JVG_210401_JERSEY01

JANESVILLE

The submarine sandwich soon will return to a former sandwich shop along the Humes Road restaurant strip on Janesville’s northeast side.

Commercial real estate broker Barry Badertscher confirmed Wednesday that a Jersey Mike’s Subs franchise will fill a space at 2228 Humes Road that recently housed Milio’s Sandwiches.

Badertscher said an Illinois franchisee plans to rehab the space to link up with a separate business suite in the same building, which means the shop’s opening is still a few months off.

But it would bring fresh-made subs back to that location for the first time since Milio’s pulled out in March 2020, near the beginning of the pandemic.

Jersey Mike’s is a Manasquan, New Jersey-based cold and hot sub chain that dishes up sandwiches featuring top-round roast beef, dry-cured capocollo pork, portabella mushrooms and “The Juice”: a wine vinegar and olive oil-based sauce.

Jersey Mike’s is opening at a time when brokers are seeing a turnaround in the chain dining industry. After months of contraction, shifts in store hours, and temporary and permanent closures, Badertcher said commercial property analysts expect a resurgence of restaurants that cater to grab-and-go customers.

Some existing chain restaurants already have retooled their game in the COVID-19 era to focus more on carryout business. Others, such as Jersey Mike’s, are new shops that will focus heavily on to-go orders.

Badertscher said he is hearing renewed optimism from chain restaurant franchisees, which he thinks is tied to the rapidly expanding rollout of COVID-19 vaccines.

“I’m hearing from these franchisees that COVID is definitely the driver in these possibly permanent changes to more of a takeout look, as opposed to eating in,” he said. “These guys will have tables, but it might be a while before we get back to normal. Even when you do, some people just have become accustomed now to getting pickup or carryout and take it home. That might continue for a while—maybe forever.”

Badertscher said the Jersey Mike’s franchise operator agreed to a lease on the property last week. The deal is new enough that it doesn’t show up on the Jersey Mike’s website page that lists 193 new locations, including in the Wisconsin communities of Appleton, Neenah, West Bend, Somers and Madison.

Overall, Jersey Mike’s operates about 1,900 stores across the United States.

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