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Best Culinary contribution (that isn’t seafood, blueberries, or potato vodka)

Italian Sandwiches


Picture yourself as a worker on Portland’s waterfront during the early 1900s, laying cobblestones or hauling fishing nets — you’re sweaty, you’re starving. Imagine that a young entrepreneur brought his food cart downtown, hawking freshly baked rolls to tide you over ’til dinner. Wouldn’t you, too, clamor for some substance to be stuffed into that bread? Wouldn’t you, too, be thrilled when young Giovanni Amato began cramming meat, cheese, and veggies into those soft rolls? And wouldn’t you, too, join the line that stretched down India Street after he opened his sandwich shop in the 1920s, and in doing so, help launch a regional specialty: the Italian Sandwich?

We owe gratitude both to Amato and to those dockside workers for their addition to the lunchtime landscape. Believe it or not, this precise amalgamation of salami, cheese, peppers, olives, and salt/pepper/oil on a soft, split-down-the-middle roll is not known outside of Maine — or at least, it’s not known as an Italian (maybe it’s a Hoagie, or a submarine sandwich, or a wedge). Get yours at Amato’s, where the legend began, or at any mom-and-pop store (we’ve enjoyed renditions from both Colucci’s and Anania’s).

Amatos | 71 India St, Portland | 207.773.1682 | 312 St. John St, Portland | 207.828.5978 | 1379 Washington Ave, Portland | 207.797.5514 | Other locations around Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York |

Colucci’s Hilltop Market | 135 Congress St, Portland | 207.774.2279

Anania’s | 1227 Congress St, Portland | 207.774.8104 | 202 Washington Ave, Portland | 207.774.4639 | 323 Broadway, South Portland | 207.347.7450 |

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