The Origin of the Hoagie Sandwich

The hoagie sandwich is a classic American favorite, but where did it come from? The name likely originated in the Philadelphia area, where Italian immigrants working in the Hog Island shipyard during World War I began making sandwiches. These sandwiches were originally called “hoggies” before the name hoagie took hold. Brian Cleland, owner of Richard's Grinders in West Springfield, Massachusetts, notes that the term “grinder” is more common in Connecticut and Massachusetts. Historians don't seem to agree on which version of the hoagie's origin story is correct, but they all agree that it started in Philadelphia or its suburbs.

The Blimpie sandwich chain started in Hoboken and called their sandwiches blimps to indicate that they would be bigger and better than the typical submarine. Elsewhere, people could use “grinder” to distinguish a hot submarine from a cold one, with the first being the grinder and the second being the submarine. However, this distinction has largely disappeared over time.

Tristan Gagliardo
Tristan Gagliardo

Proud social media ninja. Bacon expert. Unapologetic gamer. Proud zombie nerd. Freelance pop culture scholar.

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