Here’s what it’s like to eat at Jimmy John’s, the cult favorite sub sandwich chain that Arby’s parent company just bought

Jimmy John's is known for its speedy, affordable subs made with fresh bread and generous mayo.

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Jimmy John’s is known for its speedy, affordable subs made with fresh bread and generous mayo.
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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

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.

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

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.

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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.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

I was greeted by this sign that puts God, America, and sandwiches on what appears to be the Dutch national flag. Odd, but ok.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

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.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

They also sold yesterday’s bread for 47 cents. I thought this was a nice touch.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

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.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

You can choose from three kinds of bread: French, 9-grain, or thick-sliced wheat. Lettuce is also an option. I chose 9-grain.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

All of Jimmy John’s sandwiches are fairly basic and customizable. There are two sizes: 8-inch and 16-inch, which certainly outdoes Subway. I ordered an 8-inch Italian Night Club sandwich.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

My sandwich artist cut me a fresh length of bread and sliced it open.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

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.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

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.

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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.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Read more: I ate at MOD Pizza, America’s fastest-growing restaurant chain, and saw why it’s miles ahead of the competition


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 $15.41 before tax. The sandwich itself was eight dollars — a dollar per inch.

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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.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

I poured myself a diet Coke and sat down at one of the two counter seats at the window.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

The Italian Night Club is comprised of salami, capicola, ham, provolone, onion, lettuce, tomato, mayo, oil and vinegar, and oregano-basil.

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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.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

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 flavor 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 flavor.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Read more: I just ate at Texas Roadhouse for the first time, and it lived up to the hype


My pickle was gargantuan and came sliced lengthwise in two.

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It was crunchy, tart, and lightly seasoned. What more could you want from a pickle?

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Jimmy John’s is the only sandwich chain I’ve been to that sells its own brand of chips. There are three flavors: original, BBQ, and salt and vinegar. I got salt and vinegar.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

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.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

There was just something about this Jimmy John’s sandwich that made me want to keep eating. It was flavorful, well-balanced, and unchallenging.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

But alas, I had one more thing to try.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Jimmy John’s sells two kinds of cookies: raisin and triple chocolate chunk. I went for the chocolate.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Best decision I’ve ever made, cookie-wise.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

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


The triple chocolate chunk cookie has Ghirardelli chocolate chips and bits of white chocolate as well. The packaging excitedly specifies, “made with REAL butter.”

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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.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

It was sweet, rich, and very buttery. Delectable. I imagine it’d taste even better after 10 seconds in a microwave.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

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.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

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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Irene Jiang / Business Insider