Lively music, friendly greetings, a gleaming surfboard on one wall, good smells and an array of sub meats, bread and condiments greet the customers at one of the newest casual eateries in Bartlett, Jersey Mike’s Subs at 7780 U.S. 64, Suite 108.
They are Bartlett residents and wanted to bring their business to his hometown, Jeff said. The couple say they are happy with the company they chose for their enterprise. Jeff said first learned about it through his brother-in-law, who owns about 10 such restaurants in Chicago.
“The more you know about this company, the more you like it,” he said.
All Jersey Mike’s are in the middle of a company-wide movement that sweeps through every March: The Month of Giving. The chain – known for its fresh-sliced and fresh-grilled subs – is partnering with more than 200 charities.
Throughout the month, Jersey Mike’s will invite customers to eat a sub and donate to the location’s designated charity. Then on Wednesday, March 27, all locations will donate their resources and every single dollar that comes in to local charities. (See the list of charity partners at jerseymikes.com/mog/charities.) Last year, the corporation raised more than $6 million.
This year, the Bartlett and Olive Branch restaurants will benefit Healing Hearts Child Advocacy Center, which helps neglected and abused children in DeSoto County.
During their Jan. 9-13 opening celebrations in Bartlett, they also handed out thousands of cards for free subs in exchange for $2 donations to a designated charity. The restaurant gave all of that money, $2,400, to Bartlett City Schools for their athletics and art departments.
The quality of the food is the main attraction, the Hoovers say. Their top-sellers are the original Italian sub #13 with five meats and the famous Philly cheesesteak, #17.
“The other thing that sets us apart is when we’re trained, we’re trained to be professionals at what we do,” he said. “So when you come in and say, ‘Hey, I’d like to get that #13,’ we’re going to suggest that you get it ‘Mike’s Way.’”
For the uninitiated, signs throughout the restaurant explain that this means with onions, lettuce, tomato, red wine vinegar, olive oil, oregano and salt.
“If you get it that way, you’re going to be happy – overwhelmingly,” Jeff said. “So we suggest it that way, because we want you to be overwhelmed. And happy.”
He mentioned that they trim, tie and roast their roast beef on the premises, offering the freshest selections, and the meats used are proprietary, prepared for Jersey Mike’s only. The selections include lesser-known selections like prosciuttini (peppered ham) and cappacuolo (paprika-spiced ham). Bread is baked on site and produce is prepped every morning. Every sub is made to order, with the bread sliced, meats grilled and sandwiches dressed in front of the customer.
Jeff said he appreciates how every Jersey Mike’s offers consistent quality. “If you go to Miami or you go to Seattle or you go to New Jersey or if you go to Bartlett, Tenn., you’re going to get the same cheesesteak, and that means something. It doesn’t matter the Jersey Mike’s you walk into – you’re going to get a great product.”
Annie explained that even on the restaurant’s busiest days (Thursday through Sunday), they have a sandwich preparation line that strives to “move ’em on through” as quickly as possible while also enjoying friendly and relaxed conversations with the customers.
Jeff explained, “If you were waiting in line at the grocery store and you saw an old friend you hadn’t seen in two years and you talked to them for 10 minutes, and then you were the next one in line, you didn’t wait in line – you had a conversation with a friend for 10 minutes. So if you wait in this line for eight minutes and the whole time we’re laughing and singing and having a good time, not in spite of you, but with you, all of a sudden you’re not waiting – you’re just watching the show.”
Annie added, “A lot of people say that, ‘You guys put on a show. It’s fun to watch everybody.’”
Jeff added, “When you’re trained, you’re not just trained how to make a sandwich. You’re trained about the culture that Peter Cancro (Jersey Mike’s founder and CEO) has established and continues – about the giving, the helping one another.”
Their corporate entity, JCH Enterprises, includes Jeff and Annie; his sister, Mary Ellen Cunningham, and her husband, Mark; and Jeff’s brother-in-law, Jim Shipman, and his wife, Janet. The corporate name uses the initials of Jeff’s father, who died in 1999. Jeff said, “He was an inspiration to everybody he met, I believe.”
The Hoovers said they want their customers to know they work 75 hours weekly and open the restaurant themselves six days a week. And they live just minutes away and can be back quickly if needed.
Business hours at the Bartlett location are 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday through Saturday, and the restaurant currently offers takeout and catering with plans to partner with Uber Eats eventually for deliveries. The restaurant seats about 40 customers and employs about 20 people, mostly Bartlett High students. There is a “Shore Points” loyalty program for return customers. For more information about the Bartlett location, call (901) 701-6464. See more information at jerseymikes.com.