Whenever I travel to a new area of New York, I always try to sample the foods that are unique to that area. From beef on weck and Buffalo wings in Buffalo to garbage plates in Rochester and chicken riggies in Utica, I love to sample these dishes that are popular in one corner of the state.
So, whenever I travel through Binghamton, I always make a point to get a spiedie.
For those that are as ill-informed as I was before my first visit, a spiedie (pronounced “speedy”) is a sandwich primarily found in and around Binghamton and Broome County, New York. It is thought to have originated sometime in the 1920s, though the history is a bit muddled.
The sandwich is typically served on a long roll and consists solely of meat (usually chicken or pork, though it was first made with lamb) marinated in a special spiedie sauce before being cooked and placed on the roll. While you might think a spiedie needs more than that, that’s all there is to it.
During my visits to the city, I’ve had the opportunity to sample spiedies at three different local institutions.
My first stops in the region were Lupo’s S & S Char Pit (which is now closed) and Sharkey’s Bar and Grill. Both of these spots are located within the city of Binghamton and have been serving this local dish for many decades.
If you read the first iteration of this article, you’ll remember that I didn’t come away impressed with the options at these restaurants. I found the sandwiches at both to be dry, lacking sauce, and without the right bread-to-filling ratio.
Many readers commented both on this post (see the comments at the bottom of this page) as well as on Facebook suggesting that I made two mistakes.
First, many of you said that instead of getting pork, I should have opted for the chicken as the meat would be more tender and moist.
The second mistake I made, according to many readers, was where I opted to go. While some people were definitely fans of the restaurants I visited, one other restaurant kept popping up again and again in the comments: Spiedie and Rib Pit.
Because this recommendation was mentioned so often, I knew that I had to give spiedies another try at this restaurant. So, the next time I found myself traveling through Binghamton, I stopped and ordered some more spiedies.
There are two Spiedie and Rib Pit restaurants in the Binghamton area. The first is located north of the city just off of I-81. The second is located southwest of the city in Vestal, New York just off the Southern Tier Expressway.
I ordered both a chicken spiedie and a pork spiedie during my visit. This allowed me to correct what people said was a mistake in my meat choice, while still being able to compare the quality of their pork spiedie to the others. After all, I didn’t want to compare apples to oranges (or in this case, chicken to pork) against the other spots.
I’m happy to report that those of you that commented were correct on both fronts.
First, on the choice of meat, the chicken at Spiedie and Rib Pit was noticeably more moist than the pork they offered. That’s not to say that the pork was bad (it wasn’t), but it was amazing how much more moist the chicken spiedie was.
But the bigger question is did my visit to Spiedie and Rib Pit change my mind on the overall quality of spiedies? Previously, I had said, “So, while I wouldn’t necessarily say you need to go way out of your way to get a few spiedies in Binghamton, New York, it’s worthwhile to try this unique local food if you find yourself passing through the area.”
I’m happy to report that it did.
The flavor of the pork spiedie at Spiedie and Rib Pit FAR outclassed the pork spiedie I had at Lupo’s S & S Char Pit and Sharkey’s Bar and Grill. Not only was the pork meat moister, but it also had the extra sauce I craved at the other two spots and the amount of bread made sense for the sandwich, where it previously had not during my first two stops.
However, while the pork spiedie was much better, the chicken spiedie compared to the other two restaurants was in another class and incredibly delicious. While I’d venture that the chicken spiedies would also be better at Lupo’s and Sharkey’s than their pork, the quality of bread and lack of extra sauce at those establishments lead me to believe that they wouldn’t be nearly as good at the offerings at Spiedie and Rib Pit.
So, in conclusion, I’d definitely recommend trying a spiedie if you find yourself in the Binghamton, New York area. This local delicacy can be very delicious if you visit the right places, and you can’t go wrong with the flavors at Spiedie and Rib Pit.
For those that are curious, I’ve copied my total thoughts on my pork spiedies from Lupo’s and Sharkey’s below.
Lupo’s S & S Char Pit
Note: Lupo’s S & S Char Pit is now closed, but I’ll leave this section up for posterity.
Lupo’s S & S Char Pit definitely won’t be winning any awards for their appearance. The outside and much of the inside of the shop reminded me of an old 1980’s fast food restaurant, while the food counter itself looked more like an old deli. That being said, it seemed clean and like a perfectly fine place to eat.
Shortly after ordering (I opted for a pork spiedie), the sandwich was ready.
