To make it with sandwiches in downtown Lincoln, a store needs a hook. For the new Jersey Mike’s Subs, its the in-store baked bread.
The hoagie roll not only tastes good, but is hearty, remaining solid after piled full of meats, cheeses and other ingredients.
Even “The Juice” -- the store’s red wine vinegar and olive oil blend -- soaks into it rather than through the big roll.
“They tell us the secret’s all in the water,” said Ross Olsbo, who with Jeffrey Marcotte and Daniel Markel, opened Nebraska’s first Jersey Mike’s on Dec. 12 in the new building at 210 N. 14th St.
Started at the Jersey Shore in 1956, the sandwich shop is known for its authentic, made-to-order East Coast-style subs made “Mike’s Way” with onions, lettuce, tomatoes, spices and “The Juice.”
The menu also includes six hot subs, including the customer favorite Big Kahuna Cheese Steak, with grilled onions, peppers, mushrooms and jalapenos, and five wraps.
“When we were looking at the Jersey Mike’s concept, everyone told me, ‘You’ve got to try this sub!’ and after my first bite of the Big Kahuna Cheese Steak, I fell in love,” Olsbo said.
The bread -- wheat or white -- with its crusty outside and firm, soft crumb is a definite draw, as are Jersey Mike’s prices.
A regular sub, ranging from 6 to 8 inches, costs between $5.75 and $7.25 and is plenty for a meal, especially since Jersey Mike’s staff piles on the deli-sliced meats, cheeses and other ingredients.
I ordered a regular Jersey Shore Favorite (Ham, cappacuolo and provolone), made "Mike’s Way." I added chips and a 22-ounce drink for $2.29 more, putting the final total just over $8. I really didn’t need the chips. The sandwich was big enough by itself.
Jersey Mike’s also features mini ($4.65 to $5.25) and giant ($10.45 to $12.45) sandwiches. Grade: B
Located in one of the new buildings on 14th Street, the new sandwich shop boasts a Jersey seaside theme, with references to the Jersey shore, including a surfboard hanging on one wall.
The counter is at the back of the store, with a beverage station along one wall. The dining room is big and includes several high-def TVs programmed to various sporting events. Grade: C+
Jersey Mike’s features an assembly line, with customers ordering at one end of the counter and picking up and paying at the other end.
In between, sliced meats and cheeses are piled with ingredients and "Juice" (red wine vinegar and olive oil) on sub rolls or tortillas.
Hot subs and wraps are prepared behind the counter and delivered to waiting customers.
Jersey Mike’s is as fast and efficient as its competitors. Grade: B
This isn’t the place for vegetarians, unless you’re drawn to the bread. There’s only one sandwich listed under the cold subs, one under the wraps and none under the hot subs.
My co-worker, Cory, ordered the grilled veggie wrap ($6.95), which featured peppers and onions with melted provolone and Swiss cheeses, lettuce, tomato and ranch dressing. He chose the spinach tortilla from the four available (spinach, flour, tomato basil and wheat). Grade: D