Spuckie

Sometimes, spukie. What some Bostonians still call a sub or hero (there's even a sub shop in Dorchester called Spukies 'n Pizza). Some people refuse to believe it's real, but it must be, because the Middlesex News wrote about it in 1993. From spucadella, a type of Italian sandwich roll you can still buy at some of the bakeries in the North End and Somerville.

David Keene reports: " 'Spuckie' is indeed a Boston word. It is not used much anymore, the older Italians used it. Growing up in Chelsea we alway bought 'spuckies' at Gallo's market. My wife bought spuckies at the Italian stores in Eastie when she was a kid. The word is not used much anymore, because there are so few of us that know what it means." Richard Karasik, meanwhile, recalls that "Santarpio's pizza parlor (in Eastie) was the center of spuckie heaven."

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Comments

re: Spuckie

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Spuckies threw me the first time my Roxbury wife asked me to pick up some spuckies at the local store. I was too embarrassed to ask the guy where he kept his spuckies...Frappe was wicked natural, but she also mentioned something called Orange Jade, some kind of tonic.

re: Spuckie

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The word "spuckie" originated in South Boston down at the STATUES in the Old Harbor Housing Project. These sandwiches were sold at John's Spuckie Joint on Old Colony Ave. John sold 16 oz. bottles of Orange Ade ( Nehi Orange Cola ) and 16 oz. bottles of RC Cola.

re: Spuckie

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Hi, I remember spuckies too, but for some reason, I associated them with the North End of Boston. (Italian neighborhood.)And in Rhode Island a GRINDER, aka GRINDA, is the same as a hero, or spuckie, or sub sandwich. I have no idea how it got it's name. Also, do you know that a CABINET, in Rhode Island, is the equivalent of a frappe in Boston, or a milkshake in much of the rest of the US. (In Boston, a frappe(pronounced frap, not frap-pay) included ice cream, a milkshake was just milk and a flavoring agent, like coffee syrup.)(By the way, I believe that Rhode Island is the biggest consumer of coffee syrups, like Eclipse. I beleive there were/are a couple of other brands too....?Zarex, or was that just fruit syrups?)

re: Spuckie

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I grew up in South Boston and only knew "subs" as spuckies. We moved to California in the early 70's and that's the last I heard of the word. Took me a while to figure out what Sub were.After reading these posts and the 1993 article I can show my wife I am not crazy or laying on the Irish Blarney...

re: Spuckie

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I grew up in SE Mass (part Boston, part RI). The only coffee syrup I officially recognize is Autocrat. When people grow up here, move elsewhere and come back to visit, Autocrat is the stuff they buy to take back home with them.They also pick up some Portuguese sweet bread, Fall River chow mein and maybe some chourico (shur-eesh) or linguica.All I knew were grinders until I moved out of the area.

re: Spuckie

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Sal's in Codman Sq.and Joey's at Ashmont Station made the best Spukies in Dorchester.

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re: Spuckie

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Back in the seventies, I worked in a warehouse in South Boston. We used to take our breaks in fast paced little neighborhood diner where the orders were announced to the kitchen via microphone. This is where I first heard the term "spuckie." In the jargon of this establishment, they would also indicate "rhe new way" or "the old way" as in "Ham and Cheese Spuckie, the old way!" I'm not sure, but I think one meant with oil, while the other meant with mayo. They also frequenty, hollared "Make it!" as kind of a shorthand for make it two.While growing up in the Berkshires, we always called them grinders or submarine sandwiches never spuckies.

re: Spuckie

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Used to get spuckies at Santoro's bakery in East Cambridge. They were excellent for italian sausage with peppers and onions, linguica hot off the grill or your favorite coldcuts.

re: Spuckie

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My mom and aunt (ahnt) always talk fondly about spuckies from their childhood. They grew up in East Boston (they were the only non-Italians in the neighborhood) on Brooks Street. They say the spuckies are the bread that you make a grinder on, not the sandwich itself. According to them, they were the best rolls eva!

re: Spuckie

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I grew up in Eastie - what Jessica says is correct. Spuckies are technically the bread and not the whole sub (in Eastie no one ever used the word grinder). But at some places you could get the bread along with some cold cuts inside.We used to buy our spuckies at the cornah stoah and make sandwiches at home with mortadella, ham, salami, provolone and some hot gabbigol.Delicious. Jeez, I'm so happy there are some other people on earth who still know what a spucky is.

