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National Hoagie Day in May

Updated on February 4, 2013

It All Began in Philadelphia

I was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and I can vouch for the popularity of the hoagie. It is second only to the Philadelphia cheese steak. Finding that National Hoagie Day, is named in honor of a sandwich that was developed and perfected in my hometown is an exciting discovery.

The hoagie is not a sandwich with specifically defined ingredients, but a variety of sandwiches that have several ingredients in common. It is a daunting task to discuss a food with so many possibilities. I could use the cliche that the hoagie contains everything except the kitchen sink and not be far off. What bread is used? What condiments? What vegetables and most important of all what meats?

If you have ever stood in a hoagie line, you will know exactly what I am talking about. The list of hoagies offered is long, varied and full of options. But don't despair, nobody makes a hoagie faster and more organized than a Philadelphia hoagie shop.

Hoagie Hut
Hoagie Hut


Offical Sandwich of Philadelphia

There are numerous opinions on the exact origins of National Hoagie Day, but all agree on May 5 as the day it is celebrated. Most holiday historians also agree that the hoagie was created by Italians living in Philadelphia.

One college professor, Domenic Vitello, thinks the hoagie made its debut during World War I at Philadelphia's Hog Island shipyard. Hence, its original name Hog Island sandwich, from which the term hoagie developed. Perhaps, perhaps not.

There is a different take by the well-known Philadelphia Almanac, a publication that knows all and sees all. The Almanac indicates the development of the hoagie began in the early twentieth century with street vendors known as hokey-pokey men. These hokey vendors appear to have gotten the idea from late nineteenth century bakeries who created a sandwich known as the pinafore based on the operetta H.M.S. Pinafore.

The hokey-pokey vendors, budding entepreneurs that they were, cut the original long loaf in half, filled it with the antipasto salad that they had been selling and the first hoagie was born.

Although several other speculations on the origins of the hoagie are floating around they are much less plausible.

Hoagie Ingredients
Hoagie Ingredients

What is in a Hoagie

Hard to Say Exactly

Hoagies can have a variety of ingredients, but most people think of a hoagie as having lunchmeat and cheese on half of a long baguette-style bread. There are different versions depending on whether you want an American or an Italian style hoagie.

The American-style hoagie usually contains bologna, ham, salami and, of course, American Cheese, while the Italian-style does not use bologna, but instead a spicy Capicola ham, salami and a mild white cheese. None of these ingredients are absolute. Hoagies, Italian, American or otherwise often vary their meats and cheese.

Sometimes the hoagie roll is scooped out inside to make more room for the meats, cheese and condiments.

Hoagie Condiments
Hoagie Condiments


The Hoagie Maker

The condiments are really what makes a lunchmeat sandwich a hoagie. These are the condiments in a hoagie:

Oodles of shredded lettuce, none of it wilted.

Thinly sliced onlons, the kind you can see through.

Bell peppers, red and/or green.

Greek banana peppers, a must have.

Tomatoes, fresh and firm never soggy.

A hoagie is not complete unless it is dressed with oil and vinegar or an oil-based Italian dressing.

Hoagies never leave a traditional hoagie shop without being tenderly wrapped in butcher paper, so they can be carried without losing any of their ingredients.

Hoagie by Any Other Name is Still a Hoagie

Zepellin or Zep





Italian Sandwich

Po' Boy

Poor Boy




Poll For Hoagie Lovers - Choose One

What Type of Hoagie Have You Eaten Most Recently

See results

Are you a Hoagie Fan

Do You Eat Hoagies by an Name

Comments Welcome - Tell Me About Your Hoagie Experiences

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    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I still remember my first hoagie. Heaven. Great lens

    • profile image

      soaringsis 5 years ago

      I Lived and attended Elementary school in Philadelphia. Hoagie stands were on every other corner. I don,t recall all the fixings, just thinly sliced steak and onions, but I loved it. Living in upstate NY, I had an Italian Hero about every other week, Oh, so good.

    • senditondown profile image

      Senditondown 5 years ago from US

      Born and raise in Southern NJ. You can't beat the "subs" in the Delaware Valley.

    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      Mmm... hoagies. One of my favorites. Great lens! :)

    • KandDMarketing profile image

      KandDMarketing 5 years ago

      I grew up in Rochester, NY. There is a large Italian population thee, so I grew up eating things like hoagies and pasta and great sauces!

    • MJsConsignments profile image

      Michelle 5 years ago from Central Ohio, USA

      I grew up about 40 miles north of Pittsburgh. They're popular and common on that end of the state too. When I was a girl, a social group I was a member of had quarterly hoagie sales as fundraisers. They were always a hit.

    • Steph Tietjen profile image

      Stephanie Tietjen 5 years ago from Albuquerque, New Mexico

      Philadelphia is a great town if hoagies and cheesesteak both came from there! I'd love to visit and have a sandwich!

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 5 years ago from United States

      Oh, I love hoagies. Pretty cool that there is a national holiday, but everyday is a hoagie day for me :)

    • profile image

      SteveKaye 5 years ago

      Me too, as in Subway is as close as I come to eating a Hoagie. Thank you for publishing this lens. I enjoyed reading about these great sandwiches. Yum.

    • KateHonebrink profile image

      KateHonebrink 5 years ago

      Sadly, Subway is the closest I get to a 'hoagie experience'. That's pretty sad, isn't it? Congrats on being featured on the May Silly Celebrations monsterboard!

    • Elyn MacInnis profile image

      Elyn MacInnis 5 years ago from Shanghai, China

      We had hoagies in NYC where I grew up. But as a kid, I always just liked a plain cheese sandwich on bread with mayo. So I guess I wasn't the hoagie type! They are delicious - full of flavors.

    • KandH profile image

      KandH 5 years ago

      Yummy, thanks for sharing!

    • gatornic15 profile image

      gatornic15 5 years ago

      I love I'm hungry!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      The all time best hoagies came from the Original Lee's Hoagies at 19th and Cheltenham in Philly. I know people will argue that but...I could go for an Imprial right about now. Very cool lens.

    • profile image

      gradientcat 5 years ago

      Makes me hungry for a sandwich.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Happy belated Hoagie Day....but any day is a good day to have a hoagie. I didn't know all the specifics....definitely the lettuce cannot be wilted and those banana peppers made my mouth twitch!

    • MarilynThompson profile image

      Marilyn Thompson 5 years ago from Washington State

      Hungry for a Hoagie!