Where did Jersey Mikes come from? Just like Moses, the Jersey Mikes legend starts by the water and seems improbable. In 1971 at the Jersey shore town of Point Pleasant, not far away from Springsteens Asbury Park turf, Jersey Mikes menu with prices 2020 CEO Peter Cancro started working at a place called Mike’s Subs at age 14. When he was a senior in senior high school, he heard the owner was selling, so he asked his football coach (who was also a banker, because in 70s, anything was possible) to guarantee his loan. His coach did, and that he became the proud owner of Mike’s at the age of 17.
From that point he opened some more stores, however it wasnt until 1987 he started franchising and added Jersey for the name. In a conversation with Jersey Mike’s President Hoyt Jones, he informed me at the end of 2019 they’ll maintain 49 states (sorry, Alaska) and have close to 1,700 stores, with 200 freshly opened in 2019. A 2018 Inc. magazine story quotes Cancro as saying, We’re just getting started and continues on to speak about how, within the next five years, they need to add another 1,500 locations.
Do you need some competitor context? Subway, quite alarmingly, has nearly 45,000 locations. Odds are like one out of two you’re standing in a single today. Arby’s has 3,300. Jimmy John’s 2,800. Firehouse around 1,100. Quiznos at its peak in 2007 had over 4,700 locations and was considered a real rival to Subway thanks to that heated treadmill oven that toasted their subs, but is now as a result of lower than 400 (turns out other places could also toast subs).
What exactly is Jersey Mike’s trying to do now? I’d just like you to do a visual exercise in nostalgia: imagine you’re in a surf shack deli on the beach in Jersey. There exists a big glass case showcasing the meats. There is sand tracked in on the floor, and waves lapping outside as Bruce Springsteen plays a live set where he tells the long version in the story about his dad during The River and everybody cries while eating saltwater taffy. That’s the Jersey Mike’s decor. Except instead of all that, it’s just a few scattered tables and booths, as well as the only indication of the beach is an indication of a beach, as well as a surfboard on the wall. But you’ve still got the deli case!
But what exactly are they thinking?!? In order to ascertain their intentions, I begged a fancy creative director at a fancy advertising agency to look at a bunch of Jersey Mike’s commercials and provide thoughts: “They’re clearly choosing the company lunch crowd — characters will always be inside their 20s and 30s, large amount of office shots, not families. Voiceover talent is same age since the audience, and the style is terse, and ‘clever?’ The final card always shows a wrapped up sub snagged with a consumer, which, again, makes me think they don’t expect you to eat there. And the tagline ‘A Sub Above’ is not really exactly ‘Just Do It’ or ‘Imported from Detroit,’ having said that i guess it gets throughout the message their sub is superior to competitors.”
As his or her advertising and limited decor suggest, Jersey Mike’s is wanting to obtain the quick business lunch, office catering, and delivery apps crowd by proving that they’re a greater quality choice than Subway at the same speed and similar price point, and not a good deal of step down from the actual local deli, however with more convenience, speed, and wall-mounted surfboards. Jones confirmed that they were leaning in tough to delivery, mentioning they had national contracts with all major online delivery companies, and had even integrated UberEats and DoorDash into their proprietary POS system. This can be interesting, because sandwich shops inherently have more of a mix of blue collar and city workers, and college and school students, in case they believe that’s already their base, the push for your white collar crowd seems aspirational.
More than that, Jersey Mike’s itself is fascinating, partly due to its bold growth strategy, partly due to the unique environment (Jones explained every franchisee must visit Jersey for a week, then spend some time within the field at certified training store), but mostly because, in this particular heavily saturated time as more food entrepreneurs try to branch out into increasingly niche corners of the fast casual market, it seems like strangely retro for any throwback sub shop through the Jersey shore to bet it can carve out a sizable slice of the working American lunch scene. You will find, which had been a deli meat pun.
Cold subs ordered Mike’s Way are dressed with onions, lettuce, tomatoes, vinegar, oil and spices | Cole Saladino/Thrillist
Jersey Mikes Menu Review
How I did it: Over the course of a month, I went 3 x to two different Northern California Jersey Mike’s locations. In total, I used ten sandwiches and three desserts. Per the ethics of these reviews, I didn’t inform anyone at Jersey Mike’s I had been coming, I bought most of my food, and that i didnt even subscribe to Shore Points, even though 48 would’ve gotten us a free mini size sub.
Bonus Disclaimer: Item availability can vary greatly from franchise to franchise (unfortunately, not everybody stocks TastyKakes).
Now returning to the cheesesteak.
The Best Stuff:
In my opinion, so that you can qualify for glory, a cheesesteak must posses this Hylian Triforce of elements:
1) The roll must be toasty and warm and able to withstand the grease in the melted cheese, meat, and onions/peppers without sogging through.
2) The chopped steak must be crispy and tender, without a good amount of the fatty, inedible bits that bounce your teeth back once you bite down.
3) The cheese (Whiz or American) must be in the correct melty consistency to act as a binding agent for that meat, cheese and onions without overwhelming the whole production.
The cheesesteak at Jersey menu had those elements. The roll, which the woman in the counter informed me was baked every morning from dough shipped out from Jersey (a company spokesman confirmed this, telling me the secret to the bread will be the Jersey water! which a longtime bread supplier in Jersey ships the dough out fresh to locations all around the country), was rxdwsn and toasty and flaky and held as much as the greasy elements of the sandwich. The steak was chopped correctly and without those chewy fatty gristle bits so frequently apparent in off-Philly cheesesteak productions. The onions and peppers tasted like real vegetables with some bite but were not over greasy and oily. The white American cheese hugged those elements together without suffocating them, just like a good parent should, RIGHT DAD?