National Eat A Hoagie Day, September 14th, #NationalHoagieDay.
But where did the word Hoagie originated?
The site of the Philadelphia Navy Yard was once known as Hog Island (the creek that created the island has since been filled in and the area is now the Philadelphia International Airport). Many Italian immigrant workers brought sandwiches overflowing with cold cuts, spices, oil, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and peppers stuffed into a freshly baked roll to eat for lunch during their shifts making ships for the American Navy. The workers were nicknamed hoggies and the name eventually morphed into hoagie over time. Another variation of this story avers there was a worker at the shipyard named Hogan who asked one of his fellow workers if he could buy one of the delicious sandwiches that the worker’s wife made. The man’s name Hogan got attached to the name of the sandwich and eventually evolved into hoagie over the years.
If there was a way to patent food, everything would have been OK,” “But you can’t, so you’re fighting that battle all the time. “But can you prove you started before 1925?”
he added, referring to a photograph on the wall of the shop.
That was the year DiCostanza’s grandfather Augustine and grandmother Catherine opened A. DiCostanza’s grocery store at 1212 W. Third St. in Chester and served the clientele of gamblers and nighttime habitues of Palermo’s bar. The store remained in Chester for 71 years before relocating in December 1996 to Boothwyn.
But notoriety hasn’t spread much beyond the Delaware County border – perhaps, DiCostanza suggested, because nobody wants to think that a sandwich so connected to Philadelphia actually had its beginnings in Chester. Or did it?
So where does DiCostanza’s fit in? According to family lore, the store stayed open well past midnight, which was much appreciated by the gamblers who inhabited Palermo’s bar on the same street in the roaring ’20s.
Well, I love Hoagies. You can make them fresh but you must have the right rolls, and good lunch meat. They are not subs, heroes or any other imitator. They are hoagies. But, I never knew how to properly make a travel hoagie.