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Grinder Capital of the World?

gringer I live in Gales Ferry, about a mile from the back gate of the Naval Submarine Base in Groton, CT.  I moved to Connecticut from Pittsburgh in 1971 with my husband, a Navy Submarine Officer. New England is wicked different from Pittsburgh but that isn't all bad. I adapt pretty easily. I do miss the Chipped Ham, Snyder's Potato Chips (the one's in the silver bag), The Original Hot Dog, and being around other Pittsburgh Steeler fanatics.  Actually, I've found plenty of Pittsburgh Steeler fanatics here in Connecticut. 

There is one thing about living here I have never understood.  Why do they call those delectable sandwiches, "Grinders" here instead of subs?  We build submarines at Electric Boat in Groton and the subs are docked here at the base.  Much of our population has some working relationship with submarines.  

According to Wikipedia, there are several legends about the term "submarine sandwich" and is believed by some to have originated in a restaurant in Scollay Square in Boston at the beginning of World War II. The sandwich was created to entice the large numbers of navy servicemen stationed at the Charlestown Navy Yard. The bread was a smaller specially baked baguette, intended to be similar to the hull of the submarines it was named after.  But Wikipedia goes on:  During World War II, the sandwiches were served by the thousands to soldiers at the submarine base in Groton, Connecticut which cemented the legend that the sandwiches originated in Groton.

Yet, today, the citizen's of the Submarine Capital of the World, call them grinders.  Why?


Linda Harris

One of the pizza chefs over at Colonel Pizza told me this story. The sandwich shops outside of EB began making sandwiches on long rolls, and they became a lunchtime favorite of the men who worked as "grinders" at the shipyard. Soon, because the sandwiches had become so popular among them, the sandwiches themselves became known as "grinders".

Linda Harris

Here is a link that tells the same story.

"I was born and raised in New London, CT and the surrounding area. Sub sandwiches are always called Grinders in southeastern CT and parts of Rhode Island.

I have always heard the story behind the sandwich and the name as follows: A New London shop (perhaps Capaldos Market) made sandwiches and sold them from a cart at the entrance to the Electric Boat Shipyard in Groton (across the Thames River from New London) during WWII. The sandwiches were a favorite with the welders and grinders (the guys who grind the weld down smooth), and were usually called "Grinder's Sandwiches", later shortened to Grinders.


I came to Ct by way of the Navy from New York. We had similar sandwiches which we called "wedges" ? why. I have no idea. Subs, heroes, wedges they are delicious no matter what you call them.


I've heard the EB legend as the origination of the term "grinder", too. Since I have been a dependent of someone in the sub force as well as having many family members who have worked at EB, I go with this version. Proud to be from SE Connecticut!

Linda Davis

Thank you all! Cool information shared. Never heard of "wedges" or the origin of "grinders". Special thanks for the link!


IN the Philadelphia they are called hoagies, try to figure that one out!

Linda Davis

Pittsburgh often calls them hoagies too!


I heard they originated in New London for grinders at EB so that's why,I heard, they're called Grinders. I just spoke to my sister-in-law,from Bristol, Ct. they call them grinders up there,too!! Yeah!!

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