/or hot peppers may be added to the sandwich. The sandwich is often cut in half to make it easier to handle.[3][6][7][8] The flavors and texture of the sandwich are unified by the ingredients used to create a gastronomic equilibrium, with the fats and acids in the ingredients serving to counterbalance one another.[5][8]


The Italian sandwich was invented in Portland, Maine, by baker Giovanni Amato in 1903.[3][4] While selling his bread on his street cart, Amato received requests from dockworkers to slice his long bread rolls and add sliced meat, cheese and vegetables to them.[3][2] Amato later opened a sandwich shop named Amato's, and today the sandwich continues to be prepared by Amato's sandwich shops in Portland.[2][5] The Amato's version is traditionally prepared using fresh-baked bread, ham, American cheese, slices of tomato, onions, green pepper and sour pickle, Kalamata olives and salad oil.[5]

The Italian sandwich is known as a grinder or a sub in Boston, Massachusetts,[9] and in East Boston it is referred to as a “spuckie”, derived from the Italian verb spaccare, “to split.”[10](See also spuccadella.)[4] In Philadelphia and South Jersey it is known as a "hoagie" or a "grinder".[11]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Eat and Run: Anania's, South Portland". The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram. September 27, 2012. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c Stern, J.; Stern, M. (2009). 500 Things to Eat Before It's Too Late: And the Very Best Places to Eat Them. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 58. ISBN 978-0-547-05907-5. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d Stern, J.; Stern, M. (2007). Roadfood Sandwiches: Recipes and Lore from Our Favorite Shops Coast to Coast. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 186. ISBN 978-0-547-34635-9. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
  4. ^ a b c Smith, A.; Kraig, B. (2013). The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America (2d ed.). OUP USA. p. 351. ISBN 978-0-19-973496-2. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d Thorne, J.; Thorne, M.L. (2008). Mouth Wide Open: A Cook and His Appetite. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. p. pt106–107. ISBN 978-1-4668-0646-7. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
  6. ^ Sciorra, J. (2011). Italian Folk: Vernacular Culture in Italian-American Lives. Critical studies in Italian America. Fordham University Press. p. 15. ISBN 978-0-8232-3265-9. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
  7. ^ Gagne, T. (2011). New England Recipes. Kids Can Cook. Mitchell Lane Publishers, Incorporated. p. 18. ISBN 978-1-61228-161-2. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
  8. ^ a b Korfhage, Matthew (May 24, 2016). "Your New Favorite Spicy Italian Sandwich Is at O-Bros Osteria Food Cart". Willamette Week. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
  9. ^ "Grinders, Subs, and Spuckies - Sandwich Names of New England". 8 January 2019.
  10. ^ Boston Globe, Friday, May 5, 2000, page 34
  11. ^ "What You Call A Sub Sandwich Can Reveal Exactly Where You're From". HuffPost. 2018-10-04. Retrieved 2020-01-29.

Further readingEdit