The Tuscaloosa Strip is welcoming its newest tenant Wednesday, as Jersey Mike's is set to officially open this week.

The New Jersey-based sub sandwich shop announced it was coming to the Strip back in February, occupying the space once held by Pita Pit. Landon Corkren, Regional Vice President of Operations for Jersey Mike's, said the Strip is the perfect place to start a franchise of next-level sub sandwiches.

"We'll know based on our grand opening how crazy the game days are going to be," Corkren said, highlighting the tremendous foot traffic the Strip faces each day, especially in the fall. "If we open the store and we're stupid busy when no students are here, I can only imagine like what's going to look like when they get back and game days are going on."

There could have been some anxiety related to the fact that Jersey Mike's will be across-the-street neighbors with one of its biggest national competitors, Jimmy John's. But, franchisee Bret Dunnaway hasn't a doubt in his mind that his sandwiches are, in fact, a sub above.

"It's quality of product," he said. "Everything is sliced to order, we bake bread fresh every day, the produce we slice every day, nothing's pre done. We come in and do it the way it's meant to be done. The oil and vinegar on top of it make the sandwich come alive. So, we know that we have a sub above everybody else; it's just a matter of getting it in somebody's mouth and they'll come back."

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Above all of this, the Jersey Mike's company takes business to the next level with its philanthropic approach to restauranteering.

"Every single location that we have is partnered with a local charity," Corkran said. "The whole first five days after the grand opening, we go out and give out 7,000 free sub cards, in addition to that, making a donation to Big Oak Ranch. The biggest thing for me is raising as much money as we can in these first five days to really make an impact, just like we do in all of our other stores as well."

Dunnaway added that his wife, a University of Alabama alumna, is elated to be back in the City of Champions where she and her husband can give back to their community and provide a service for a good cause.

"She's always wanted to be a part of the community and try to give back, so that's a big part of it," Dunnaway said. "Being involved with Big Oak Ranch, I used to duck hunt with [Executive Director] Brodie [Croyle] when he was playing ball here, so being able to come back and give something to their cause feels good."

The shop also plans to partner with local third-party delivery services like DoorDash, Uber Eats and Postmates to bring their quick, quality sandwiches straight to locals' front doors.

The grand opening is set to take place Wednesday, May 26.

For those who might want a Jersey Mike's a little further away from the university setting, we have good news: a second location is coming to Northport at a later date.

"The specific location cannot be disclosed yet due to some confidentiality but I can say it will be on McFarland Blvd in a brand new building with multiple tenants," said Northport City Council President Jeff Hogg in a Facebook announcement.

Stay connected to The Tuscaloosa Thread for more updates as they become available.

Take an Exclusive Look Inside Tuscaloosa, Alabama's Newest Jersey Mike's Sub Shop

The Tuscaloosa Thread got advanced access to the Jersey Mike's sub shop, which is getting ready for its grand opening Wednesday, May 26, 2021. Check out the interior of the building, located on the Tuscaloosa Strip, and see how one of their spectacular subs gets made. Also, meet some of the staff that will be proud to serve you very soon.

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