Jersey-style subs at convenient locales

It took a little while, but Jersey Mike’s Subs made it all the way from Point Pleasant, N.J. to Murfreesboro, Tenn. Mike’s got into the sub sandwich business in 1956, a bit ahead of the curve, so they’ve had some time to perfect the art of the sandwich.

Locally, Jersey Mike’s is one of several shops offering the submarine sandwich. There are several local franchises, one on Northfield Boulevard tucked in next to Blockbuster, another on Old Fort Parkway and a third on Sam Ridley Parkway in Smyrna.

The Northfield location is closest to my humble abode, so for all intents and purposes, that is the subject of my critique.

First impressions count for a lot, and my friend, the local Jersey Mike’s isn’t exactly impressive inside. I like to have my turkey and provolone to go. It’s about on par with a Lenny’s or Blimpie location, but I’ve never seen it dirty or unkempt inside. Guess there’s not a lot of wiggle room when you belong to a nationwide company, and the very friendly staff makes up for it.

Depending on the volume of customers, three or five or six gents man the counter, presiding over stacks of meat and a small selection of vegetables, and the back room, where hot subs are born.

I know it’s a franchise, so I’m not getting some original chef creation, but I like that they cut the meats and cheese fresh after I order my sub and bake their bread on site.

Some of my favorites are their Original Italian (No. 13), which is literally packed with salami, proscuittini, pepperoni, cappacuolo, and ham, with a mild slice of provolone. It’s pretty mild for an Italian sub, with no dominant or overwhelming flavors, and tastes pretty good on wheat bread.

If I’m going for a hot sub, I like to keep it classic with the Philly (No. 17). It’s not always the prettiest sandwich to look at, but the flavor’s just right. My companion agreed and said his steak Philly mixed up with peppers and onions was tasty and spicy. I need to get brave and try the Grilled Pastrami Reuben or their Chipotle Cheese Steak, but my next adventure at Mike’s will be their current special, the Buffalo Chicken: grilled chicken breast with a special buffalo sauce and blue cheese dressing.

Size matters, right? That being said, a mini-sized sub at Jersey Mike’s is enough to fill me up, with a regular checking in about the same as a Subway foot-long. I’ve never braved the largest sub; proceed with caution.

To my chagrin, the selection of vegetables is not extensive. Lettuce, tomato, white onion, pickles, and banana peppers are about all you have to choose from. I’d like to see some red onion or green bell peppers. I say this, but then I’ve enjoyed every sandwich I’ve gotten there. Maybe less is more?

I’m glad they offer wheat bread, although the white bread is still pretty good. As I mentioned earlier, the pre-made dough is baked on site, so it’s pretty fresh.

Mike’s also offers signature wraps and salads and can turn any sandwich into either, if you’re so inclined.

Expect to spend about $19 for two drinks, chips and two regular sized subs, and a little less if you’re getting mini-subs. It’s a little more than I’m used to spending on a sub, but going there alone and spending $8 doesn’t feel as bad, especially when there’s so much fresh meat on my sub that it’s literally overflowing.


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