A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from August 17, 2009
Italian Sandwich

Entry in progress—B.P.

The long list of the names of sandwiches served on long rolls includes blimpie, bomber, Cuban (medianoche), Dagwood, garibaldi, gondola, grinder, hero, hoagie, jawbreaker, 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).

Wikipedia: Submarine sandwich
A submarine sandwich, also known as a sub, grinder, hero, hoagie, Italian sandwich, po’ boy, wedge, zep, torpedo or roll, is a popular Italian American sandwich that consists of an oblong roll, often of Italian or French bread, split lengthwise either into two pieces or opened in a “V” on one side, and filled with various meats, cheeses, vegetables, spices, and sauces. The sandwich has no apparent generic name, and major US cities have their own names for it. The usage of the several terms varies regionally but not in any pattern, as they have been used variously by the people and enterprises who make and sell them. The terms submarine and sub are widespread and not assignable to any certain region, though many of the localized terms are clustered in the northeast United States, where the most Italian Americans live.
(...)
. Italian Sandwich — Maine and other parts of New England. 

Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
Main Entry: Italian sandwich
Function: noun
Date: circa 1953
: submarine

Google Books
The Up-to-Date Sandwich Book:
400 ways to make a sandwich

By Eva Greene Fuller
Chicago, IL: A. C. McClurg & Company
1909
Pg. 123:
ITALIAN SANDWICH
Take an equal number of slices of white and graham bread, spread with butter and cream cheese; on these put finely chopped olives that have been mixed with a little mayonnaise dressing. Press slices together in pairs with a crisp lettuce leaf between each pair, and cut diagonally. Garnish with parsley.

15 April 1909, Kansas City (MO) Star, pg. 8:
Italian Sandwiches.
From the Circle Magazine for April.
Cut bread, and butter very thin, but not thin enough to curl, and put slices together with a mixture made by chopping very fine a pound each of cold boiled ham and the white meat of chicken, then rubbing to a cream with the yolks of two hard boiled eggs, one sweet pepper scalded then chopped after removing the seeds and stem, a teaspoonful of cream, and celery salt to taste. Trim off crust, then cut in oblongs, small squares, or triangles.
(Also available in the following—ed.)
Chronicling America
28 April 1909, Breckenridge News (Cloverport, KY), pg. 5, col. 3.

18 November 1911, Wilkes-Barre (PA) Times, pg. 9:
Italian Sandwiches.
Parboil the livers from a pair of chickens until very tender. Chop, rub through a coarse strainer and mix with an equal amount of chopped olives. Moisten with mayonnaise dressing and spread on thin slices of white bread buttered.

6 April 1912, Frederick (MD) Evening Post, pg. 6, col. 6:
Italian Sandwiches.
Cut bread and butter very thin but not thin enough to curl, and put slices together with a mixture made by chopping very fine half a pound each of cold boiled ham and the white meat of chicken, then rubbing to a cream with the yolks of two hard boiled eggs, one sweet pepper scalded then chopped after removing the seeds and stem, a teaspoonful of cream and celery salt to taste. Trim off crusts, then cut in oblongs, small squares or triangles.

24 November 1912, Cleveland (OH) Plain Dealer, pg. 9, cols. 4-5:
Italian Sandwich.
Work two ounces of butter into a quarter of a pound of flour, add the beaten yolk of an egg and make into a stiff paste, adding an ounce and a half of caster sugar and as much powdered cinnamon as will lie on a shilling. Roll out the paste to a thickness of a quater of an inch or less, cut into strips an inch wide and three inches long. Put them on one side in a cool place to harden for four to five hours. make a mixture of the whites of three eggs, beaten to a froth, with two ounces of caster sugar and two ounces of sweet almonds and twelve bitter almonds, blanched and pounded together. Work this mixture until it is a smooth paste; spread half the strips with it and cover the other half and bake them in a quick oven for a quart of an hour.

Google Books
Good Housekeeping
v. 62-63 - 1915
Pg. 249:
Italian Sandwich
1/4 pound dried beef
1/4 pound American cheese
1 pint canned tomatoes
Put the beef and cheese through the meat-grinder; add the tomatoes, which have been sieved, and cook till thick. When cold, use as a filling for white bread sandwiches. A lettuce-leaf in each sandwich is a good addition.
(Reprinted in 1920’s Good Housekeeping’s Book of Recipes and Household Discoveries, credited to “BROOKLYN, N. Y.”—ed.)

11 August 1920, Wellsboro (PA) Agitator, pg. 7, col. 3:
Italian Sandwiches
Put one-half pound of dried beef and one-half pound of American cheese through the meat grinder; add one pint can of tomatoes which have been put through a sieve, and cook until thick. When cold, use as a filling for white bread sandwiches. A lettuce leaf in each sandwich is a good addition.

4 October 1923, Laurens (IA) Sun, pg. 6, col. 2:
A delicious filling to make Italian sandwiches is chopped ham, celery, mustard, cayenne and mayonnaise and chili sauce, all well blended, spread on wheat bread.

28 July 1929, Montana Standard (Butte, MT), magazine, pg. 3, col. 1:
Italian Sandwiches—Three quarters of a cupful of finely minced celery mixed with one-quarter of a cupful of finely minced, cooked ham. Add a dash of Cayenne pepper and mustard and moisten with two tablespoonfuls each of mayonnaise and chili sauce. Use as filling for white or whole wheat bread sandwiches.

8 April 1930, Woodland (CA) Daily Democrat, pg. 11, col. 1:
ITALIAN SANDWICHES
Italian sandwiches are made in this way: Mix three-fourths cup of finely minced celery with one-fourth cup of minced ham. Season with a rash each of cayenne pepper and mustard and moisten with two tablespoons each of mayonnaise and chili sauce. Spread between slices of white or whole wheat bread.

