New London recently celebrated the Grinder Is King Festival at Waterfront Park. The event was a celebration of Italian heritage and food as well as New London's claim as the birthplace of the grinder. Granted, there are usually a lot of communities clamoring for the designation as a specific food's point of origin and the grinder is no different. But the sandwich still enjoys a strong presence here, and this brief documentary looks into its origin as a New London favorite.
This video was put together by Barbara Neff, the downtown development director; Murray Renshaw; the local company Flawless Visuals; Dauris Hernandez; and Andrew Camacho. Muddy Waters also gets a mention.
Fair warning: the interviews in the video are interspersed with shots of the construction of a couple of grinders, so this may get your stomach rumbling. It starts with a brief background of Benny Capalbo, recognized at the festival as the grinder's inventor, as well as the New York Fruit Market. Capalbo opened the store at 18 Shaw Street in 1914, four years after coming to the United States. Tony and Rosalie Ferrante bought the store in 1932, and it was a presence in the city until Tony's death in 1970.
Ferrante's daughter, Marie Aquiar, recalls that the market cranked out perhaps 1,000 grinders in a day to distribute to area military bases; Andy Ferrante says his father had a contract with the bases to keep them well-supplied. Other people interviewed include Michael Buscetto, Sr., who delivered milk to the market; Patrica Terriccano, whose family acquired Randy's Bakery and assumed the role of baking bread for the grinders; and Jerry Ginatti, Tony and Rosalie's nephew, who lived above the store and took a grinder to school every day.
"We wholeheartedly believe and know that that grinder started here in New London and it will probably go down in history as the first area to produce grinders for the community," Terriccano declares.
Where's your favorite place in New London to get a grinder? Let us know in the comments.