Where did Jersey Mikes come from? Similar to Moses, the Jersey Mikes legend starts by the water and seems improbable. In 1971 at the Jersey shore town of Point Pleasant, not far from Springsteens Asbury Park turf, Jersey Mike’s CEO Peter Cancro started working at a place called Mike’s Subs at age 14. When he was a senior in 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 he became the proud owner of Mike’s at the age of 17.
After that he opened a few more stores, but it wasnt until 1987 that he started franchising and added Jersey towards the name. In a conversation with Jersey Mike’s President Hoyt Jones, he told me at the end of 2019 they’ll remain in 49 states (sorry, Alaska) and possess near 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, on the next 5 years, they need to add another 1,500 locations.
Would you like some competitor context? Subway, quite alarmingly, has nearly 45,000 locations. Odds are like one out of two you’re standing in one at this time. 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 genuine rival to Subway due to that heated treadmill oven that toasted their subs, but is currently as a result of lower than 400 (ends up other areas can also toast subs).
Precisely what is Jersey Mike’s seeking to do now? I’d as if you to perform a visual exercise in nostalgia: imagine you’re in a surf shack deli on the beach in Jersey. There is a big glass case showcasing the meats. There is certainly sand tracked in on the floor, and waves lapping outside as Bruce Springsteen plays a live set where he tells the long version from the story about his dad throughout the River and everyone cries while eating saltwater taffy. That’s the Jersey Mike’s decor. Except rather than all that, it’s just a couple scattered tables and booths, as well as the only symbol of the beach is literally a sign of a beach, and a surfboard on the wall. But you’ve still got the deli case!
But exactly what are they thinking?!? In order to ascertain their intentions, I begged a fancy creative director in a fancy advertising agency to view a variety of Jersey Mike’s commercials and present thoughts: “They’re clearly going for the organization lunch crowd — characters are usually in their 20s and 30s, great deal 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 also the tagline ‘A Sub Above’ will not be exactly ‘Just Do It’ or ‘Imported from Detroit,’ however i guess it gets across the message that their sub is preferable over competitors.”
As his or her advertising and limited decor suggest, Jersey Mike’s is attempting to possess the quick business lunch, office catering, and delivery apps crowd by proving that they’re a greater quality choice than Subway in the same speed and other price point, rather than a good deal of step down from the actual local deli, but with more convenience, speed, and wall-mounted surfboards. Jones confirmed they were leaning in hard to delivery, mentioning that they had national contracts with all major online delivery companies, and had even integrated UberEats and DoorDash to their proprietary POS system. This is interesting, because sandwich shops inherently get more of a mixture of blue collar and city workers, and college and high school students, therefore if they feel that’s already their base, the push for that white collar crowd seems aspirational.
More than this, Jersey Mike’s itself is fascinating, partly due to its bold growth strategy, partly because of its unique environment (Jones informed me every franchisee must arrived at Jersey for a week, then spend time inside the field at certified training store), but mostly because, within this heavily saturated time as more food entrepreneurs attempt to branch out into increasingly niche corners in the fast casual market, it seems like strangely retro to get a throwback sub shop from your Jersey shore to bet it may carve out a large slice from the working American lunch scene. You will find, that was 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
The Way I made it happen: Throughout a month, I went three times to 2 different Northern California Jersey Mike’s locations. In total, I used ten sandwiches and three desserts. Per the ethics of such reviews, I didn’t inform anyone at Jersey Mike’s I was coming, I bought all of my food, and i also didnt even join Shore Points, despite the fact that 48 would’ve gotten me a free mini size sub.
Bonus Disclaimer: Item availability may vary from franchise to franchise (unfortunately, not everybody stocks TastyKakes).
Now back to the cheesesteak.
The Great Stuff:
In my view, to be able to be eligible for glory, a cheesesteak must posses this Hylian Triforce of elements:
1) The roll has to be toasty and warm capable to withstand the grease in the melted cheese, meat, and onions/peppers without sogging through.
2) The chopped steak should be crispy and tender, without a great deal of the fatty, inedible bits that bounce your teeth back whenever you bite down.
3) The cheese (Whiz or American) must be from the correct melty consistency to act as being a binding agent for your meat, cheese and onions without overwhelming the entire production.
The cheesesteak at Jersey Mikes had all of those elements. The roll, which the woman in the counter told me was baked in the morning from dough shipped from Jersey (an organization spokesman confirmed this, telling me the trick to the bread will be the Jersey water! which a longtime bread supplier in Jersey ships the dough out fresh to locations all over the country), was rxdwsn and toasty and flaky and held up to the greasy components of the sandwich. The steak was chopped correctly and devoid of those chewy fatty gristle bits so frequently apparent in off-Philly cheesesteak productions. The onions and peppers tasted like real vegetables with many bite but were not over greasy and oily. The white American cheese hugged all of the elements together without suffocating them, much like an excellent parent should, RIGHT DAD?