My spiedie was served on a large roll that seemed fresh, but a bit too large for the amount of meat. Inside the sandwich, there were close to a dozen small cubes of grilled pork meat (roughly chicken nugget size). Lupo’s marinates their meat in a special blend of Italian spice and oils for 24 hours before grilling, so I knew the meat would have great flavor.
Upon biting into the sandwich, my initial hunch was proven correct. While the bread was good, the ratio of bread to filling was way out of whack. Definitely too much bread.
Trying the meat separately, it definitely had great flavor, but was on the drier side. Of course, that could have also been simply because of when I ordered it or the cook preparing it.
While the flavor of the meat was quite good, the sandwich overall was rather dry because of the dry meat and the large amount of bread. A bit of extra marinade on the sandwich like a condiment would have really made it pop.
Sharkey’s Bar and Grill
Despite being slightly disappointed in my first spiedie at the now closed Lupo S&S, I decided to press on and try another one at Sharkey’s Bar and Grill on the western side of town.
In contrast to Lupo’s, Sharkey’s is best described as a dive bar with darker decor and both bar and table seating.
I decided that since I had ordered a pork spiedie at Lupo’s that I would do the same at Sharkey’s so I could best compare these two spots to get spiedies in Binghamton.
At Sharkey’s, my pork spiedie came three to an order. The sandwiches here were decidedly different, coming with roughly half-a-dozen pieces of pork wrapped between a piece of white bread. The meat here is marinated for two days, again in a secret blend of spices and oils.
My first impression of the spiedie at Sharkey’s was that the regular white bread here worked much better for the sandwich. While the quality of the bread at Lupo’s was clearly higher, the smaller amount of bread at Sharkey’s made more sense for the amount of filling.
My second observation was that the marinade was again very good, though probably not quite as good as the one at Lupo’s. The meat was also much drier at Sharkey’s, though again, that could come down to when and who cooked it, so it’s hard to say for sure regarding that without eating at each a few different times.
Do you have a favorite spot to get spiedies in Binghamton that I need to try on my next visit? Let me know in the comments below.
Looking for more places to visit nearby? Check out the Discovery Center of the Southern Tier, Beer Tree Brew Co, Robot City Games and Arcade, and the Northeast Classic Car Museum.
26 thoughts on “Spiedies in Binghamton: One of New York’s Most Popular Regional Dishes”
If you really want to have a great spiedie, pick up a package of Lupo’s spiedie meat at wegman’s or Sams Club, and a loaf of sliced Italian bread. Skewer the meat (a must) and pack the meat so it is on the tight side. When they are packed like this, the outside gets nice and charred, while the inside that is touching offers a nice contrast. When they are cooked, use the bread to pull them off the skewer. The meat juice will soak up into the bread as the meat rests. A real spiedie must be skewered, and not served in a roll.
That does sound great. The marinade was obviously quite good, so I can see how that would work well. I was just trying to highlight a few popular restaurants that serve this local specialty and share my thoughts on them as that’s what the average visitor is going to try.
The best place for a Broome county spiedi is Spiedi & Rib Pit upper Front Street
I lived in Vestal, New York for a couple of years about fifty years ago. I was introduced to Italian meatball sandwiches, and speedies. I loved them both. I often try to get my American, raised in California, husband to try at least the meatball sandwich. He’s currently serving meatballs ( my recipe) with baked potatoes. What’s wrong with the man? By the way I’m English by birth.
Try Spiedie and Rib Pit on Vestal Pkwy Vestal or Upper Front St Bing. I’m sure you’ll have a good experience at either location, Try the Spidissimo on a pita.
Thanks for the tips. I’ll definitely give them a try on my next visit to Binghamton.
Spiedies were and are best with lamb. Chicken and pork are poor substututes. Only at Lupos can u still get it, and put some hot sauce on it. Then ull have tasted a real spiedie.
I grew up in this area and my father marinated spiedies in big, old pickles jars, and packed them to the rim as a kid. I’ve probably had every spiedie, in every spot in the Triple Cities and I make my own. I feel like you went to my least favorite spots around. My top 3 spots would be the The Spiedie and rib pit on Upper Front (chicken, buffalo style on a bun), Pasquale’s Deli on Broad Ave.(chicken) during lunch hour they cook them outside, and Lupo’s Char Pit in Endwell, during lunch hours when its busy. Try the pork plain, its soaks into the roll and is juicy and good. The Endwell Style is nice too(mushrooms & cheese). Those are my suggestions, you chose the wrong places, plus pork dries out faster than the chicken it seems. Good luck!
