I Tried A Publix Sub Vs. Jersey Mike's & Settled The Ultimate East Coast Sandwich Debate

Choosing the winner was harder than I thought it would be.

​Associate Editor, Jenna Kelley, with a Publix Sub and a Jersey Mike's Sub. Right: A Jersey Mike's sub.
Florida Associate Editor

Associate Editor, Jenna Kelley, with a Publix Sub and a Jersey Mike's Sub. Right: A Jersey Mike's sub.

Jenna Kelley | Narcity

This Review article is part of a Narcity Media series. The views expressed are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.

As a true Floridian, Publix subs are near and dear to my heart, so it came as a surprise when a Jersey Mike's recently opened right by the famous grocery store.

I did some research, because, well, let's be honest — sandwiches are a pretty big deal. The rivalry deli company is from New Jersey but has locations across the U.S.

The beloved grocery chain stays true to the South and doesn't branch much outside of its regional roots. So, while many people don't get to try the beauty of a Pub Sub, I decided to do the ultimate taste test of the East Coast.

...And, between us, I happen to really like Jersey Mike's. In order to make the debate extremely fair I got the exact same ingredients at both places, and if you're an avid sandwich eater, you know there's typically a specific order at your favorite place.

Sacrifices were made today. Let the sub-wars begin.

The Jersey Mike's Experience

Upon my arrival at the NJ shop, there was excellent customer service. The employees were nice and they were ready for the line that was forming during the lunch rush.

I got a Turkey and Provolone, but I substituted the provolone for swiss cheese as a personal preference.

A very simple and easy order for the shop is getting it "Mike's Way". The sandwich artist automatically knows it's lettuce, tomato, onion, oil and vinegar and salt and pepper. I added pickles because it's one of my favorite ingredients.

The sub making process at Jersey Mike's.The sub making process at Jersey Mike's.Jenna Kelley | Narcity

Then, I paid through a touch screen and headed to Publix.

The Publix Deli Experience

There's something that happens to you as a Floridian when you see the big green sign and smell all the smells of the bakery, deli and, of course, their fried chicken.

I headed straight to the deli and built my sub. I built it the same way as the Jersey Mike's sandwich so that I didn't cheat, though I usually get a wrap or a chicken tender sub.

Publix puts their sandwiches in thin paper, so the woman who kindly made my food double-wrapped the meal so the oil and vinegar didn't spill all over the bag.

Sandwich Verdict

The difference in sandwiches was slight, but it changed everything. Of course, the same ingredients were used in both, so it didn't taste drastically opposite but there were key components to each one.

Jersey Mike's presentation was all around better. You can see below on the right-hand side, it gives more of a commercial-ready look, whereas Publix's looks like it was shoved into the bread.

A Publix sub. Right: A Jersey Mike's sub.A Publix sub. Right: A Jersey Mike's sub.Jenna Kelley | Narcity

The number one component, however, was the bread. Jersey Mike's had a flaky fluffy coat and Publix uses the kind that has more of a crunch with a soft interior. If I had to poorly compare the two, one reminded me of Pillsbury dough and the other was like a French bread roll.

The ingredients at Publix also tasted fresher. I think the bread was what complimented this well. As you bit down on the bread, you were able to squeeze out the delicious juices from the tomatoes all the way down to the thick-cut turkey meat. It was all in the crunch.

Jersey Mike's was a softer more basic chew.

I think the NJ-originated eatery wins for customer experience, though overall meal, Publix Subs take the crown.

It's partially the reason why it's practically ingrained in Florida's culture. We might not be known for our sandwiches, but we do make a mean cuisine!

Jenna Kelley
Florida Associate Editor
Jenna Kelley was an Associate Editor for Narcity’s USA Desk focused on trends and celebrities in Florida and is based in Miami-Fort Lauderdale in Florida.