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Martin’s All-American Road Trip; Stop #1: Philadelphia, PA

May 4, 2015
4 min. read


Welcome to Philadelphia! This is the first stop on Martin’s All American Road Trip. The city of “Brotherly Love” was founded by William Penn in 1682 and is a natural first stop on our trip across the country. Philadelphia is home to many famous historical events in our country’s history including the signing of the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution. It was our nation’s first capital, the location of the First and Second Continental Congresses, home to Benjamin Franklin and the Liberty Bell.


Today, Philadelphia is still a bustling city, the fifth largest in the U.S., with plenty of attractive destinations – both food-centric and otherwise. Its food scene is almost as appreciable as its history, being the birthplace of both the traditional cheesesteak and “hoagie” sandwich.

The History of the Cheesesteak

The cheesesteak was invented in Philadelphia in 1930 by Pat Olivieri and has since grown into both a cultural obsession and a tourist draw. Olivieri started out as a hot dog vendor, who decided to mix up his offerings by adding sliced beef. Demand for his new sandwich spread and he eventually opened up his new shop, Pat’s King of Steaks, which is still open to this day. Eventually, cheese was added to the famous sandwich. Today, there are numerous restaurants all over the city with their own twists on the traditional cheesesteak.

Use this Philly Cheesesteak Guide to discover your favorite!

Hoagie, Sub, or Grinder?

May 5th is National Hoagie Day! But where did the term come from? Well, the term “hoagie” originated in Philly, but you may know this sandwich by one of its other names. Here are some of the most common names and their origin stories:

  • Sub: Short for “submarine” due to its shape, this type of sandwich usually consists of cold cuts, vegetables, spices, and seasonings, all served on a long Italian-style roll. The term most likely came from Italians immigrating to New York in the early 1900s.
  • Grinder – This term is most common in New England and its origin is somewhat contested. “Grinder” is often used to describe a sub sandwich that has been heated, though this is not always the case.
  • Hero – This term is popular in New York and also has a few varying origin stories. The most popular is that a newspaper columnist coined the term, saying the sandwich was so big, “you had to be a hero to eat it.”
  • Hoagie – This version of the sandwich was created in Philly and, like many of its counterparts, has a widely contested story. In one rendition, the name was attributed to the area of Philadelphia called “Hog Island,” where the Italian immigrant workers were called “hoggies.” Eventually the sandwiches were called the same name, and the spelling and pronunciation evolved to “hoagies.” Check out some of the other versions here and see which one you believe!
  • Po’Boy – Short for “Poor Boy,” this sandwich originated in New Orleans around the 1930s. Two brothers, Bennie and Clovis Martin, gave out these sandwiches to union members during a streetcar strike, exclaiming “here comes another poor boy.” Po’Boy sandwiches are often made with seafood like shrimp or oysters, and served on a French loaf or baguette.

These are just a few of the name variations for this type of sandwich. Which others have you heard? Connect with us on social media and let us know!

See the Sights

Looking for things to see and do while in the great city of Philadelphia? After you’re finished enjoying a delicious cheesesteak, you may want to check out some of the city’s great attractions! Since this city has deep roots in our country’s history, there are many famous historical sites worthy of a visit. You can take a trip to see Independence Hall, home of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution; Valley Forge Historical Park; the Liberty Bell; or any number of museums showcasing famous artifacts from our nation’s history. You can also visit a number of art museums, the famous “Rocky” steps, or the Philadelphia Zoo for some family-friendly ideas. For more details, visit

Featured Recipe

Here’s an awesome recipe from one of our favorite Philadelphians, Philly Food Girl! Check out her blog here:

Whizburger Wit on Martin’s Potato Rolls

By Philly Food Girl

“What’s more Philly than a cheesesteak? I present to you, the Whizburger Wit on Martin’s Potato Rolls Ground sirloin beef patties grilled and nestled into a buttered and griddled Martin’s Sandwich Roll, and piled high with fried onions tossed with Cheez Whiz, and sautéed mushrooms. This burger eats like a cheesesteak should, with that unmistakable marriage of beef, onions, and Whiz. I served with steak fries, ketchup, and a side of peppers.”

“Sit back, relax, close your eyes, and dive into this Philly cheeseburger that’s so reminiscent of a “Whiz Wit”, you’ll swear you can hear the Rocky theme pulsing through your head!”

Check out the full recipe here or on!



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