Maine's Italian sandwich, sometimes referred to as the Maine Italian sandwich, is an American submarine sandwich in Italian-American cuisine prepared on a long bread roll or bun with meats, cheese and various vegetables. The Maine Italian sandwich was supposedly invented in Portland, Maine.
In Maine, the traditional Italian sandwich is prepared using a long bread roll or bun with meats such as ham along with American or provolone cheese, tomato, onion, green bell pepper, Greek olives, olive oil or salad oil, salt and cracked black pepper. Ham is the default meat unless another is specified, so ordering a "Ham Italian" is considered redundant. The sandwich is often cut in half to make it easier to handle. The flavors and texture of the sandwich are unified by the ingredients used to create a gastronomic equilibrium, with the fats and acids in the ingredients serving to counterbalance one another.
Giovanni Amato, a grocer in Portland, Maine claims to have invented the "Italian sandwich". While selling his bread on his street cart, Amato received requests from dockworkers to slice his long bread rolls and add sliced meat, cheese and vegetables to them. Amato later opened a sandwich shop named Amato's, and today the sandwich continues to be prepared by Amato's sandwich shops. The Amato's version is traditionally prepared using fresh-baked bread, ham, American cheese, slices of tomato, onions, green pepper and sour pickle, Kalamata olives and salad oil.