Jersey Mike’s and State College: A Match Made in Cold Cut Heaven

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Before Jersey Shore made Snooki a household name, my hometown’s claim to fame was Jersey Mike’s. The first Jersey Mike’s (which I’ll affectionately call J.Mike’s from this point on) was opened in 1956 in good ol’ Point Pleasant, New Jersey, just a few blocks from my house. Since then, the chain has spread not only throughout the Jersey Shore but nationally, with the newest and most important location obviously being right here in State College.

I grew up on J.Mike’s subs–mostly because it took me about 3 minutes to walk there, but also because they’re really freaking good. We all know what food snobs Jersey people can be, but I can assure you that J.Mike’s will not disappoint here at Penn State. Here’s why you should be excited about their Grand Opening tomorrow:

  • They’re giving away free subs! Kinda. If you bring in a fundraising coupon and donate at least $1 to The Four Diamonds Fund, you’ll get a free “regular” sub. (“Regular” being a typical 6-7 inch sub)
  • They call their sandwiches “subs”. As they should. None of this hoagie or grinder business. Unless we’re talking about Wawa hoagies, but that’s a whole other discussion.
  • They know how to make a true Italian sub. These are hard to come by in central Pennsylvania. Embrace it.
  • If you’re trying to go lo-carb, or just don’t like bread, they offer wrap options and a “Sub in a Tub” which is the sub without the bread. (Think Chipotle’s “Burrito Bowl” but for a sub)
  • And if you are into the bread scene you won’t be disappointed. The bread is what makes J.Mike’s subs are so amazing.
  • They have chipotle mayo. ‘Nuff said.
Being that I am a seasoned J.Mike’s veteran, here are my recommendations, order-wise, for all you first timers:
  • My personal favorite is a #3, called “Jersey Shore’s Favorite”, and includes Provolone, ham and cappacuolo.
  • The “Original Italian” is always a winner (as mentioned before).
  • The “Famous Roast Beef and Provolone”
  • Surprisingly, the Tuna Fish is usually awesome, but this could easily not ring true here, depending on how they make it–the mayo to tuna ratio could go horribly wrong–so I would investigate that situation before you dive right into the tuna.
  • Vegetarians, I’m gonna be honest, their “Veggie” sub really isn’t that impressive, so I would suggest you just craft your own combo. They never used to give me a hard time when I would do it. But then again, why would I be eating at J.Mike’s if I were a vegetarian? Alas..
  • Most importantly, order it “Mike’s Way”, with with onions, lettuce, tomatoes, vinegar, oil and spices.

Photo By: Shawn Inglima

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About Author

Senior. Print Journalism Major, Spanish Minor. My only childhood memory involves me playing with a toy circus car.

20 Comments

  1. I lived in Ohio this past year for work and I would eat from one of these once a week. Great subs!

  2. not thon. the four diamonds fund. the money goes to the same place but thon’s relationship with subway prevented them from taking a major donation from another sub shop

  3. Michelle Allmon on

    Hey Maggie! I’m a vegetarian and I grew up on Jersey Mikes, too! ;D 

    I just read about this yesterday and I’m so excited I could scream! I grew up in Point Pleasant Beach & Bricktown, and I haven’t had a Jersey Mike’s sub in probably 20 years. It was my FAVORITE food and I’ve been jonesing for years! My taste buds are freaking out right now!

  4. Michelle Allmon on

    Not really – if a B&N moved in next door to them and put them out of business, THAT would be replacing Webster’s. They are just occupying a space. You’re missing out. 

  5. Wrong.  It’s delicious and amazing.  Was that an educated comment? Try it out and see what you think!

  6. RULES OF THUMB:

    1) If a restaurant uses the word “philly” in the name of the cheesesteak: It’s going to suck. It’s like saying French french-bread. Cheese steaks where created in Philly.

    2) In Philadelphia & New Jersey, it’s a hoagie. Philadelphia is where its name came from (Hog Island). Claiming to be from “Jersey” and calling it anything else just makes it easier to identify a crappy sandwich/sub/grinder/ect..

  7. Jersey Mikes would be the best sandwich/sub/grinder/hoagie you can get in any place south of the Mason-dixon line, or west of Pittsburgh.

    Unfortunitly, at a school that is made up of mostly Philly/Philly-suburbs/NJ students….they’ll see thru this place by the end of next week. 

    It’s just a Jimmie Johns/Subway with more specific (read: Limited) offerings.