In Tacony we know great hoagies. We’ve got three of the best hoagie shops in Philadelphia, and we invite you to journey along the Hoagie Trail to sample the best.
Hoagie Trail Map
Google Map available here
Getting to the Trail:
By Car: Take the Cottman Ave or Princeton Ave exits from I-95 to Torresdale Ave. Parking on Torresdale Avenue 50 cents/hour at parking meters. Bring change!
DeNofa’s Deli Located at 6946 Torresdale Ave DeNofa’s has been serving up great Hoagies since 1976. Try their Old World Italian Hoagie or any of their other great hoagies located on the “big board.” Check out their menu here which also includes Italian Specialties. Phone 215-333-5646
Attention: Denofa’s reopens August 6th!
Fink’s Hoagies The King of Gourmet Hoagies serves them up at 4633 Princeton Ave, less than a block off Torresdale Avenue. Winning Philly Hot List’s Best Sandwich Shop in both 2010 and 2011 Fink’s signature is their Original Italian. Check out their menu here and try the Torresdale, a Roast Pork hoagie that is a customer favorite. Phone 215-335-3839 (Fink’s uses the fabulous seeded French Loaf from the “finest bakery in the Kingdom” Liscio’s Bakery)
Jack’s Place Home of the “best hoagie in the free world” Jack’s outstanding hoagies are a Tacony favorite. Located at 7167 Hegerman St Jack’s serves up an outstanding Italian. Be sure to try their chicken hoagies, a customer favorite. A favorite of Philly Phoodie Jack’s is a must visit. Phone 215-624-5322 Menu available for Jack’s Place.
Featured Hoagie : Denofa’s Old World Italian
6946 Torresdale Ave
Phone : (215) 333-5646
Hours : Sun. and Mon. (closed)
Tues.- Fri. 8 am – 5:30pm
Sat. 8 am – 5pm
Featured Hoagie: Fink’s Torresdale Roast Pork
4633 Princeton Ave
Phone : (215) 335-2828
Hours : Wed.-Fri. 10 am – 6pm
Sat. 10 am – 5pm
Sun. 10 am – 5pm (during football season)
Featured Hoagie: The Downtowner
7176 Hegerman St
Phone : (215) 624-5322
Hours : Sun and Mon. (closed)
Tues. – Fri. 10 am – 6pm
Sat. 10 am – 4pm
Reviews from the Media
Check out this in depth review from the Philadelphia Daily News.
Enjoy this review (complete with photos) from PlanPhilly’s Flavorhoods.
Hoagie History, Legend & Lore†
Accounts of the hoagie’s origin vary greatly, and scholars are still debating exactly where and when the sandwich was conceived. Here’s a look at some of the colorful competing stories that continue to circulate:
According to a 1967 article in American Speech, the word “hoagie” was first used in the late 19th or early 20th century among the Italian community in South Philadelphia. In those days, “On the hoke” was a slang term for a poor person. Deli owners would give away meat and cheese scraps on a long roll called a “hokie,” but Italian immigrants pronounced it “hoagie.”
The Philadelphia Almanac and Citizen’s Manual tells of late 19th-century street vendors named “hokey-pokey men,” who sold antipasto salad, meats and cookies. When Gilbert and Sullivan’s opera Pinafore opened in Philadelphia in 1879, bakeries produced a long loaf called the pinafore, and the enterprising hokey-pokey men sliced it in half, filled it with antipasto and sold it as a “hokey,” a name that evolved into “hoagie.”
Late Night Hoagie
In 1925, a Chester couple opened the A. DiCostanza grocery store, which stayed open past midnight to accommodate gamblers from the nearby Palermo’s bar. One night, a hungry card player walked to the back of the store when Catherine DiCostanza was cooking peppers and asked if she would make him a sandwich. She asked what kind of meat he wanted and he waved to the deli counter, and said, “Put everything you have in the case in it.” She took a loaf of Vienna bread and sliced it open and stuffed it. He asked her to put some of her peppers in, too. He left, and an hour later, the place was full of hungry gamblers asking for the same kind of sandwich, which would later be known as the hoagie.
Italian immigrants working on the Hog Island shipyard during World War I (1914-1918) would bring giant sandwiches filled with cold cuts, spices and vegetables for their lunches. The workers were nicknamed “hoggies,” and over time, the name, with a different spelling, came to be attached to the sandwiches.
In another version, Italian workers at Hog Island brought these same type of sandwiches to lunch, and an Irish worker looked enviously at his Italian friend and offered to buy one if his wife would make two. The Italian man went home and said, “Tomorrow, make two sandwiches, one for me and one for Hogan.” Thereafter, everyone started to call the sandwiches “Hogans,” later shortened to hoagie.
King of the Hoggies
During the Depression (1929-1939), an unemployed Philadelphian named Al DePalma went to Hog Island to find work on the shipyard. When he saw workers on their lunch breaks eating giant sandwiches, his first thought was “Those fellas look like a bunch of hogs.” Instead of applying for a job, he decided to open up his own luncheonette and listed the sandwiches on his menu as “hoggies.” During the late 1930s, DePalma joined forces with Buccelli’s Bakery and developed the perfect 8-inch roll. Later, during World War II, he turned the back room of the restaurant into a factory to supply sandwiches for the shipyard workers, thus earning him the nickname as “The King of the Hoggies.” Because customers kept calling them “hoagies,” he eventually changed the name.
† From visitphilly.com