The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Jersey Mike's Lands in Chicago

By John DiGilio in Food on Jan 12, 2011 4:20PM

2011_1_DiGilio_JerseyMikesLogo.jpgChicagoans are a hearty bunch in the winter, but it is odd to find them lined up outside on a snowy weekday waiting for lunch. Imagine our surprise yesterday to find just such a queue of hungry patrons on Wells Street in the Loop. It seems that two storms were unleashed on the downtown yesterday. One was a product of Father Winter and the other was caused by the grand opening of Jersey Mike's Subs. Judging by the throng of eager eaters, it was a grand opening indeed.

Jersey Mike's is known its for "East Coast" style sandwiches. Take, for instance, the Famous Philly Cheese Steak, with its copious helping of grilled onions and peppers, or the thick layering of provolone, ham, and capicola that is affectionately known as the Jersey Shore's Favorite. Sammy fans will find quite a list of both hot and cold subs from which to choose. For those seeking lighter fare, Jersey Mike's offers a number of wraps, salads, and even the breadless "Sub in a Tub". Most of the sandwiches come "Mike's Way", meaning that they are heaped with onions, lettuce, tomato, red wine vinegar, olive oil and spices. It's a combination that would make any paesano salivate.

Having heard from several suburbanites that they have already been enjoying Jersey Mike's outside the city, we decided to take a place in line to see what all the hubbub was about. Thankfully, the staff were moving like a well-oiled machine on opening day. We sampled the Albacore Tuna Fish sub as well as The Veggie. The tuna salad, made fresh on the premises, was delicious and very filling. The fillings in our meatless choice were fairly standard (lettuce, tomato, onions, green peppers) with just the right amount of oomph added by the swiss cheese, vinegar and oil. With so many sub shops around the city, the sandwich experience can be rather run of the mill. That was not the case here. Our visit was an unexpected and pleasant surprise. The flavor and quality we found at Jersey Mike's definitely warrants a return trip.

Cranking out subs since 1956, this is Jersey Mike's first downtown Chicago location and it is in a great spot. Fans of the former Salad Spinners will be pleased to know that the once bustling space near the corner of Wells and Monroe is no longer vacant. It is again churning out tasty fare for the time-challenged lunch crowd. If you are looking for something fast, flavorful and new in the Loop, perhaps it is time you got a little Jersey in you. If nothing else, for just a little while you can imagine you are on a sunny Atlantic shore as the Chicago winter blows coldly around you.

Jersey Mikes Subs is located at 200 West Monroe Street, on the Wells Street side of the building.