I ate at Jersey Mike’s for the first time and saw why it’s America’s favorite sandwich chain

I went to the Jersey Mike's in Hoboken, New Jersey, to see why it's America's favorite sandwich chain.

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I went to the Jersey Mike’s in Hoboken, New Jersey, to see why it’s America’s favorite sandwich chain.
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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Jersey Mike’s was named America’s favorite sandwich chain in a recent Market Force survey, beating out last year’s champion, the convenience store Wawa.

The survey, which included responses from more than 7,600 people, found that respondents also preferred Jersey Mike’s to Subway, Arby’s, Panera, Jimmy John’s, and Firehouse Subs. Jersey Mike’s ranked especially high for food quality, staff friendliness, and value for money spent.

I’ve never eaten at a Jersey Mike’s, although I’ve eaten many times at competing restaurants. Subway was my go-to for a cheap, quick, and reasonably healthy meal throughout college, and Panera was my splurge version of that. So where does Jersey Mike fit in?

Read more: I tried the growing cult-favorite California chain that makes the ‘best burger in America’ – here’s the verdict

I decided to see what all the hubbub was for myself. With my trusty camera and a handful of lactose pills, I took the PATH train to Hoboken, New Jersey, and trekked to the nearest Jersey Mike’s.

I was not prepared for what I was about to experience.


As I approached Jersey Mike’s, I noticed a line out the door.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

It turns out I’d come on the day after this store’s opening. No wonder it only had two reviews on Google.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Inside was compact — and packed. Luckily, the line was moving quickly and most people weren’t dining in.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

The sandwich assembly begins in the back, where prep work happens.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

I saw a case full of hams, cheeses, and other deli specialties.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Read more: I taste-tasted the signature breakfast sandwiches from 6 major fast-food chains, and the winner was clear


They were sliced to order at lightning speed and layered onto sandwich bread by one crew member.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Everything happened faster than I could keep track of. My meat-topped bun was passed over to the toppings person, who slapped toppings on with remarkable precision and speed.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Veggies were followed by an overly generous squirt of vinegar.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Next, someone capped my sandwich with its top bun and sliced it in half.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

It was rolled up in the blink of an eye. Every element of the process was speedy and organized, but at no point did I feel like I was being rushed.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

I ordered a roast beef sandwich “Mike’s way,” with pepper relish and a chips-and-drink combo. I also grabbed a pack of sugar cookies from the counter.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

I unwrapped my roast beef sandwich like a child unwrapping the biggest gift at Christmas.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Read more: I tried chicken sandwiches from 8 major chains, and Popeyes’ was a major standout for several reasons


It was soggy and wet at the bottom, but otherwise it was intact.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

It was dripping with vinegar, but I was delighted as I pulled the sandwich apart. The roast beef was rare and marbled, and it couldn’t have been fresher.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

The ingredients were layered together beautifully. I couldn’t believe that such a photogenic sandwich had come together so quickly.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

The bread was chewy, the beef tender, and the veggies fresh and crisp. Nothing felt off, old, or anything less than top quality.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

However, there was definitely too much vinegar. It had soaked through the bottom bun, and unfortunately it also overpowered the flavor of the other ingredients.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Still, this was a new location, and half of the line staff were new and in training. I’ll also just ask for no vinegar next time.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Read more: I tried the signature burgers from 5 major fast-food chains, and the winner was obvious


My meal didn’t end with the sandwich. I had dessert waiting for me: sugar cookies.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

The cookie broke apart as I was trying to take it out of the bag.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

It was buttery soft, rich, and sugary — a solid sugar cookie.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

I understand why Jersey Mike’s draws lines out the door. Those lines move quickly because food is prepared in an efficient assembly line that doesn’t sacrifice friendliness or service. There’s an emphasis on freshness, quality, and convenience. You leave feeling full, balanced, and satisfied.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider