Sandwiches are great. In fact, many would argue that a sandwich is the perfect meal. You can hold it in your hand and it’s got everything you need in it. They come in many forms, sandwiches, and one of our favorites here at Chelmsford Sub Shoppe is the sub sandwich.
But have you ever wondered why a sub is called a sub, or one of the many other names it goes by? Whether you call it a sub, grinder, hoagie, hero, or something else, it’s a sandwich with a fascinating and delicious history.
Here, we’re taking a closer look at one of the biggest debates around.
Grinder: It’s the Bread
Subs have been around since the beginning of the 20th century. Common in Italian-American communities, people first called them “grinders.” That name came from the bread used to make the sandwiches. You had to grind your teeth to get through the chewy Italian bread. People still use this name for the sandwich, especially in New England, and it’s common enough that most people will know what you’re talking about if you ask for a grinder. The more common name “sub” would take over during World War II.
It Looks Like a Submarine
New London, Connecticut, claims the title of sub capital of the world. Not to be confused with the Submarine Capital of
the World, a title that belongs to nearby Groton, CT, home to the Naval Submarine Base. During the Second World War,
sailors stationed on the submarines ate a lot of sub sandwiches, made by New London resident Benedetto Capaldo.
During the war, the submarine base commissary ordered nearly 500 subs a day. Benny had to hire four people to help
him keep up with all sandwich orders. When the sailors shipped out, they took their love of sub sandwiches with them.
They also took the new name with them. “Sub” had largely taken over from “grinder” because—you guessed it—it looks
like a submarine.