re: Spuckie

I'm with Jessica and Matt: in our Medfid house, spuckies were the roll. A really good roll -- a little smaller than a full-sized sub roll. We were Irish, but we'd get them at the Italian deli.So you'd get a sub on a spucky roll. As opposed to a sub roll, or a bulkie roll.

re: Spuckie

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I just had this conversation with my husband about how growing up in Dorchester, we'd call a sub, a spuckie - he grew up in Somerville and said the word didn't exist! I googled and found this site! Thank you! I am not crazy! We always would get "spuckies" (subs) at Ted's Variety end of Rockwell St. in Dorchester. Throughout the 1960's and early 70's. 35 cents for an American and 45 cents for an italian. Oh the good ole' days!!!

re: Spuckie

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I agree with many others, I grew up in East Boston and originally "spuckie" was the roll...not the sandwich.The first time my italian grandfather had a taco, he commented "I like the taste, but the shell is a pain in the ass - why dont you just throw it on a spuckie?"The best Steak and Cheese Spuckie is still available in Eastie, at Sonny Notos in Central Square. Greasy, cheesy goodness.

Spuckie

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I grew up (til age 7) in East Boston, at 97 Chelsea street, down the block from Santarpio's Pizza. We were the other non-Italians in the neighborhood. Do they remember East Boston Slush for a nickel, made in basements? Pickles at the corner five and dime, for 5 cents? (near the Dante Aligheri school) Or the vegetable man who's horse pulled the cart? Or the spring ritual of cleaning out the sewers? All that reminds me of old black and white movies from the 30's and 40's, even though I was there in the 50's. We lived next door to "Auntie Ginny"....my mom's best friend...but I cant remember their last name. Thanks for the memories.

Spuckies

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My Grandfather grew up near Blue Hill Avenue in Mattapan, and for his whole life would ask for Spuckies, long after the term was greeted with confused looks in the Suburbs. I am glad to know that the term was real and once in common use, and he was not crazy.

I had thought Spuckie was a Yiddish term- and am surprised to learn it was Italian - Boston.

Spuckies

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There were MANY non-Italians in East Boston. It was, at one time Irish were the majority (coming there to escape the potato famine in the 1850's and 1860's)followed by the Jews around 1885 and the Italians started settling there in the early 1900's...right around 1905-1910. Many Irish families still left in East Boston in the 1960's & 1970's when I lived there and there were a mixture of Greeks and Portuguese there, too. Italians became the majority, but it wasn't anything like a 90% majority.

Spuckie

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I would have to agree with Joe M....... Dirty John's is what i called the sub joint. There was only one thing i would never get there and thats the Tuna. It was a Fly Condo in that bucket!!!! But damn the had good steak and cheese... CHEAP TOO !!!!!!!

Spuckies in Southie at John's

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Late to the discussion, but I remember going to John's in Southie to get my father sandwiches. It was the first sub shop in the area. I believe the name was "John's Original Submarine Sandwiches", and everyone did refer to the store as "Dirty John's". It was near the Stop and Shop, across from the Old Colony project and library, and down the street from St. Monica's Church. The prices were great then -- fifty cents for a sandwich. My dad would write it down for me. He wanted a junior regular (Italian cold cuts) with POPS (Pickles, Onions, Salt, and Pepper). They did not use mustard and mayo on the Italian spuckies; they used oil. I still love the basic Italian cold cuts in my "spuckies", although no one in California would know what I was talking about if I used that term.

Spuckies

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Hey there. I'm a Californian, born and raised and I know what a spuckie is. Grew up in L.A. (Eagle Rock) across the street from an Italian family from Boston. I'm a Mexican girl who grew up eating spuckies and Sunday gravy as often as I could get myself invited to stay and eat. What a great memory!

