South Boston ‘Spukies’ Are the Best Sandwich You’ve Never Heard Of
You live in Massachusetts, so what's a "spukie?"
In South Boston, a spukie is as colloquial as what scallops are to New Bedford. Checking around the SouthCoast, not one soul could tell me what a spukie is. Our resident foodie, Tim Weisberg, never heard of them. Jason Kent, "The Movie Guy," drew a blank. The local pizza places I called were even clueless on this one.
A spukie, only native to Southie, is a delicious sub, as in grinder, hoagie, hero, or po' boy, but what separates a spukie from all the rest is that it must be made on a torpedo-shaped Italian roll with pointed ends, called spuccadella. Some spots spell it as "spuckie," but it's still made on the same bread.
I asked Amanda, who manages Sal's Ristorante & Pizzeria on L Street in South Boston, how to pronounce it. Is it spookies? She suppressed her amusement, telling me in her thick Southie accent, "We call them spuh-keez. It's a Southie thing, for shoe-wah."
The best seller at Sal's is the handmade Italian meatball spukie, with homemade sauce and fresh grated cheese.
"We've been doing a job with them for over 35 yee-ahs," she crowed, "And it's worth the trip up hee-yah from New Bedford."
Teddy, short for Theodora, whose father owns Spukies 'N Pizza on Washington Street in Dorchester, said, "Oh yeah, they call them spookies all the time. It's no big deal, but it lets us know who the newcomers are."
Teddy's family has owned and operated the busy eatery for over 25 years. There, too, the handmade meatball spukie is a favorite, with newbies and old-school regulars alike.
"The specially baked Italian spuccadella rolls make all the difference. The rest of the world has no idea," she said.
For all my years in the Bay State, this is the first time I ever heard the word. Spukies is "slanguage," familiar only to the local consiglieri and the seasoned Southies from way back, but to balance things off, I'm willing to bet most of them would make a mess of "quahog."