- Sub sandwiches are a popular, cheap, and speedy lunch option.
- Sandwich chain Jimmy John’s will be acquired by Inspire Brands, which owns Arby’s and Sonic, Inspire announced Wednesday.
- I went to a Jimmy John’s in Jersey City, New Jersey to see what eating there is like, and my experience convinced me that Inspire Brands made a smart bet.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
It’s lunchtime. You have twenty minutes and ten bucks. Where do you go?
For many a sub sandwich lover, the answer to that question is Jimmy John’s, a chain known for its speedy, affordable subs made with fresh bread and generous mayo.
On Wednesday, Inspire Brands, the parent company of Arby’s, Sonic, and Buffalo Wild Wings, announced that it will be acquiring Jimmy John’s, making Inspire Brands the fourth-largest restaurant corporation in America.
I went to Jimmy John’s in Jersey City, New Jersey to see what it was like to eat there, and my experience convinced me that Inspire made a solid bet that’s going to pay off.
Jimmy John’s has a small, unassuming corner storefront in Jersey City, New Jersey. It’s the only location near New York City. As I started taking pics, an employee inside smiled and waved at me.
The space was compact and clearly built for delivery and takeout. There were only two seats in the place. There were two people working in the shop until one went out to make a delivery.
I was greeted by this sign that puts God, America, and sandwiches on what appears to be the Dutch national flag. Odd, but OK.
The guy behind the counter explained that the bread is made fresh multiple times a day. “We don’t make sandwiches with bread that’s older than four hours,” he told me.
They also sold yesterday’s bread for 47 cents. I thought this was a nice touch.
The guy behind the counter took pride in explaining to me that all their ingredients were fresh, locally sourced, and/or high quality. All Jimmy John’s use Hellman’s mayonnaise, and tons of it.
You can choose from three kinds of bread: French, 9-grain, or thick-sliced wheat. Lettuce is also an option. I chose 9-grain.
All of Jimmy John’s sandwiches are fairly basic and customisable. There are two sizes: 8-inch and 16-inch, which certainly outdoes Subway. I ordered an 8-inch Italian Night Club sandwich.
My sandwich artist cut me a fresh length of bread and sliced it open.
He spread on two very generous scoops of mayo. Mayo is the primary thing that I associate Jimmy John’s with from my trips during my high school days.
The entire process was so fast I could barely keep up with my camera. My sandwich artist explained that speed is king. He told me that about 70% of the store’s business comes from delivery, with the remaining 30% being pick-up and sit-down customers.
He seemed to really take pride in his work and was eager to explain every aspect of the sandwich-making process to me. He told me that the store’s produce is sliced every morning, while the meats are all-natural.
I got a drink, a pickle, salt and vinegar chips, and a triple chocolate chunk cookie to go with my sandwich. The total for everything came to $US15.41 before tax. The sandwich itself was eight dollars — a dollar per inch.
My sandwich artist told me to take a picture of a sign advertising the Little John, which is a new smaller version of a classic Jimmy John’s sub sandwich.
I poured myself a diet Coke and sat down at one of the two counter seats at the window.
The Italian Night Club is comprised of salami, capicola, ham, provolone, onion, lettuce, tomato, mayo, oil and vinegar, and oregano-basil.
I was a huge fan of the 9-grain bread. It was fresh, chewy, and slightly sweet. There were bits of grain that made for a varied and interesting texture.
It was also the perfect throne for the ingredients of the sandwich: salty deli meats, tart and fatty seasonings, and refreshingly crunchy shredded lettuce. The mayo is the most distinctive flavour and brings out the “yum” in everything else, but I was also impressed by the quality of the deli meat. The provolone? Eh. But whatever, it didn’t need to add much flavour.
My pickle was gargantuan and came sliced lengthwise in two.
It was crunchy, tart, and lightly seasoned. What more could you want from a pickle?
Jimmy John’s is the only sandwich chain I’ve been to that sells its own brand of chips. There are three flavours: original, BBQ, and salt and vinegar. I got salt and vinegar.
These were basic but well-done. They were crunchy, salty, and slightly acidic, although I’ve had more vinegary chips. Still, they were quite satisfying.
There was just something about this Jimmy John’s sandwich that made me want to keep eating. It was flavorful, well-balanced, and unchallenging.
But alas, I had one more thing to try.
Jimmy John’s sells two kinds of cookies: raisin and triple chocolate chunk. I went for the chocolate.
Best decision I’ve ever made, cookie-wise.
The triple chocolate chunk cookie has Ghirardelli chocolate chips and bits of white chocolate as well. The packaging excitedly specifies, “made with REAL butter.”
It was kind of tough — the cookies are prepackaged, after all. It didn’t have the soft/crispy texture of a fresh-baked cookie. But that doesn’t mean it didn’t taste good.
It was sweet, rich, and very buttery. Delectable. I imagine it’d taste even better after 10 seconds in a microwave.
Everything I ate was cheap and delicious. The guys behind the counter were genuinely friendly and great at their jobs. I was so impressed by how hospitable they were to other customers, all while getting them their sandwiches at breakneck speed.
I left with a deeper understanding of what makes Jimmy John’s such a powerful brand. It’s hard not to love a chain serving speedy, delicious food at an affordable price.
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