If you’re vacationing in Maine, consider a stop in Portland, Maine's largest city. I suggest you treat your family to Italian sandwiches from one of these great sandwich shops, head up to the Eastern Promenade, watch the sunset, and enjoy a Portland, Maine, original.
Alternatively, you might choose to drive over to Portland Head Lighthouse and eat your Italians while listening to the waves crash on the rocks. It can be quite relaxing and mesmerizing.
What to do around Portland, Maine
You must visit Cape Elizabeth and go to Portland Head Lighthouse when you're in Portland. It is one of the most picturesque of Maine’s
It seems like it should be in Portland by its name, but it’s not. It’s at Fort Williams Park, just a five-mile drive south on Route #77. It was built when George Washington was the POTUS, so it’s old and eerie but well worth a visit. If you’re looking for spooky, check out these Maine haunted houses and lighthouses.
Portland Maine Tour 4K HD
What is an Italian sandwich?
The Portland Italian sandwich is what many others call a submarine, torpedo, hero, grinder, Po’boy, or hoagie, depending on where you come from in the US. The Italian comes with American cheese, ham, prosciutto, ripe black olives, sour pickles, lettuce, and tomato on a foot-long sub roll.
Amato’s Italian sandwich & its history
According to legend, Giovanni Amato started selling his “fresh-baked” bread and rolls to the fishermen and other workers coming off the docks in Portland, Maine. This was sometime around the turn of the century. Different sources quote 1902 and 1903.
He soon got the idea to add meat and cheese to his fresh bread and a few choice vegetables, onions, green peppers, ripe olives, and olive oil; soon, it would become known as the “Italian” sandwich.
No one’s sure when Amato’s and other stores around Portland added the crisp, sour Dill pickle slices, but it was a fantastic inspiration. Today, Amato’s is perhaps the best-known Italian. The Amato family operates as many as 44 stores around New England, so stop by and pick up an original Italian.
Amato’s is at 71 India Street, call 773-1682, but they have nearly 50 locations around New England.
Be forewarned, Mainers do not put lettuce and tomato on their Italians, and they'll give you the Moody-eye if you do.
Anania’s Italian sandwich & Whoopie Pie
Anania’s has won the Best Deli award for 15 or 16 years every year. I think even they have lost count. But everyone around Portland knows that Anania’s is one of the best places to get an Italian sandwich.
While you’re there, grab a whoopie pie too. They have won the best whoopie pie award several times too.
Anania’s has two locations in Portland; one is 1227 Congress Street, call 774-8104, open Monday to Friday from 5 am to 8 pm and Sunday from 6 am to 8 pm. The 606 Washington Avenue store is open daily from 6 am to 8 pm; call 774-4639.
“Great food and service too and the only place I can sit and read coffee news.” — Denise Wilcox.
Anthony's Italian Kitchen
Anthony’s is a quaint, no-frills Italian eatery in the heart of Portland. You can get an original Maine Italian on an 8-inch roll for $9.35 or a 10-inch roll for $1.00 more. Make no mistake; this is a meal. It is served on a Piantedosi Italian roll with ham, cheese (American), onions, ripe olives, pickles, tomatoes, green pepper, olive oil, and salt & pepper.
If you prefer something different, try their eggplant parmesan sandwich. Wow!
Anthony’s Italian Kitchen is located at 151 Middle Street. Order online, stop by to pick it up, or use Doordash, UberEATS, etc. Open Monday to Friday from 11 am to 8 pm, Friday and Saturday from 11 am to 9 pm, but closed Sunday. Call 774-8104.
“I had the eggplant parm sandwich. It was a huge portion, and everything is homemade. The texture and flavors are making me hungry thinking about them again!” — Noah Schij.
Anthony's Italian Kitchen is a recipient of The Barstool Fund
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About the author.
Stephen Dalton is a native of Old Town, ME, and a retired US Army First Sergeant with a degree in journalism from the University of Maryland. He is a Certified US English Chicago Manual of Style Editor. Top Writer in Travel, Food, Fiction, Transportation, VR, NFL, Design, Creativity, Short Story, and a NewsBreak Community Voice Pro.