I had been hesitant to try Jersey Mike’s Subs. Why – because I had my doubts. I grew up in the Garden State (yes The Garden State for those of you who have only flown in and out of Newark Airport!!) Growing up, an Italian sub was more common than peanut butter and jelly. In my mind, there was no way they could live up to the name. There’s just something about a sub created in Jersey (the northeast in general) that differentiates it from the rest.
I was curious though. Then I heard a commercial that caught my attention! It said “they slice the cold cuts fresh for each and every sub they make” – just like my favorite delis back east. That may not mean much to someone who hasn’t lived in the greater New York area but it certainly meant something to yours truly. I said to myself, if they are going to slice my cold cuts fresh I’m going to pay them a visit.
So last Saturday, was “Clear the Clutter Day” in the Campion garage. It was one of those days where I labored from sun up to sundown to minimize the disorganization in my domain. I was so into it all I had was a cup of coffee for breakfast and by 11:30am I’m sure my stomach was thinking my throat was cut! At that moment I heard a ding, followed by a voice in my head bellowing — JERSEY MIKE’S!
There just happened to be one conveniently located for a quick stop on my 3rd trip to the Goodwill drop off so I popped in. I noticed immediately a smudge free front door that’s always a good start. When I walked into the place it was sparkling clean. I advanced to the counter to be greeted by three guys, in there twenties all of whom seemed glad to be working at JM’s. There was no pre-programmed greeting. Instead it was more of a warm hello, how are you this morning, followed by some genuine small talk. All three of these dudes looked like they walked off the cover of Restaurant News – well groomed, free of hang over and happy.
It didn’t take me long to decide on the Italian Sub. Interestingly enough there weren’t 101 sandwich variations to choose from – maybe a dozen. I have to admit I did a double take when I noticed the prices. The least expensive option on the menu was $8.25. I couldn’t help but think – “This better be good”.
My mouth was watering as I ordered… I wanted my sandwich just the way I remembered it as a kid growing up in Northern Jersey – piled high with thinly sliced cold cuts – ham, salami, cappicola (pronounced gabba-gole) pepperoni and provolone cheese. Topped with tomato slices, shredded lettuce and the oil vinegar mixed laced with Oregano, dashed with salt and pepper. The tomatoes and bread weren’t Jersey but then again there’s nothing west of the Delaware Water Gap that compares to Jersey’s tomatoes and Italian bread!
Of course it took a little longer to get the sandwich because the meats were meticulously sliced fresh and the accoutrements were added with care. I took it to go. When I unwrapped the sub I couldn’t help but notice the ratio of meat to bread was more than generous. Not like some of the chains that will remain unnamed.
As I savored every delectable bite, I think my taste buds were in a state of shock. In North Texas Jersey Mike’s had lived up to its name. The experience left my taste buds smiling for the rest of the day!
The moral to the story…
When it comes to fast food, it’s okay if it takes a little longer and costs a little more. As long as the service is superior and the food is high quality and fresh, it’s more than worth it. I’ll tell everyone who wants to know (even those who don’t). You can’t beat Jersey Mikes if you are looking for real Italian sub. Like I said value trumps price every time!