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What Really Makes Jersey Mike's Sandwiches So Good

Jersey Mike's subs
Jersey Mike's subs - Jersey Mike's/ Facebook

Hoagie, sammy, hero, spuckie. However you refer to it, one thing is clear: people get passionate about their sandwiches. That midday bite is so much more than just refueling for the second half of the day, it's a second of respite from our busy lives. So where you choose to get your lunch is an important decision, and you don't need us to tell you that there are a lot of options out there: Subway, Jimmy John's, Wawa ... There are endless lunchtime options ready to get your attention (and help you part with your hard earned dollars), and a lot of us will opt for a Jersey Mike's sub above the rest of the carby competition.

In its almost 70 years of life it has become an extremely popular chain and has even been voted the favorite sandwich chain in America by customers. Sandwich lovers flock to any of its 2734 restaurants (and counting) in the US to order their favorite sub, served "Mike's way", of course. But what is it that makes Jersey Mike's worthy of the coveted top spot? Here's why the sandwiches are so good.

Read more: The Most Overrated Chain Restaurants In The US, According To The Mashed Staff

The Bread Is Delicious

pile of three sub rolls
pile of three sub rolls - Bhofack2/Getty Images

This has got to be the most fundamental part of any sandwich. Because of that, it's crucial that Jersey Mike's get it right. And it really does. First off, the bread is baked in-store each day for ultimate freshness. If you've been into a restaurant then you'll know this for a fact- it always has that distinct, delicious bakery smell. There's no stale bread in there.

Secondly, all the rolls are made with the same water. The bread supplier for Jersey Mike's is based in New Jersey, where Jersey Mike's started, and the water used in the dough is exactly the same that is used for the bread in the Jersey Mike's sandwiches up and down the country. It means that no matter where you are eating your lunch, the bread will always have that specific Jersey Mike's taste.

Third, there are lots of options to the bready offering. It's got wheat, rosemary parmesan and a gluten free roll, all of which are rigorously tested to make sure they are as good as the original white. Whether you want a bit of extra flavor from the rosemary parmesan or if you need it to adhere to a gluten-free diet, the bread won't disappoint.

There Are Loads Of Ingredients To Choose From

filled colorful sandwhich
filled colorful sandwhich - etorres/Shutterstock

We don't want to get too personal here but: how do you like your sandwiches at lunchtime? We know, it's a private matter. Which means that being able to customize your sandwich is key. It's got to taste good for you, so of course Jersey Mike's let you switch up your fix-ins. Though that's not necessarily anything out of the ordinary for a sandwich restaurant, the great thing about Jersey Mike's is that there are so many different ingredients to choose from. There's a whopping eight different kinds of deli meats (and that's just the cold meats; there's the hot options too). There are three different types of cheeses, a menu of eight sauces and toppings, four kinds of bread, and, from tomatoes to avocados, a load of vegetables too. The options are pretty much unlimited.

It makes the ordering process simple, and Jersey Mike's often goes viral on social media for trending sandwiches. Videos show customers trying out different combinations of ingredients to make their bespoke bite, some of whom have been trying to get it perfect for years. If your first sandwich isn't quite right? Try, try, and try again. The opportunity for sandwich discovery is limited only by your imagination.

The Ingredients Are High Quality

thin deli meats on top of bread
thin deli meats on top of bread - Lauripatterson/Getty Images

It's all very well and good having a big sandwich, but that doesn't mean a thing if the sandwich isn't tasty. One way that Jersey Mike's makes sure that you want to polish off every morsel of your lunch is by getting serious about the ingredients it uses. So no, it's not just the famous quantity at Jersey Mike's, the quality of its ingredients is something the sandwich chain is clearly proud of.

Its meats and cheeses all come from premium brands and it claims that it is because of a strong "tradition of quality" that means its subs are always delicious. In 2019 it made the move to using No Antibiotics Ever (NAE) pork. Not only does this mean there are fewer chemicals floating around, but it also means that the pigs are looked after in a more humane way than the more intensive farming practices. It had already made the move to NAE turkeys two years prior to that.

The beef is certified Angus beef so every slice of beef that you tuck into has been approved by USDA graders. It has gone through rigorous testing to make sure it's the very best on the market and the certification process explicitly tests the meat for both taste and tenderness. For a chain of its size, these are some impressive moves from Jersey Mike's. And luckily for us hungry customers, it pays off by translating into a very good sandwich.