The best spiedie is at Spiedie & Rib Pit on Upper Front St., or the Vestal Parkway. Who knows why you went to the 2 worst spiedie spots in the county, but you did. Also, the star of the menu is the chicken spiedie.
At Spiedie & Rib Pit the meat is bountiful and falls out of the roll, whichever size you order. It will not be dry, but if you feel it is, there’s extra spiedie sauce on the table. Sharky’s is an old source, but never were their spiedies worth buying. It’s loved by neighborhood locals and has more of a cult following. Try Spiedie & Rib Pit.
I agree. Being a lifelong Binghamtonian and a cook, I much prefer marinating and grilling them myself. Speidie and Rib pit and Lupos in Endwell are better than those two places. Sharkies does have some great stuff on the menu, but speidies wouldn’t be my first choice there. I like the city chicken. It’s easy to get dried out pork speidie sandwich as the chicken are probably more readily made due to them being more popular.
You definitely went to the wrong places. Spiedie and rib pit on front Street Binghamton is far the best it comes with that extra sauce so it’s juicy.
A Mexican Hot! Found in upstate New York (Amsterdam) area. Also there was a Fish Sandwich for Boice’s Fish Fry but they no longer exist. I visit there when I can for Mexican Hot’s and fires and gravy.
While one made for us is great, nothing beats Lupos Chat Pit on Main St in Endwell! I’d bet you a dozen chicken spiedies on that!!!!!
You went to the wrong Lupo’s. Main Street in Endicott has the best Speidies for take out or raw to cook yourself!
I have to agree, main Street Endicott for the best spiedies. Chicken is my favorite but pork is good too. They actually squirt some sauce on the sandwich when they make it. Good and juicy lots of meat. Been going there for almost 50 years. Second best Spiedie and Rib pit Vestal parkway. There try the Buffalo chicken Spiedie with blue cheese
Spiedie and Rib Pit on Upper Front Street in Binghamton. Go with the chicken spiedie. Try the Buffalo Chicjen Spiedie. Wing sauce, lettuce, tomato and blue cheese.
Most people in the area grew up eating spiedies on the north side of Endicott. Italian immigrants sat outside bars grilling marinated lamb on a slice of Italian bread. They have evolved into many different varieties. Most people who grew up there make them themselves. Growing up there pork or chicken were never an option. Lupo’s char pit on Main St Endwell is the best for eating them out
Lupos in Endwell on Main Street is much better than the one on Binghamton.
I grew up in the Binghamton \ Elmira area with Lupo’s, personally I prefer to buy Lupo’s marinade and make my own! Definitely don’t over cook the chicken or pork or of course it’s going to be dry. And I only use pork tenderloin (much more tender on the bread). My favorite is the chicken with the Lupo’s lemon garlic marinade, it cooks fast so if you want it juicy and not dry, don’t over cook it!
If it isn’t made with lamb it’s not a Spiedie. Try it next time… much much better.
I may try that next time. I’m not a fan of lamb meat, so I don’t know that I would enjoy it very much, but I’m always open to trying something different.
Also try the beef speedier at holy cow in Watkins glen ny
You are correct. Lamb spiedies on fresh Italian bread are far superior then chicken or pork could ever be. The north side of Endicott was the best place for species.
I once held the record at AMPS on Clinton St in Binghamton Near Sharkey’s > I ate 14 lamb spiedies that cost $.25 per for a total of $13.50. We used to go there st least several nights a week. Speidies must be marinated lamb and cooked over charcoal to capture the real flavor. Spiedies were brought to Binghamton NY via Guido Iacovelli’s father. They were a staple to locals for a very long time. Many people have tried to make a living selling them out of the area with very little success. They somehow think they can improve them. They have failed miserably for the most part. The old saw “if it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it” holds true to this day. Lamb marinated at least 24 hrs with a good spiedie sauce cooked over charcoal, six good size hunks of lamb on a metal skewer and served on the skewer with a slice of Italian bread attached to the skewer, and you have the real deal. Go to the Spiedie Fest the first weekend in August at Otsenango Park and enjoy some of the best spiedies.
PHILIP B. JEWELL SR.
Lupo’s is now closed.
“The S&S is officially closed,” Steve Lupo said Thursday. “We are focusing on our wholesale, our meat plant, and bottling plant. We are unsure if we are going to pursue any more retail.”
Thanks. I’ve updated the article to reflect this.