Submarine, hero, grinder, Italian—whatever you called it in your hometown, a hoagie by any other name does taste as delicious. Technically the term hoagie comes out of the Philadelphia area, but versions of the sandwich crop up all over the country and they all boast similar ingredients: Italian meats like salami, pepperoni and mortadella are layered with provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato and onion, all sprinkled with salt, pepper and olive oil. If you're in Philly, all those ingredients are packed into an Amoroso roll; around here, a simple Italian roll usually serves as a stand in.
Here are our favorite hoagies outside of the city of brotherly love:
- To get what our Philly ex-pat intern refers to as "authentic NYC subs" (note he won't call it a hoagie outside of PA!), head out to Defonte's of Brooklyn in Red Hook. The Nicky Special ($10.50) is as close to the hoagie as you'll get this side of the Hudson. Sure, it has some extra elements like fried eggplant and marinated mushrooms, but the Defonte family stayed true to the Italian flavors as much as possible.
- Runner Up: Shorty's has been serving up authentic Philly Cheesesteaks out of their two storefronts and food truck, but their Italian Hoagie ($10) deserves some praise too. Just tell them to hold the mayo if that's not your style.
- Just because it's called a Hot Irishman's Hoagie doesn't mean this melty delight from Murphy's Tavern deserves any less respect. The requisite ham, salami and pepperoni are joined by mozzarella and coleslaw served piping hot on a hoagie bun. There are lots of Irish people in Philadelphia too, right?
- The Italian Special ($10) at Faicco's Italian Specialties comes packed to bursting with ham, capicola, sopressata and prosciutto with fresh, creamy mozzarella thrown in for good measure. Spice it up with some hot peppers and you've got yourself a hoagie of a good time.
- Finally, if you don't happen to eat meat or perhaps are traveling with finicky eaters, the selection at Mama Eatery in Little Italy has a hoagie for every palate. The Veggie Po Boy Hoagie swaps out flesh for grilled zucchini, eggplant, mushrooms and bell peppers with melted mozzarella and some marinara on a whole wheat hero. The restaurant also serves a Grilled Chicken Hoagie, a Turkey Artichoke Hoagie and the Japanese-inspired Katsu Chicken Hoagie with breaded chicken breast and a smokey chipotle mayo for some added heat. The restaurant also serves a Philly Cheesesteak if you simply cannot abide a sandwich that strays too far from its roots.
Meanwhile there are lots of other places to get your hoagie fill in town. Have a local hoagie that makes you drool? Leave it in the comments!