17 January 1936, Chester (PA) Times, pg. 4, col. 5 ad:
Circle Grille
1001 MORTON AVENUE
REAL ITALIAN SANDWICHES… 25c

1 May 1936, Chester (PA) Times, pg. 4, col. 1 ad:
ITALIAN SANDWICHES & SPAGHETTI A SPECIALTY
(Broomall Cafe—ed.)

24 June 1936, Chester (PA) Times, pg. 16, col. 7 classified ad:
CHOICE ITALIAN SANDWICHES, 25c. 1819 West 3rd Street, across from Strand Theatre.

21 September 1945, Daily Kennebec Journal (Kennebec, ME), pg. 4, col. 6 ad:
Italian Sandwiches
ABBOTT’S LUNCH
Gardiner

Google Books
The State of Nature
By Paul Goodman
New York, NY: Vanguard Press
1946
Pg. 92:
With fastidious gusto he ate great Italian sandwiches of whole loaves crammed with vegetables and salami.

15 March 1946, Daily Kennebec Journal (Kennebec, ME), pg. 10, col. 1 ad:
THE DIN-A-BELL
Next to Express Office, Winthrop. Specializing in Italian-American Foods and serving regular meals. Try our Italian Sandwiches.

5 January 1947, Portland (ME) Sunday Telegram and Sunday Press Herald, pg. 1, col. 8 ad:
AMATO’S
ITALIAN SANDWICHES
Are Still Only 25c
In Spite Of Increased Costs
Boiled Ham on Sundays Only
71 INDIA ST

2 January 1947, Portland (ME) Press Herald, pg. 2, cols. 4-5:
Mr. and Mrs. Giovanni Amato, 71 India Street, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary Wednesday night with an open house for 14 children, 25 grandchildren and 35 friends.

Mr. Amato, at 72 maine’s oldest Italian baker, married the former Mickline Mennico, 70, on New Year’s Day 1896, in their native Naples, Italy and they left Italy a week later to open a bakery here.

Mountains of italian pastries were prepared by daughters of the family, a small orchestra played and festive decorations bedecked the dining room where a wedding cake held the center of attention.

Mr. Amato is the originator of the Italian sandwich, discovered in his earlier years when he delivered a supply of bread to raod construction gangs. he noticed that the men had to go some distance to buy meat and onions to go with the bread, and solve their problem by giving them a balanced meal in the pre-fabricated italian sandwich.

He filled the long rolls with ham, cheese, olives, green peppers, tomatoes, pickles and onions, generously covered with olive oil and seasoning.

The success of the sandwich boomed production over the years to a present 1,500 daily, distributed all over Maine in bakery trucks.

1 December 1949, Portland (ME) Press Herald, pg. 30, col. 3 ad:
THE FIRST AND ONLY SERVICE OT ITS KIND IN NEW ENGLAND
We will deliver One or More
ITALIAN SANDWICHES
Anywhere within a radius of 10 miles
PORELLO’S
Maine’s Oldest Stand Since 1905
19 Bridge St.
Westbrook

5 March 1950, Portland (ME) Sunday Telegram and Sunday Press-Herald, pg. 1, col. 2 ad:
AMATO’S
ORIGINAL
Italian Sandwiches
A well balanced meal with choice of ham or salami.

5 September 1971, New York (NY) Times, pg. XX1:
The Traveler’s Guide
To Hash-House Greek

By DAN CARLINSKY
(...)
How else would you know that to order submarine sandwiches (those grand concoctions of onions, sandwich meat, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, oregano and oil served on a long roll) you must ask for hoagies in Birmingham, grinders in Hartford, heros in New York, poor boys in New Orleans, rockets in Cheyenne, torpedoes in San Diego, Italian sandwiches in Louisville, and Cuban sandwiches in Miami.

4 August 1977, Washington (DC) Post, “Please Pass the Subs--Er, Hoagies, Er...,” pg. E10:
Submarine, he (Howard Robboy of Temple University, who wrote an American Speech article on sandwich names—ed.) found, is the most popular name for the sandwich, followed by hoagie, poor boy and grinder. In some cities they go by more than one name, such as Philadelphia, where one finds both hoagies and submarines. Other names are torpedo (Reno, San Antonio, San Diego), Italian sandwich (Louisville, Reading, Allentown), hero (New York City and Newark), rocket (Cheyenne and Cincinnati), bomber in Buffalo, mufalatta in New Orleans, Cuban sandwich in Miami, wedgie in Weschester County, N. Y. and slame in Berkeley. Norristown is the only place it is referred to as a zeppelin, and Madison the only place one finds it as a garibaldi.

Google Books
Mouth Wide Open:
A cook and his appetite

By John THorner with Matt lewis Thorne
New York, NY: North Point Press
2007
Pg. 143:
But, wherever my wanderings woul take me, I always made sure that there was enough time to get to 71 India Street—Amato’s—home of the “original” Italian sandwich.

I put “original” in quotes because it’s the sort of claim that, under scrutiny, becomes as insubstantial as mist. What can be said with confidence is that at the turn of the last century Giovanni Amato opened a bakery and had the idea to sell his bread from a pushcart to fellow italian immigrants laying stones and working on the Portland docks. Sometimes the workers wanted cheese, so he started bringing cheese. Then they asked for salami. It was only a matter of time before he put (Pg. 144 --ed.) it all together, layering on top of the meat and cheese an assortment of vegetables. he sold the resulting extravaganza, dressed with salt, pepper, and salad oil, for what has always been a very reasonable price.
25c

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Monday, August 17, 2009 • Permalink