Who has the best hoagies? Eastside decides

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Photo by Karissa Murray

Eastside debates which restaurant has the best hoagies

Hoagies are a South Jersey staple, practically available everywhere in the region. In honor of this area favorite, Eastside endeavored to answer one burning question: what establishment has the best hoagie in the Cherry Hill area?

The Process: In a competition between five contenders, six ‘food critics’ took it upon themselves to find out which restaurant serves the best Italian hoagie. To make the process as objective as possible, the critics were unaware of the restaurant that each hoagie came from. The five places the critics sampled were Chick’s Deli; Jersey Joe’s Hoagies, Sandwiches & Pizza; Jersey Mike’s Subs; Primo Hoagies and Wawa.

The critics were Remy Abrams (‘21), Max Gaffin (‘22), Jacob Kernis (‘20), Giana Maccarella (‘20), Andrew Maier (‘20) and Sarah Zheng (‘20). The hoagies were cut into six different pieces and each judge was given a piece of the hoagie. The critics judged the hoagies based on the following categories: aesthetics, smell, flavor and freshness. All the categories were given the same weight, and the critics ranked each hoagie from one to five, with one being the best. The individual rankings were then averaged to find the order of the hoagies.

The Results: The results of the overall ranking from last to first place were as follows: Chick’s Deli, Wawa, Primo Hoagies, Jersey Joe’s and Jersey Mike’s.

In last place was Chick’s Deli, coming in just below Wawa. Chick’s Deli was favored by a few of the judges for its cheesesteaks, but its Italian hoagie was a letdown to them.

Maccarella had an especially strong opinion towards this Italian hoagie. She said, “No, no, I do not like this one. There is too much meat compared to everything else on it, but the bread is alright. It tasted like there was bologna in it and that is just the grossest lunch meat to me, personally, I was not a fan.”

Abrams agreed, noting that “it seems fresh and the bread is good, but there is a lot going on, there is too much meat.”

Zheng had a different opinion on this hoagie. Even though it was not her favorite, she believed that the bread and cheese seemed fresh and there was a good balance of lettuce, tomato and onion.

In fourth place was the Wawa Hoagie. There were mixed reviews on this hoagie.

The judges were disappointed with the lettuce distribution on the hoagie. Abrams, Maccarella and Zheng said that they had too much lettuce whereas Maier and Gaffin missed out on the lettuce almost entirely.

Another controversy was over the bread. Abrams and Maccarella wished that the bread was softer and fresher.

Kernis disagreed on this issue and said, “I liked the bread, I enjoy the little bit of crunch. There was a lot of lettuce but the meat and the tomatoes were fresh.”

The consensus of the group was expressed by Abrams, who said, “the hoagie was eh, I have had better and I have had worse, it’s alright.”

In third place was Primo Hoagies. The judges liked this one much more than the other two; however, they believed it was a little too oily. All of the critics agreed that unlike the others, this hoagie had a kick to it . The extra spice was enjoyed by all, but Gaffin wished he could have reduced the amount of cheese. Zheng was quick to jump to Primo Hoagies’ defense by arguing that there can never really be too much cheese. Maccarella quickly agreed with Zheng on the cheese.

Abrams said, “The bread is good, but it does not complement the sandwich, it would be better in a different sandwich.”

this hoagie is kind of like the restaurant, Buddakan: it is really good and fancy. It seems like this one would be more expensive than the others.”

— Max Gaffin ('22)

In a very close second place was Jersey Mike’s. Everyone really enjoyed this hoagie and believed it was the most professionally done and the most aesthetically pleasing.

Jersey Mike’s was a favorite among the group and Gaffin had an interesting analogy to show why this hoagie was superior to the others.

He said, “this is a Buddakan.”

The other judges gave him a confused look, so he elaborated by saying “this hoagie is kind of like the restaurant, Buddakan: it is really good and fancy. It seems like this one would be more expensive than the others.”

He also went on to say that “the tomatoes seem so fresh that my grandma could have grown these in her backyard” and then in an exciting moment, dropped his favorite hoagie on the floor.

The winner of the battle of the Italian hoagie was Jersey Joe’s. To the surprise of the judges after the fact, their favorite or second favorite hoagie was from a place that they initially disregarded.

“I was surprised with myself that I liked this hoagie the best,” said Abrams. Maccarella said, “This looks great. It looks like it might slap.”

Later after taking a bite, she raved over the Jersey Joe’s hoagie and commended the restaurant on its achievement in this department.

All of the judges agreed and uttered many “mms” to signal their acknowledgment so they could continue eating their hoagie in peace.

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Abrams commented on the appearance and how well this hoagie stayed together compared to the others. Maier thought that the seasoning made this hoagie really good and the bread was the best out of all of them. Zheng added to the discussion by talking about how it was the perfect mix of all the ingredients: not one part of the hoagie overpowered the other; instead each part complemented each other.

After eating parts of five different Italian hoagies from five different restaurants, the eating event concluded and some judges felt extremely full from the various hoagies; however, Zheng said, “Why am I still hungry?”

The next time you feel a hankering for an Italian hoagie, these six critics recommend a trip to Jersey Joe’s. Do you agree with Eastside’s rankings? Let us know by emailing us at [email protected]