Pros: Subs made fresh to order
Cons: Overpriced subs
I work at a local Community College, and the only option for dining is the Subway on campus or the many rows of vending machines. Since crackers do not usually hold me over until supper, and I get a free drink as a school employee, I usually head for Subway. The Subway on campus isn't like most others due to the fact that so many people have complained about lack of food variety. This one has hamburgers, nachos, and a few other meals that are a little out of the ordinary for Subway. Nonetheless, I still get burned out on sub sandwiches, so I was somewhat reluctant to try Jersey Mike's. Most places that sell subs only are pretty much the same.
The first Jersey Mike's opened in New Jersey back in 1956. Now they can be found across the nation. I usually find them in tiny cubbyholes in shopping centers. They are usually pretty narrow. Inside, the counter reminds me of a typical grocery store deli. There is a glass display case of meats on one end of the counter, and a glass sneeze guard protecting the various toppings on the other. Unlike Subway, they usually have a separate room for making the hot subs. It's usually off to the side of the register. Past the counter, or sometimes across from the counter, there is a variety of chips and drinks. They have basic booths like most Subway chains, but they aren't yellow. The walls are usually bare with the exception of the bragging posters. They keep 3-4 posters about their subs on the walls to remind customers how good they are. The staff is almost always friendly and smiling when someone walks in.
Jersey Mike's has subs a plenty. There are 14 cold subs listed on the menu. They have some typical cold subs, like the BLT, ham, turkey, roast beef, and tuna fish as well as various combinations of the meats. The Jersey Mike's Original has provolone cheese, ham, proscuttini, pepperoni, cappacollo, and salami. There is also one vegetarian sub with swiss and provolone cheeses and green peppers. All of the subs come "Mikes Way" with onions, lettuce, tomato, oil, vinegar and spices. One may also request mayonnaise, mustard, jalapenos, pickles, or banana peppers. The subs are available in regular or giant size. "Giant" subs are 13 inches and "regular" subs are 6.5 inches depending on how even the bread is cut. The regular subs range in price from about $4.25 to $5.65. The giant subs run about $6.25 to $8.75. They are a little pricey compared to their competition, but it doesn't seem to hurt business.
There are fewer hot subs on the menu. I'm not big on cold subs, so I usually order from this end of the menu. They have meatball, philly chicken, philly steak, chicken parmesan, BBQ, corned beef, and chicken cordon bleu. The few times I've eaten here, I had the Chicken Parmesan Sub. It comes with slices of chicken, sauce, and cheese. It's usually great, but on my last visit, it was a little lacking in the sauce department, which made it a bit dry.
In addition to subs, they have a small selection of salads. There is the standard tossed salad, tuna or chicken salad, and the chef salad. Salads are $5.25 with the exception of the tossed salad, which is only $3.95. They offer 22 or 32 oz. Beverages with free refills, and they have a huge variety of chips. They sell not only small, but full-size bags of chips. One brand they carry is Snyders, which offers plain and barbeque chips as well as salt and vinegar and ketchup chips. I couldn't resist the ketchup chips because I hadn't seen any in years. The chips are available in regular or the kettle crunch variety.
The kids' menu has less to offer. Kids have a choice of ham and cheese, turkey, salami and cheese, or peanut butter and jelly. Kids sandwiches are about $3.95, and come with chips, a cookie, and a fountain drink.
Jersey Mike's claims to have original, authentic subs, but how authentic can a sub sandwich be? They follow the same formula of bread, meat, cheese, and toppings, so most subs are very similar to those found at Subway or other Sub Shops. I do have to admit that I am addicted to the Chicken Parmesan Sub, but I feel ripped off when I purchase one. A 6.5 inch Chicken Parmesan Sub costs $5.65. If I get a drink for $1.39 and add the 9.5% TN sales tax, I pay almost $8 for a sandwich and drink. It hardly seems worth it, but once I take a bite, I forget all that and recommend Jersey Mike's to everyone!