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Chicken Spiedie
Chicken spiedie sandwich
Place of origin United States
Region or state Binghamton, New York
Creator(s) Camillo Iacovelli, Agostino Iacovelli, Peter Sharak
Serving temperature Hot
Main ingredient(s) Cubes of marinated chicken, pork, lamb, veal, venison or beef

The spiedie /ˈspdi/ is a submarine sandwich local to Endicott,NY in the Southern Tier of New York State, and somewhat more broadly known and enjoyed throughout Central New York state.[1] A spiedie consists of cubes of chicken, pork, lamb, veal, venison or beef. The meat cubes are marinated overnight or longer (sometimes for as long as two weeks under a controlled environment) in a special marinade, then grilled on spits (if steel skewers are used, they are called "spiedie rods") over a charcoal pit.

The traditional method involves serving freshly prepared cubes of lamb, chicken, or beef on soft Italian bread, and occasionally drizzled with fresh marinade. However, it is common to find them served on a submarine roll, and chicken is now the meat of choice due to cost. The bread is used as an oven glove to grip the meat while the skewer is removed. Spiedie meat cubes can also be eaten straight off the skewer or can be served in salads, stir fries, and a number of other dishes. The marinade recipe varies, usually involving olive oil, vinegar, and a variety of Italian spices and fresh mint.

Spiedies have been celebrated at the Spiedie Fest and Balloon Rally in Binghamton, New York, every August, since 1983. The annual event includes a spiedie cook-off in search of the best spiedie recipes. The spiedie and the Spiedie Fest were featured on an episode of The Food Network's "Unwrapped".

Commercial marinades are available regionally and can be ordered from various internet websites for shipment throughout the world.


The term "spiedie" comes from the Italian spiedo meaning spit or spiedini referring to cubes or balls of meat cooked on a skewer. The regional dish in Abruzzo, Italy most closely resembling spiedie uses goat meat, lamb, chicken or beef on a skewer, and is known as spidducc'. Another regional dish from Sicily, zúzzu, consists of a gelatinous sausage made from the cartilage of pork and beef meat that is usually served cut into cubes.


The original idea for spiedie was brought by Italian immigrants to Upstate New York in the early 1920s. The specific origin of the spiedie is disputed. Traditionally the early Broome County spiedie was made only from spring lamb, but currently most commercial restaurants prepare spiedie using chicken or pork. The "chicken category" was added to the Spiedie Fest cook-off in 1987, and quickly became the most popular meat choice.

Origins (1939–1950)[edit]

Camillo Iacovelli created the spiedie in Endwell, N.Y., but his brother Agostino and Peter Sharak popularized spiedies, Augie in his Endicott, N.Y., restaurant, and Sharky's in Binghamton, N.Y. [2]

Augie began serving spiedie sandwiches in 1939 when he opened Augie's, his first restaurant. He emigrated from Abruzzo, Italy (Civitella Casanova) at the age of 25 in 1923. His son Guido continued in the spiedie business into the 1990s, owning as many as 26 restaurants at the peak of his career.[3]

Iacovelli's marinade, which he called Zuzu, originally was made simply from wine vinegar, water, lemon juice, garlic, and mint. Italian spices, olive oil, and minced onion were added later as regional tastes and the choice of meat began to vary.[3]

Sharak is also supposed to have invented spiedies. Apparently, patrons of Sharkey’s Bar and Grill were served lamb straight from the grill on its metal skewer with slices of bread. At the original Sharkey's on Glenwood Avenue the spiedies are preceded, accompanied, and followed by copious amounts of beer. Sharkey's promotes itself as the birthplace of the sandwich in television commercials across the greater Binghamton area.[4]

Though the issue is disputed, Sharkey’s began serving spiedies in 1947, which makes Iacovelli more likely to have invented the dish first.[citation needed]

Growth of Popularity (1950–1990)[edit]

Spiedies being grilled

Through the 1960s, and 1970s, spiedies also became popular with the families of deer hunters since venison has a strong game quality and is similar to lamb. Many local families made their own marinade and enjoyed the wild game as a delicacy of back yard grills.

In 1975, Rob Salamida became the first person to bottle the sauce and sell it. He began by cooking spiedies outside a local tavern at 16. After writing letters for over a year the New York State Fair allowed him to have his own booth at the Syracuse Fairgrounds.

