Picking up right where we left off after the last Sub[way] Series column, here’s a look at three more places people just love to visit for subs. Like last time, I have selected two to definitely try, and one to avoid. We have a mix of chains as well as a local shop.
Do: Jersey Mike’s
Jersey Mike’s is a favorite among many promoting the Jersey name invading areas outside the Garden State. The stores themselves are very appealing and simple to figure out. A giant, easy-to-read menu usually stretches wall to wall. They’re known for having subs built “Mike’s Way” which includes onions, lettuce, tomatoes, an olive oil blend, and finished with red wine vinegar and an array of spices. I’m not one for tomatoes but the rest is okay. Just a tad bit expensive to go casually, but Jersey Mike’s offers rewards points to build over multiple visits to eventually get a free sandwich. I always find the toppings and cold cuts extremely fresh, but they do tend to run a bit dry. Proportionally, everything is piled well but the bread just seems too dry and stale at times to bring everything together as a whole. Service is top-notch and they always cater to the customer, so as an overall sandwich experience, Jersey Mike’s earns a 4 out of 5 stars.
Do: Slater’s Deli (Leonardo, NJ)
Slater’s is probably the most welcoming eatery on this list. A family-owned establishment, it seems like the people behind the counter remember all of their customers. Known to go above and beyond with their food, everything gets piled high and stuffed to capacity. Their giant pork roll sandwiches were ranked top three in all of New Jersey. They are legendary. My sandwiches always seem to get a whole pound of cold cuts, with handfuls of shredded lettuce and condiments. As great as this may seem, sometimes less is more. Imagine a double cheeseburger with no cheese or tons of chicken nuggets without sauce. It seems to dry and weird to eat without it. They put a ton of turkey on the sub I usually get, but not nearly enough mayo or oil and vinegar. While delicious, I find it hard to eat as it is a lot of cold cuts with limited condiments. I always just add more when I go home, so it isn’t the end of the world. Especially when it comes to the prices. The warm welcomes and the smiling guys behind the counter help earn Slater’s a respectable 4 out of 5 stars.
I’d rather eat my own foot than step inside a Subway. There is nothing fresh in their “Eat Fresh” mantra. Starting off, they let you pick the type of bread you would like but that just means selecting the color because the plastic loaves all taste the same. But fear not, friends! The bread is hot and fresh! Yeah, too hot. It condenses the hell out of the wrapper making it a soggy mess. Oh god: now you’re forced to choose the three slivers of cold cuts you want on your colored bread. I swear on all that is good and holy, when you close this hack job it just looks like a roll with nothing in it but air. That’s how people lose weight eating this crap. The now Jared-less commercials feature sandwiches BURSTING with the glistening fresh ingredients just waiting to be devoured. I’ve never been so disappointed in my life. No you can’t leave yet—you now have to select the triangle of cheese to go with your ounce of meat. While it may fit on the bread easier, there is no way that is fresh and/or natural. There are starving lab rats who wouldn’t eat that abomination. The overall finished product is a botched arts and crafts project. This dump gets a generous gift of 1 out of 5 stars. Generous because I can’t give them a 0.
Hunter Dillon is a guest blogger on Eating New Jersey. As a hockey player, he is always on the go, which has served as the inspiration for his “Casual Crusades” column. He has more than four years of restaurant kitchen experience and can cook up the best cheesesteaks outside of Philadelphia.