Page 17 - WCM-2021-Summer-Flip
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Where It All Began
This legendary sandwich was invented by Italian im- migrant Giovanni Amato in 1900, when he was sell- ing long buns from a cart on the docks in Portland, Maine. According to various sources, he was asked to slice the buns lengthwise and add meat, cheese, and vegetables to make a portable and hearty meal for dockworkers. He added ham or salami to his freshly- baked rolls, along with American cheese, diced onion (not sliced), slices of green pepper and tomato (not diced), thick slices of sour pickles, and Greek olives, and topped it off with salt, pepper and oil (SPO). The result is fresh, soft, crunchy, creamy, salty and tart,
all in every appetite-satisfying mouthful. And it’s all conveniently rolled up in a sheet of waxed paper that serves as a plate or hand-held wrapper.
In the beginning, the sandwiches got the name Italians because of who was making and eating them around the waterfront. With the 25-cent meal-on- the-go exploding in popularity, Giovanni and his wife Michelina opened a shop on India Street in Portland in 1902. The shop remained in the family for decades until another Italian immigrant and former employee, Dominic Reali, bought the business in 1972. Domi- nic added Kalamata olives, zestier pickles, and a mix of oils to the traditional recipe. By the late 1970s, you could find Italians all over the state. As popularity
soared, Dominic turned the business into a franchise, which has grown to more than 40 locations, and all still make those original recipes.
A Chip Off the Old Block
Amato’s on Fair Street in Norway is a franchise location that originally opened in 1998. It’s the only location to sport a gas station, and in summertime, picnic tables make it a perfect stop for travelers and workers alike. April Evans and Matt York have owned this franchise for two and a half years, and during that time April says she has made thousands of Italian sandwiches. In the summer, they roll up hundreds of subs per day. Not all are Italians, but most are. Watch- ing her daughter Morgan Letourneau make mine, it’s obvious she could perform her wizardry blind folded, and faster than most people tie their shoes.
Amato’s makes the Original Real Italians the tradi- tional way, including the order of the ingredients.
It all starts with rolls baked fresh in Norway every morning. While Amato’s keeps their recipes consis- tent with the originals, they are always happy to make any changes to make the “perfect Italian for you.” For some people, Morgan says that that means mush- rooms, feta cheese, or spinach, and for some coming from other states, it means changing the cheese, or adding lettuce and topping it off with Italian salad
No time to wait for a made-to-order Italian? No problem! The grab-n-go cooler at Fotter’s Market & Hardware in Eustis is always stocked.

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