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Video: How to Make an Authentic Maine Italian Sandwich

Amato's owner Dominic Reali, taking a bite of his company's signature sandwich.

In the thick of Vacationland’s summer season, many of us plan to spend some serious time sitting outside our local sandwich shops, enjoying the sun while eating an Italian sandwich.

For people in most of the country, an Italian sandwich is a crusty sub roll with an array of Italian meats and veggies. It varies.

But in Maine, the Italian is something different — something special. It has changed somewhat since its invention in the early 20th century, but the thing that really makes the Maine Italian unique is the bread, which is soft and squishy, like a hot dog bun.

It’s generally acknowledged to have been originally sold by Giovanni Amato, founder of the Portland-based Amato’s sandwich chain, who sold bread to workers in the area the Portland docks. So we asked the current owner of Amato’s, Dominic Reali, to show us how he makes an Italian.

Do you have a burning question about something Maine-y that you’ve been dying to have answered? If so, use this form to ask your question — or email nflaherty@mpbn.net.

Nora is originally from the Boston area but has lived in Chicago, Michigan, New York City and at the northern tip of New York state. Nora began working in public radio at Michigan Radio in Ann Arbor and has been an on-air host, a reporter, a digital editor, a producer, and, when they let her, played records.