Let's be clear--I am no stranger to Jersey Mike's, and it is no stranger to me, either. I started visiting the sub chain's Greenville Ave. location during my circa-2003 stint as a waiter at Plucker's--true story, bros--but my allegiance to their subs endured long after that mercifully short summer.
In fact, I go there so often that when I started heading to the newish West Lovers Lane location, transplants from the Greenville Ave. store recognized my fiance and I as soon as we walked in the door.
Obviously, I'm a little biased. Unfortunately for you guys, I also haven't tried everything on the menu, because I almost always get a #7 with swiss and bacon--an ingredient which one wise Jersey Mike's employee refers to as "God's currency"--on rosemary parmesan (another Jersey Mike's employee once told me he calls this "party bread"--charming no?).
With my own journalistic shortcomings in mind, I dragged a few of my Observer colleagues up the tollway for some subs today, hoping one of them might offer a valid criticism of the joint to balance out my cheerleading. Actually, "dragged" is the wrong word--I just mentioned subs and a six-strong lunch posse assembled in seconds flat.
After a period of sub-scarfing reflection, Jim Schutze--a longtime honorary Dude Fooder thanks to his ability to keep eating off an office popcorn tin long after most people would deem it prudent--was the first to chime in. Apparently no stranger to Jersey Mike's, either, he likes how the employees slice your meat and cheese straight onto your sandwich, a sentiment I heartily agree with. Thanks to this time-honored, old school technique, the sandwich ingredients at Jersey Mike's just taste fresher when compared to similar offerings at places like Subway, Great American Hero and the Great Outdoors.
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Everyone else at the table seemed satisfied as well (including the Girl Drink Drunk, an avid Jersey Mike's fan herself) save for one notable exception: my Dude Food compatriot Jesse Hughey, who proclaimed that his cheesesteak was "a little too greasy." One could easily question his manhood for such a statement, but I'll vouch for his dudeliness and believe him this time.
After all, a bunch of stoner kids made his sandwich, and we all know the inherent risk involved when ordering a multi-component meal from someone who may or may not be high. But it's also a risk worth taking, because stoner kids make the best sandwiches, thanks mostly to their munchie-induced generosity with toppings and general "whatever" attitude towards restaurant managers and ingredient quotas (incidentally, the same risk/reward rules apply at Freebird's, bros).
Luckily, you can only get your basic, classic sandwich ingredients at Jersey Mike's, so you can rest assured that no matter how stoned the employees are, they will never make something as balls-out crazy as this abomination, created by beloved Observer office masochist Patrick Michels.
So, there you have it. Six of us made the trip, and six of us left satisfied (despite his "greasy" sandwich, Jesse was nonetheless won over by Jersey Mike's sweet tea, the other non-sandwich reason for my continued patronage). Not bad for a bunch of stoners, huh?