EAT & DRINK
GRE W UP IN
Founder and CEO
of Jersey Mike’s,
restaurant chain he
launched in Point
Pleasant Beach in
1975 as a 17-year-
old high school
Jersey Mike’s has
1, 100 locations in
the U.S. and t wo
new outlets in
Australia, its first international venture.
Cancro plans to
open another 1,000
stores by 2020.
THE IN TERVIEW
We caught up with
Cancro at the original Jersey Mike’s
in Point Plesasant
Beach. The chain
is celebrating its
;;AT JERSEY MIKE’S WITH...
You got your first job at the Jer-
sey Mike’s here in Point Pleasant
Beach in 1971 as a 14-year-old.
Back then it was called Mike’s
Subs. You bought the place three
years later. I was going to go to
Chapel Hill to study law, but I
bought a sub shop instead.
Do you remember making your
first sub? It was Memorial Day
weekend. I made a number 2
(provolone, ham and capicola)
and a number 5 (provolone, ham,
prosciuttini and capicola). You
couldn’t slice until you were 18,
so I was illegal. I couldn’t use the
slicer. When I bought the store, I
was still sprinkling and wrapping.
Sprinkling? Sprinkling means
dressing the sub with lettuce
and tomato, red wine vinegar
and olive oil. No one around the
country was doing that. But that’s
what it means to be an authentically Jersey sub.
In 1987, you started franchising
and changed the name to Jersey
Mike’s. Why not Jersey Pete’s?
Because it was Mike’s place, and
everything that we’ve taken for-
ward I learned in that store.
But you bought the place in 1975
from a guy named Frank. The
original Mike opened the place in
1956. He passed away. I still see
Frank. We just shake our heads
and laugh a little bit about what’s
happened with the business. And
we’re all known as Mike. Even
people who really know me will
say, “Michael, how are you?”
Back to what makes Jersey
Or not! California has more Jersey
Mike’s so Jersey. Is it just the
sprinkling? When people get a
Jersey sub around the country,
they expect the quantity and
quality of the product. And
they expect the juice, which is
what we call it. That’s the olive
oil, the vinegar, the onions, the
lettuce and tomato, the fresh
sliced meat. Subs aren’t made
that way, fresh to order, other
places....If you want the best sub,
you go to Jersey.
Mike’s stores than New Jersey.
Yes, California has our largest
number, 200. In New Jersey
we have about 35. But we’re
turning to our backyard
to grow now. You’re going
to see a lot more Jersey
Mike’s coming to the
towns of North Jersey.
That means a lot more
the hardest thing to
teach new trainees? The
hardest thing is teaching people
to be genuine, to be themselves.
Just to be real and to give great
When you took over the busi-
ness in 1975, you committed to
giving back to the community.
It’s our mission statement and it’s
on our cups. Every year we have a
Day of Giving, the last Wednesday
of every March, where 100 percent of sales are donated to a local
charity. This year we’re giving to
180 different charities across the
country, and every single franchi-
see is on board.
Do you pitch in with the sub-
making on the Day of Giving?
I still make subs, yeah. Faster
What’s your specialty? I make
one called the Cancro Special.
That’s off the menu, but it’s
provolone, roast beef and a little
pepperoni. If you’re a die-hard,
you know about it.
—Tammy La Gorce
Istillmake subs…fasterthan anyone.