The first “Blimpie Base” (later just “Blimpie") sandwich shop opened in Hoboken, New Jersey, on April 4, 1964. The shop quickly franchised, especially in the New York City-area, and became the third largest sandwich chain in the United States (behind Subway and Quiznos).
The name “blimpie” (from “blimp") was chosen as an original sandwich name and is similar to “zeppelin” (or “zep”) —itself a sandwich name since at least 1948. Blimpie’s also calls its main product “sub” sandwiches.
The long list of the names of sandwiches served on long rolls includes bomber, Cuban (medianoche), Dagwood, garibaldi, gondola, grinder, hero, hoagie, Italian, muffuletta, peacemaker (La Mediatrice), pilgrim, pistolette, po’ boy (poor boy), rocket, skyscraper, spiedie, spucky (spuckie, spukie), submarine (sub), torpedo, torta (Mexican po’ boy), wedge and zeppelin (zep).
Blimpie, is the franchiser for Blimpie restaurants, the third largest submarine sandwich chain in the United States, trailing Subway and Quiznos. The company is owned by Kahala Corp and is based in Scottsdale, AZ.
The first Blimpie’s store was opened in Hoboken, New Jersey, in 1964. (The original store called “Blimpie Base” remained unchanged until about 1994 when it was remodeled). By mid-2002, there were about 2,000 Blimpie outlets in operation, located in 47 U.S. states and in 15 other countries. Unlike many restaurant chains, Blimpie does not generally operate “company stores.” Virtually all of its income is derived from the various fees associated with franchise arrangements. In addition to freestanding outlets and locations in malls and store clusters, Blimpies can be found in a variety of nontraditional sites, such as inside convenience stores, gasoline station food marts, schools, office complexes, hospitals, and sports arenas.
A key area of growth is in the development or acquisition of other brands. In 1999 the company launched Pasta Central, a franchised chain within the “home meal replacement” category featuring Italian-style pasta and pizza; the concept was exclusively a vehicle for cobranded Blimpie/Pasta Central outlets. Two years earlier, Blimpie International acquired majority control of Maui Tacos, a Mexican quick-service restaurant with a Hawaiian flavor. Maui Tacos in 1998 launched Smoothie Island, a chain offering blended fruit-based beverages.
The first Blimpie sub shop was opened in Hoboken, New Jersey, in 1964 by Tony Conza, Peter DeCarlo, and Angelo Bandassare, a trio of former high school buddies. Inspired by a successful Point Pleasant operation called Mike’s Submarines, the three friends speculated that a similar restaurant would do well in Hoboken. The store’s name came about because owner Tony Conza preferred not to call the sandwiches subs, which he felt sounded too much like a greasy spoon. Conza preferred the term Hoagies, but Hoboken residents weren’t familiar with the popular Philadelphia term. So he flipped through a dictionary until he found “Blimp”, a word that sounded to him most like a sandwich.  The original Blimpie was an instant hit, and, before long, customers began asking about starting up franchises. The first franchise was sold to a friend in western New York for $600 during the company’s first year of operation.
In 1965 Bandassare left the company and Conza and DeCarlo decided to expand into New York City, beginning with a store on 55th Street in Manhattan. By 1967 there were ten Blimpies in the chain, four of which were owned by the company’s founders.
Blimpie - The Blimpie Story
Before opening their first store, the three men revisited the owner of the sub shop in Point Pleasant where they had first tasted those so-called submarines. They promised not to compete with him, but needed his advice, which they gratefully received.
With financing and guidance in hand, all they needed was a name. To help set them apart, they wanted to call their sandwiches something other than subs, submarines or hoagies. So they went through a dictionary until they came to the word “blimp” and a picture resembling the generous-size sandwiches they wanted to make. This was the “eureka” moment, and the BLIMPIE sandwich and restaurant chain was born!
On April 4, 1964, the three men opened for business on Washington St. in Hoboken. The consummate salesman worked the slicer. The quiet thinker manned the dressing station. And the third entrepreneur took the cash. By the time the door closed at 9 p.m., $295 had been rung up - with sandwich prices ranging from 35 to 95 cents. Although exhausted, the business partners still had to clean up and get ready for the next day.
1 January 1969, New York (NY) TImes, “Cafe Figaro Shuts Doors in ‘Village’” by John Kifner, pg. 23:
In the future, Village sources said, the corner (Bleecker and Macdougal Streets—ed.) will be occupied by a Blimpie Base restaurant, part of the orange and white chain of hero sandwich shops proliferating through the area.
“A Blimpie’s? They might as well change the name to Pizza Square,” said Victor Castelli, a young lawyer, as he and a dozen others searched through the ruins of the Figaro for a souvenir.
Word Mark BLIMPIE BASE
Goods and Services (ABANDONED) IC 029. US 046. G & S: GOODS - SANDWICHES. FIRST USE: 19640404. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19640404
Mark Drawing Code (3) DESIGN PLUS WORDS, LETTERS, AND/OR NUMBERS
Serial Number 73186946
Filing Date September 25, 1978
Current Filing Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1A
Owner (APPLICANT) ANTHONY CONZA, DAVID SIEGEL AND PETER DECARLO JOINT OWNERSHIP 720 5TH AVE. NEW YORK NEW YORK 10022
Type of Mark TRADEMARK
Live/Dead Indicator DEAD
Abandonment Date May 16, 1983
Word Mark BLIMPIE
Goods and Services IC 030. US 046. G & S: Prepared Meat, Fish, and Other Food Sandwiches for Consumption On or Off the Premises. FIRST USE: 19640404. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19640404
IC 042. US 100. G & S: Restaurant Services. FIRST USE: 19640404. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19640404
Mark Drawing Code (1) TYPED DRAWING
Serial Number 73188686
Filing Date October 10, 1978
Current Filing Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1A
Published for Opposition August 9, 1983
Registration Number 1256296
Registration Date November 1, 1983
Owner (REGISTRANT) DeCarlo; Peter INDIVIDUAL UNITED STATES 720 5th Ave. New York NEW YORK 10019
(LAST LISTED OWNER) KBI HOLDINGS, L.L.C. COMPOSED OF KCUC, LLC, ITS MEMBER LTD LIAB CO ARIZONA 9311 East Via de Ventura Scottsdale ARIZONA 85258
Assignment Recorded ASSIGNMENT RECORDED
Attorney of Record MARTIN G. RASKIN
Prior Registrations 0840938
Type of Mark TRADEMARK. SERVICE MARK
Affidavit Text SECT 15. SECT 8 (6-YR). SECTION 8(10-YR) 20030321.
Renewal 1ST RENEWAL 20030321
Live/Dead Indicator LIVE