Spuckies

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I grew up right behind Dirty John's on Jenkins St. We called it Charlie's when I was real young after a guy named Charlie who worked there. They were definitely spuckies to us not subs. They had great meatballs! I never even heard or hoagies or grinders back then. I remember the Nehi tonic too and Royal Crown Cola. Orange jade we called the orange flavor. We used to go in there and ask for "ends" which were the bits of the french bread they would slice off the end of the big rolls. They threw them under the back counter in a cardboard box. All the neighborhood kids would go in and ask for them all the time. And don't forget the giant wooden barrels of pickles they had there. Cost a nickel either dill or sour for a whole pickle. Next door was a store that was originally Old Colony Donuts when I was real young. It then became "Piece O Pizza". That was the third store in a chain that grew into Papa Gino's. I know this because my mother's family owned that building. My grandfather was a mason and he actually built both of these buildings out of cinder block way back when. Across the corner of Jenkins St was a Esso gas station that became Exxon,that eventually closed and became a liquor store Old Colony Liquors. This is the infamous "Whitey Bulgers liquor store". The family he extorted it from lived across from us. Next to that there was another sub shop Phil's Take Out They had good pizza but I always liked John's better for spuckies.. And next to that on the corner of Old Colony Av. and Preble St going way back
was a grocery store. I think it was one of the original Stop and Shops,or maybe a Elm Farm,I am not sure any more it was so long ago. There is a restaurant in there now I think.

Spuckies

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When i was a lad, we would get our spuckies at 4-finger Frank's at M & 2nd Streets. Then after he spent a short time in jail, for selling stolen goods, he reopened at H & 6th. It was said he lost a finger slicing meat. We would go in and ask for a large bologna and cheese with everything but fingers. He'd chase us out of the store with a knife in his hand. It was all in good fun and he always let us back in the next day. Those were the days, my friends.

Spuckies

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I have fond memories of 4 finger Frank as well. We used to save up so we could get a meatball or pepper and egg and eat them in the M St Park. My Dad played softball every Sat w/da guys and us kids watched the game and ate our Spuckies w/ orange jade. Great memories, glad I found this site. Thanks all

spuckie

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how about the term american chop suey,(MACCARONI/WITH SAUCE AND HAMBURG) i moved up to burlington, vt and they someone asked me if i wanted goulash i said what the He** is that (Macaroni/with sauce and hamburg)goulash sounds aweful to me dontcha think???

spuckie

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I grew up in Winthrop--dad from Chelsea and mom from Lawrence-- what we know of today as an italian sub was always a spuckie to him, and goulash was my mom's name for American chopped suey--macaroni, tomatoes, and hamburger. Funny how so many things are regional...

Spuckies

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I grew up in City Point, South Boston in the 1950s. We bought spuckies at a grocery store at the corner of M and third streets. As I recall, they cost 35 cents. That was the only store I can remember that offered spuckies in all of City Point.

Southy

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any chance you remember the hot dog stand across from the Brownies Bath House? We used to call it K st beach.

Spuckies

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Joe's Spuckie Shop at corner of M and Second - back in the fifties was only 20 cents for a small tuna. Mobbed at lunchtime with Edison people and others who worked nearby.

South End

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My dad used to take me to the South End in the 70's and get spukies and the small green-tinted Coke bottles.

Wonder why we, as Bostonians, stopped calling them that.

spuckies

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I grew up in East Cambridge, I can remeber my Ma would send me to Santoro's bakery on Cambridge St. to pick up a dozen spuckies, but they were the rolls not a sandwich.

spuckies

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growing up[ in the 60s and 70s my nana used to call them spuckie roll now i tell my ten year old about spuckie rolls and he just laughs they were the best THANKS NANA

Spukies

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As a teen in Roxbury, my lunches most times if I had the money was a spukie sold only in Italian markets. Most all delis and markets called it subs, or hoagies, or torpedoes. In the 40s the bread was a round loaf on Italian bread sliced. With 3 meats,and cheese letters and tomatoes. WOW can taste it now. I wish they had them here in CA. I can even find the bread.

Just had this conversation

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Just had this conversation with old timers from East Boston who didn't know it was from spucadella (bread) as stated in prior reply. Had just had conversation with sister about the words disappearance.

We grew up in the West End and Beacon Hill and went to school in Southie with lots of kids from Dorchester. Technically, it may only have been the name of the bread, but we knew the sandwich as a spuckie and nothing else.

Spuckie was the roll on which subs were made

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I have to agree with the many who have already posted "Spuckies" are the rolls from which the sub sandwich is made.

As I remember the Boston style sub on a spuckie included; cheese, cold-cuts, chopped tomatoes, chopped onions, chopped pickles, oil and vinegar and seasoning. The Spuckie was not cut completely through (it was cut more like a pocket which housed the meats and toppings)

Spuckies

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My Dad was born in Eastie. He called subs "spuckies." I was born there too, and the neighborhood was very Italian at the time. I don't remember anyone but my Dad saying the word though.