For 12 years he built his reputation at the fair. After a tornado nearly struck his stand in 1975, he decided it would be more lucrative and safer to bottle a spiedie marinade. Today, Salamida's Original State Fair Spiedie Sauce is the highest selling spiedie marinade.[5]

Through the 1980s Danny "Moonbeam" (a local flat-track dirt motorcycle racing star) furthered the popularity of spiedies by selling them from porches of local bars at night in order to finance his motorcycle racing hobby. Lori Vesely featured spiedies straight off the grill at The Endwell Pub. Pork was especially good for long-grilling time making the bar-spiedie a favorite of both staff and customers.

In 1983 a few families got together and held a Spiedie Fest[6] that was a tremendous hit. Coupled with a Balloon Rally it quickly grew to an annual 100,000 person festival (and also one of the top balloon rallies in the country).

Availability in Upstate Region[edit]

One of the restaurants most famous for spiedies today, Lupo's Char-Pit, was established in 1967 by John, Sam, and Bart Lupo in Endwell, New York. Spiedies became a primary component of their menu in the 1980's.

There are many restaurants in the Southern Tier that specialize in spiedies: Lupo's Char Pit, Lupo's S&S Char Pit, Sharkey's Restaurant, and Spiedie and Rib Pit are some of the more well known. Spiedies are also featured by several vendors at the annual New York State Fair in Syracuse, New York.

Availability Outside of New York[edit]

  • Bada Bing Cheesesteaks & Spiedies - (Arlington, VA - DC Metro Area) - is a gourmet food truck that offers chicken and pork spiedies on a hoagie roll in six (6) different unique styles. Bada Bing is owned by Nicholas and Venus Terzella. - www.badabingdc.com
  • Spiedie Zone - (Atlanta, GA) - claims to be "Atlanta's one and only spiedie food truck" and lists 5 different flavors of spiedies available - all grilled on site. The owner is Dana Carney (Binghamton, NY native). - www.spiediezone.com
  • Dantanna's - Upscale Sports Restaurant - (Lenox Square Mall - Atlanta, GA) - listed the Spiedie Grill as a menu item in the past yet the current menu does not include spiedies. - www.dantannas.com
  • Angry Dog - (Deep Ellum - Dallas, TX) - serves spiedies in chicken and pork on a hoagie roll. The sandwich is listed as "The Texas version of a Binghamton, New York classic." - www.angrydog.com
  • Roma's Italian - (N. Harrison Ave - Cary, NC) - named after Jim Roma's Bakery in Endicott, NY and serves chicken and pork spiedies. They are also well known for carrying Lupo's Spiedie Marinade - available for purchase by the bottle.
  • Dilworth Neighborhood Grille - (S. Morehead St. - Charlotte, NC) - currently serves chicken and steak spiedies on an Italian hoagie roll. They also offer a 12" Chicken Spiedie pizza and a Buffalo Chicken Spiedie pizza. The spiedie is defined as "a dish local to Greater Binghamton and the Southern Tier" on their menu. Owner is an Endicott, NY native - www.dilworthgrille.com
  • Zio Casual Italian - (Middleton Dr. - Charlotte, NC) - serves a Shrimp & Spiedie salad and Beef Spiedies as an appetizer. The Beef Spiedies are available as an add-on to any other salad as well. The spiedie is credited as popular in the owners Central New York hometown (Endicott, NY). The restaurant is owned by Jim Consol. [7] - www.ziocharlotte.com
  • Serena Sicilian Influenced Gastropub - (S. Miami Blvd - Durham, NC) - serves Grilled Chicken Spiedie Skewers, Endicott, NY style Chicken Spiedies sandwiches, and lists chicken spiedies as an available topping on their homemade pasta dishes. The owner of Serena, Giuseppe Cataldo, is the son of the founders of Tony's Pizza in Endicott, NY. [8] - www.serena-rtp.com/rtp
  • Serena Sicilian Influenced Cucina - (Creedmoor Rd. - Raleigh, NC) - serves Grilled Chicken Spiedie Skewers, Endicott, NY style Chicken Spiedies sandwiches, and lists chicken spiedies as an available topping on their homemade pasta dishes. - www.serena-rtp.com/
  • Johnny V's Italian Restaurant - (Watterson Trail, Jeffersontown - Louisville, Kentucky) - serves spiedie sandwiches in chicken, pork, and beef as well as various chicken spiedie salads. - www.johnnyvsoflouisville.com
  • Joey Garlic's - (Newington, CT) - featured a chicken spiedie grinder in the past although they are not listed on the current menu. - www.joeygarlics.com

See also[edit]


External links[edit]