By Aura Hill
The end of the world was supposed to have come Dec. 21, the last day of the Mayan Calendar. It didn't, but that date was the beginning of a "dream come true" for Mike and Linda Martin whose shop, Hoageez, opened that day on 422 Walton Avenue in Hummelstown, bringing "authentic old-school hoagies with legendary taste" to Sun Country.
"We started thinking about this six or seven years ago" Linda said. Although not Philadelphia natives, "We always went to Philadelphia a lot and fell in love with meats and cheeses and rolls in a Philadelphia hoagie. We tried other rolls we could get in this area but we couldn't duplicate the taste and texture."
It was then they started looking for a place close to home for their own hoagie shop. She and her husband researched meats and cheeses by going to classic Philadelphia hoagie shops like Sarcone and Primo where they tasted their meats and cheeses. At home they experimented, noting which meats and cheeses benefited from a thin, thicker cut. "It was like a science," she said.
After much tasting and comparing they selected Dietz & Watson and Freda as their meat purveyors.
"Both are excellent, great tasting, premium products. We have chosen the best from each of these companies. For cheeses, we have chosen Belgioioso, Dietz & Watson and cooper," she said.
When the Walton Avenue location became available, they made their move, converting the former retail space into a bright, open, friendly shop that has been serving a steady stream of local customers.
Rolls, meats and cheeses come to their shop daily from Philadelphia to maintain the advertised 'authentic" taste and texture.
"The roll really makes the difference," Linda stressed. "The firm crusty outside is perfect for trapping in the oils and juices. The soft chewy inside has just the right amount of texture and flavor. We use famous, top rated bakeries that have been baking their hoagie rolls the same way for generations…so our rolls are filled with flavor, not air"