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 June 10, 2009
Rocket 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, Italian, jawbreaker, muffuletta, peacemaker (La Mediatrice), pilgrim, pistolette, po’ boy (poor boy), 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, or torpedo, 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.

10 February 1950, Brookshire (TX) Times, pg. 2, col. 3 ad:
DUE other interests will lease “The Rocker” 24-hour sandwich shop on Old Beaumont-Port Arthur highway. Ideal for family operation. Now operating.

23 November 1950, El Paso (TX) Herald-Post, pg. 22 ad:
Rocket Sandwich...25c
Ham, Salami, cheese, liverwurst, onion, tomato, lettuce. Served on delicious French rolls.
(Newberry’s—ed.)

29 December 1958, Hayward (CA) Daily Review, “New Pizza House Will Open Soon,” pg. 7, col. 1:
The Rocket Sandwich will be interesting, to say the least. This 11-inch long production starts with a small French loaf on which is piled different Italian meats, cheeses, etc. Everything imaginable goes in this meal-in-itself sandwich.

26 March 1960, Simpson’s Leader-Times (Kittanning, PA), pg. 4, col. 1 ad:
Introducing the new ITALIAN ROCKET SANDWICHES
(Latin American Club—ed.)

16 May 1962, Colorado Springs (CO) Gazette-Telegraph, pg. 19 ad:
ROCKET SANDWICH
JUMBO FRESH, INCLUDES SALAMI, BOLOGNA, LUNCH LOAF, AND AMERICAN CHEESE
EACH 39c
(King’s Saving Center—ed.)

29 January 1959, Troy (NY) Times Record, pg. 18, col. 5 ad:
ROCKET SANDWICHES 49c

29 August 1962, Argus (Fremont, CA), pg. 6, col. 5 ad:
ROCKET SANDWICHES
(House of Pizza—ed.)
(Marchese Pizzeria—ed.)

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.

27 April 1978, Christian Science Monitor, “Heroic as applied to a sandwich” by J. Lee Anderson, pg. 18:
The supersandwich, depending where in the country you happen to live, is variously known as Submarine, Torpedo. Hoagie, Poor Boy, Grinder, Rocket, Bomber, Zeppelin, and what may be most appropriate for this heroic-sized masterpiece, Hero.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Wednesday, June 10, 2009 • Permalink