Sub Shop Insights: How It All Began

Grinders, spuckies, or subs, no matter what you call them, we know that you love a good sandwich from your local sub shop. Alley Cat Pizza is proud to say that we have earned the title of best pizzeria and sub shop in Manchester. With that, we wanted to thank you and share the origin of how the sub came to be. 


The Creation

The creation of the sandwich is said to have emerged around the 1920s. However, they did not become how we know them today until 20 years later. Many history buffs claim that the sub was made and named in 1926 in Connecticut. Soldiers from a submarine base in Groton ate these sandwiches by the thousands and named them after the submarines in the naval yard because of their resemblance. 


What sub was the first?

Despite the creation and publication of the sub sandwiches, an Italian man named Giovanni Amato made the first “sub” in Portland, Maine. Amato began his work after immigrating from Italy to Maine in 1900. He made his living by selling bread rolls to his fellow workers on the docks. Per the request of the workers, he began adding slices of meat, cheese, and vegetables to the rolls. And, low and behold the first Italian sandwiches was crafted in 1903. It wasn’t until the early 1920s that Amato opened his first restaurant and began selling the subs by the thousands.


The different names of the sub. 

Along with the rest of the world, residents of New England like to use our own words for things that we use on a day-to-day basis. Of course, this does not exclude all of our names for the submarine sandwich. Here are some of the most popular names and where they may have come from. 


  • Connecticut and Rhode Island call them grinders. This was because they previously featured a hard Italian bread people would find themselves grinding their teeth trying to bite into.
  • In Greater Boston and Cape Cod, they lost the grinder and largely call it a sub. However, another term is unique to the Boston area, which is the “spukie.” Spukie comes from the Italian word spucadella, which further translates to “long roll.” What’s interesting about the word is that it is actually not found in most Italian dictionaries. This makes people guess that the term was from a regional dialect or even a Boston-Italian innovation.


Did we make you hungry yet?

For 25 years, Alley Cat Pizza has made some of Manchester’s best pizza and subs. In fact, it is so good that we have been voted “best of pizza in Manchester” for 18 years in a row! But we didn’t stop there. We are also your favorite sub shop in Manchester as well!


sub shop manchester


Don’t just take our word for it. Visit us at 486 Chestnut St in Manchester, NH, to see what all of the fuss is about.