Everything Is Freshly Prepared

freshly cut lettuce
freshly cut lettuce - Pixel-Shot/Shutterstock

If you've been to a Jersey Mike's then you'll have seen the servers making the sandwiches right there in front of you. It certainly adds to the atmosphere of the place, but how do we know it's not just for show? Are the ingredients actually fresh or is it all smoke and mirrors?

Like the quality of the ingredients, the freshness isn't something that Jersey Mike's shy away from talking about. We already know that the bread is baked fresh daily, but it turns out that all of the vegetables are prepared in the morning, too. You'll never have a sandwich that has a soggy tomato from yesterday's leftovers and the lettuce will always have crunch to it. As well as contributing to the overall taste of the sandwich, these little details result in a much more texturally satisfying bite too.

Again, if you've visited a Jersey Mike's then you'll know that servers will slice the deli meat straight from a block right into your sandwich, so we know that's fresh. But what about the cooked meat? On the menu it states "freshly grilled" bacon for its porky subs and it seems that, like the rest of its oaths, Jersey Mike's is staying true to that promise. Videos from members of staff show off their skills at the grill and how they make big quantities of freshly cooked bacon ready to go into your BLT sandwich.

The Juice

Danny DeVito staring at a big sandwich
Danny DeVito staring at a big sandwich - YouTube

Jersey Mike's is all about creating a "sub above" the rest, and one of the ways it does that is by adding the juice to its sandwiches. Though the name might suggest otherwise, there isn't any fruit in this particular juice. Instead, it's a simple formula of olive oil and red wine vinegar which gets liberally applied (if you want) to your sub. Servers will add it onto the top of your lettuce and tomatoes in cold sandwiches as an additional seasoning to orders.

In the Jersey Mike's company manifesto statement the company says "... It's what turns good into great, better into best, and it elevates our sandwich to the highest level. The juice is the active ingredient in a sub above. It's an exquisite zing ... a splash of extra and unexpected." It's held in high regard. In 2023, Jersey Mike's tricked its customers by pulling a social media prank on April Fools Day, telling them that it'd be replacing the juice. Customers flocked to the comments to talk about their love for the sauce, many saying that it's what makes the sandwiches at Jersey Mike's so good.

You know who else rates the juice? Danny DeVito. In 2022 he collaborated with Jersey Mike's to create a promotional all about this simple oil and vinegar blend. If the video is anything to go by, the man likes a lot of juice on his sub. And if Danny DeVito is telling us that the juice is worth the squeeze, then you bet we're interested.

You Get A Really Full Sandwich

sub filled with meats and vegetables
sub filled with meats and vegetables - Jersey Mike's

Sometimes size does matter. If you're not hungry, then Jersey Mike's is probably not the place for you, because there is nothing puny about the portion sizes here. No matter what you order, it's a safe bet your sandwich isn't going to be skimpy when it comes to the ingredients stacked in it.

When it is compared to other restaurant chains, Jersey Mike's holds up well in how many ingredients it is packing between two bits of bread. Subway is the other big hitter in the sandwich world, but reviews credit Jersey Mike's for its whopping portions when the two are side by side. It's something that it is known for in its sandwiches and, though you can opt for a mini size sandwich on the menu, it's going to come stacked with toppings. If you are hungry then the giant size might be more interesting to you. These impressive 15-inch subs are sliced into four portions for a reason. Hats off to you if you can take the whole thing down solo.

The Condiments Always Hit

five pots of brightly colored condiments
five pots of brightly colored condiments - Goskova Tatiana/Shutterstock

A dry sub is never going to be delicious so, aside from the juice, there are more ways to make your sandwich as moist as Ross' famous The Moist Maker. Jersey Mike's has a lot of condiments on its menu where the flavors range from tangy to creamy so you can choose the perfect addition to your order.

Mustard fans can rest easy, because at Jersey Mike's there are three different kinds to choose from (yellow, spicy brown or honey). There's regular or chipotle mayo, as well as the classic hot sauce (they use Frank's) and lots more. The most famous has got to be its signature hot chopped pepper relish which is so popular, in fact, that Jersey Mike's decided to sell it as its own entity for customers to take home. The only downside is that it can be pretty elusive to find - due to its popularity it's often sold out.

It's not just sauces though. You can add more condiments in the form of pickles, peppers, and caramelized onions. There is a lot for customers to get creative with. It's yet another way that diners get to add their own twist on their order and all of those combinations offer the sandwiches even more flavor, texture, and crucially, moistness that even Ross would be proud of.

