Life in the Ville by Jimmy Del Ponte
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Lots of onions? No hot stuff? Whatever you wanted you could get at one of the many sub shops that deliciously dotted the Ville.
By the way, I never heard anyone in Somerville ever use the word grinder or hoagie when talking about a submarine sandwich. It was a sub. You had just better made sure you had lots of napkins if you ordered extra oil.
One of my favorite stories is of my Somerville High School days when I would skip a class and bolt over to Nan’s Sub Shop across the street. When I came back reeking of onions I’d get bagged for hooking class. My friend Pat Scrima could never pop over to Nan’s during school because…Nan was his mom!
Angelina’s Sub Shop posed the same dilemma for me when I was at The Western Junior High School on Holland St. By the way, Angelina’s has kept their consistent high standards of quality for as long as I can remember. There’s nothing like a savory taste to bring back happy memories of the old days.
Nan’s Sub shop is no longer in business but it was quite the favorite hangout back in the day. It got me thinking about those yummy “sangwich” shops that we loved in our younger days.
Di Tuccis, across from The Highland Café (Virgie’s) had delicious subs as did Ma Magoos which was at Central and Highland. Bobby Di Tucci is running his rug and upholstery cleaning company and you can still see him around (if you drip your sub on your carpet, give Bobby a call!). If you look above the Crowley’s Liquor sign in Ball Square, you will see the Todi’s sign. Todi’s had delicious subs. His mother used to make the sauce and you could always expect some entertaining conversation from Todi. Ross Bluin used to make the biggest subs you have ever seen at McKinnons back in the 90’s. My dad used to call them bombers. There was enough meat in one of those subs to feed a family of four!
There was a sub shop called Leo’s that was also in Ball Square. Ma Magoos was across from Sunnyhurst Farms (which is also gone) at the corner of Central and Highland Ave. J and S was on Cross Street and White Sport was in Magoun Square on Medford St. (there was a White Sport in Union Square too I think). 3D’s was also in Magoun. Caputos was at the corner of School St and Somerville Ave. DiNittos was on Somerville Ave. near where Bradlees (Target) was. Minute Sub shop was at the corner of Broadway and Barton.
Do you remember Joe and Sal’s on Cross Street? Johnny’s on Thurston St. always gets mentioned when discussing subs. I’m pretty sure their famous “Johnny’s special” cost 50 cents. A shop called My Uncles was in Teele Square at one time. Karen’s Take Out was on the corner of Washington and Kirkland Street. They had a great meatball sub. Mike’s Sub Shop was on Highland Ave. and he also sold a lot of parade paraphernalia. Frank’s sub shop was at the corner of Claremon and Holland by The Western Jr High. The Italian Village was on Broadway and Belmont St. A sub shop called The Three Bells was at the corner of Mt Vernon and Washington and Ruth’s Deli was at the corner of Broadway and Temple. Do you remember these places?
A friend says he spent most of his allowance on subs on Wednesdays when St. Clement’s had an early release day. You could find him and his friends enjoying a sub at Todi’s in Ball Square.
And now for my favorite sub shop of all time. Bella Meos, which was located across from Powder House Park. It was the sub shop closest to my house, plus it was next to Louds Candy shop.
Leones, and Mama Lisa’s are still in Winter Hill, but Primo’s is gone (but not forgotten), as are most of the sub shops mentioned in this story. I still think of the old sub shops when I smell onions.