My hometown paper, The Burlington Free Press, is running a contest for a new, unique-to-Vermont name for sandwiches. They claim most Vermonters now call it a grinder (which I dispute, it was always a sub for me growing up).



The suggestions, such as “champ, “groundhog” and “sammy” are uninspiring to say the least. The reason, of course, is that the premise behind this contest is supremely moronic. Vermont has enough unique stuff about it already. Trust me, I know, because I don’t shut up about Vermont…ever.

What makes us think we’re so special we must now have our own name for a sandwich that no other state uses? God forbid we say sub like the flat-lander masses outside our great state.

However, this did get me thinking about the way we describe sandwiches in different parts of the country. I always said sub myself, and I despise the terms grinder and hoagie.

The Wikipedia entry on submarine sandwiches outlines some of the different terms and the region they are associated with:

Grinder: Mid-west, New England, Riverside, California

Hero: New York, Northern New Jersey

Sub: Delaware

Hoagie: Philadelphia, South Jersey, Baltimore

Po’ Boy: Gulf coast, particularly around New Orleans

Wedge: Associated with various parts of NY such as the Bronx and parts of Long Island. Also used in Westchester County and Northern NJ

Italian: Maine (even if it’s not an Italian sandwich)

Quite the variety, which means it’s time for a So Good readers roll-call.

What would you call a sandwich defined as such: Salami, ham, prosciutto, capicola, mortadella, provolone, sliced tomatoes, red onions, shredded lettuce, sweet and hot peppers, sliced cucumbers stacked on Italian or French bread and seasoned with oil and vinegar, salt, pepper and perhaps a dash of oregano?

[poll id=”5″]

UPDATE: Have food obsession issues like I do? Check the Wikipedia page on sandwiches, and read up on sandwiches at The Food Timeline. Nothing says “I love sandwiches” like reading about them in your free time.

26 Responses

  1. Youppi

    I have to say, while i would probably call it a sub, growing up, i used Hoagie just as much. my vote is split.

  2. Mattraw

    Wedge? Like Antilles? NERD SHOUTOUT TO YOUPPI!

    Yeah, I’ve never heard of Wedge. I think that’s made up, or more likely something one dude’s family used to say and decided it needed to be put on Wikipedia.

    I’d say sub or hero, though usually I think of hero as just being the type of roll and not necessarily the whole sammidge. Po’ boys I don’t usually think of as being the same kind of sammidge.

    For your sake, Eick, I hope that “sammy” doesn’t win this contest, because everyone and their mother says “sammy” and if your home state tries to co-opt this term, that means you and your whole state are losers. LOSERS.

    Instead, I suggest: The Traw.

    Yo man, gimme a Traw, extra mayo, hold the pickles.

  3. Tomb

    What about a Torpedo, I have seen that used in some areas. But Torpedo and the rest do not matter. It’s a hoagie, period! The type sandwich described (without the cucumbers of course – which is ridiculous) was invented by workers a the Hog Island Shipyard in Philadelphia a long time ago (the shipyard is no longer in existence) and got got called a Hoggie which later morphed into a hoagie.

  4. Trish Jensen

    Actually, “hoagie” originated at a small sandwich shop in central Pennsylvania. The guy who coined the term actually tried to sue to keep other sub shops from even USING the word hoagie. He lost. So hoagie is MOSTLY central Pennsylvania. If it’s now used a lot in Philly, those idiots stole it from us.

  5. KevinB

    Here in Toronto (and all of central Canada, from what I’ve seen), these are always called “subs”, which got their name because the roll is submarine shaped. The largest such sandwich chain in the country is called “Mr. Submarine”. When people use the term “Italian” sandwich here in the Great White North, they could be referring to veal, meatball, steak, or cold cuts, but the roll is either square or round, and never in the distinctive submarine shape. I have seen the plain buns for sale in bakeries called “torpedo” rolls, doubtless with the same derivation.

  6. dagrappler

    I have lived in CA all my life, and I never heard the term “grinder”(or hoagie) until I traveled east. Usually the term was “sub” or “hero” and sometimes we’d hear the term “torpedo” like others have mentioned here.

    Right now the leading term, sad to say, would be “footlong” even when not at the aforementioned Subway sandwich shop. Talk about a change in the times…

  7. WallfloweRyan

    My mom grew up in Ohio and called it a Torpedo sandwich.

    I’ve lived in Maine my whole life and I usually call it an Italian. Wait, no… it’s ALWAYS an Italian.

  8. KevinB

    Hey, Eick – we’re practically neighbours! The family cottage is up on Mississiquoi Bay, and we always make a trip down to Burlington during the summer.

    So, how about a “champy”?

  9. Chris

    I’m from north-eastern NJ, right across the river from NY, and have NEVER heard the term “wedge” being used. All the shops and people here call them”subs”. I can’t even remember the last time I heard anyone say or seen a store that used the term “hero” either. “Hero” has been used but sub is way more popular.

  10. Fred

    I grew up in Brooklyn and now live in Long Island and I’ve never heard anyone refer to a sandwich on Italian or French bread as anything other than a “Hero.”

    And let me tell you, I would cringe in my youth when Bill Cosby would refer to a “Hoagie” on the “Cosby Show.” That was some bad writing since the show supposedly took place in Brooklyn Heights.

    • Mike

      It’s a hero ! Let’s face it everything good comes from NY and that’s where we call it a hero ! Everywhere you go in the country you will always see signs NY style pizza and Chinese etc I’ve even seen NY style car wash in FL so let’s say hero and all others follow like they do everything else!

  11. Ben

    It seems to me, after traveling across the USA multiple times, living up and down the east coast and now in Idaho, the most common term is sub. However while in a sub shop if you order the Italian you will receive something similar to the above. My personal favorite Italian sub comes with mortadella, capicola, genoa, prosciutto and provolone. The most common toppings lettuce, tomato, onion, oil and vinegar and/or mayonaise.

  12. Linkabird

    Growing up in the Vergennes area, we always called them grinders. I never even thought of calling them a sub until i had lived in Ohio and NY. I had assumed subs were somehow a different thing altogether!

  13. sassygaot

    born & raised in baltimore we DO NOT call our sandwiches hoagies but SUBS!!!!

  14. siderealPhoenix

    grinder than sub. I don’t even know what the other ones are 🙂

  15. Sadie

    When I lived near Philadelphia I called it a hoagie but now I live in Maine and call it an Italian.

  16. ChrisB

    Actually, you’re all wrong. (Including wipe)

    A true hero (the spelling changed from gyro and is on a long “sub” like bun) is made from lamb

    A true sub has soft bread with different ingredients., Italian, Meatball, etc.

    A grinder is made with a hard, baguette like dough that one seems to have “grind” onto.

    A hoagie (also known as a hoagie patty) is a hamburger type mixture, usually bought pre-made at a grocery or food outlet and places on a special sesame seed roll called of course…a hoagie roll.

    A wedge is half of a sandwich made on square bread.

    I’ve been in sandwich biz for 25 years, and I speak gospel.

  17. ChrisB

    Sorry for my bad typing skills.

    wipe is wiki for ex 🙂

    I left out the po’Boy. It is actually made with seafood of some type usually clams or mussells

  18. Matt R

    I’m from Westchester, NY and I’ve heard it been called a hero, sub, grinder, and Wedge. Po’ Boy is stupid and I first heard of a hoagie after going to school in Philly. An Italian is a type of sandwich so that makes no sense that people from Maine call is that


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