They Can Actually Be Pretty Healthy

three filled subs with deli meat
three filled subs with deli meat - Lauripatterson/Getty Images

A 15 inch sub probably isn't the first thing you're going to reach for if you're trying to watch what you're eating, but despite the stigma around a carby lunchtime option, the sandwiches at Jersey Mike's can actually still be pretty healthy. You just have to get smart about it.

A mini turkey and provolone sandwich (without the mayo and the juice) clocks in at just 460 calories, which is a very modest count, especially when considering it would be just as easy to swing by McDonald's for a Big Mac which is both less nutrient dense and more hefty on the calories (it's 590 calories total). If you're in the market for some quick food then there are worse places to go than your local Jersey Mike's.

Aside from the calorie content, nutritionists point out that a sandwich is actually a pretty balanced meal. It can have the carbs, protein and fats you need for a balanced diet as long as you fill it correctly. Luckily at Jersey Mike's there are the options to do just that; choose the wheat bread, add some lean protein (the deli turkey or grilled chicken are great options), pile on those vegetables and maybe take a pass on the white cheese this time. There you have it! You've got yourself a delicious, nutritious meal.

They Are Consistently Good

two smiling servers making sandwhiches
two smiling servers making sandwhiches - Alec/ X (formally known as Twitter)

There's something especially disappointing about reality not living up to expectations. If you've got your heart set on a memory of a delicious sandwich you had that one time in the Jersey Mike's in Blue Springs, Missouri, then you're going to want to have that same delicious sandwich experience when you come across your next sandwich opportunity. This is where Jersey Mike's delivers yet again -- something customers appreciate about the chain is the consistency of the food that it puts out, no matter which state you're in. The same bread dough, the same high-quality ingredients, and the same policy on using fresh produce throughout all of its stores means that every sandwich is going to taste good every time.

Of course, it's not just between states where Jersey Mike's performs on consistency. The quality control within individual restaurants is always kept at its high standards. One Trip Advisor customer says, "These subs are made as I request time and time again. Consistency is their mantra!" It's no secret that humans hate change so it's this kind of service means that Jersey Mike's has lifelong fans who are willing to return for their same lunchtime fix over and over again.

The Service Is Fast

Sandwhich on take out paper
Sandwhich on take out paper - Deutschlandreform/Shutterstock

When you need your sandwich, you need it fast and at Jersey Mike's you'll have your sub wrapped and ready in no time at all. Online reviews regularly praise the staff at Jersey Mike's for its friendly, efficient service. Considering how popular the chain is and how busy it can get during rush hour, reviews complimenting its fast service are especially impressive.

And there's no wonder that the service is so speedy when you take a look at what the company is doing to promote such quick turnarounds. It often hosts inter-store competitions where restaurants are put head-to-head to win the National Sub-making Competition. The winning team in 2018 (congratulations to you, Port St. Lucie, Florida, team) took home $30,000 after they made a sub from scratch in just over one minute; 70 seconds to be precise. With a prize like that dangling like a carrot to work towards, your sub order is the warm-up round for a team getting trained up to win some big bucks. You'll be walking out of the door with your perfectly made sandwich in hand before you can say "Mike's way".

There's Always A Deal To Be Had

Jersey Mike's sandwich cut into four
Jersey Mike's sandwich cut into four - Jersey Mike's

One of the biggest criticisms of Jersey Mike's is the price of the subs. When compared to Subway, there is no denying that it is a touch more on the costly side. In fact, you can expect to be charged about 30% more than you would pay for a sandwich at Subway. But, as we've explained, you're paying for the elevated quality, size, freshness and service at Jersey Mike's.

Still, it's always good to be a bit savvy with the cents, and luckily there are a couple of hacks that can make your next order at Jersey Mike's even more palatable. The chain is constantly running some kind of promotion for its MyMike's Members. No such thing as a free lunch, right? Wrong. Turns out that all you've got to do is sign up to the app and you'll get a free regular sub on your birthday (plus a 16oz soft drink to wash it down with). Now that's the kind of birthday present we'd be happy unwrapping. Throughout the year, the chain will often spring exciting deals on its customers, too. $2 off any sub, double point days and free delivery months, there's always a deal to be had that will look after your wallet as much as it will your stomach.

Read the original article on Mashed.