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Jersey Mike's Joins The Sub Crowd

Originally Published at Lake Country News-Sun by Long Hwa-Shu

Franchise Sandwich Shop In Gurnee Is State's Third

A sandwich shop has opened here far from the New Jersey shore.

Jersey Mike's Subs owner Dan Shanahan is a veteran in the pizza and doughnut industry, having owned 27 Domino's pizzerias between Chicago and Milwaukee, and three Dunkin' Donut shops in Third Lake, Round Lake Beach and Woodstock. He still owns one-half interest in a Domino's store in Milwaukee.

"All my stores made money," said the 42-year-old entrepreneur who dropped out of college and ended up with a string of successes.

Jersey Mike's Subs, his new venture with a franchise at 7105 Grand Ave., in the Gurnee Town Center, appears to have all the earmarks for another success story.

It offers 20 different sandwiches, 10 cold and six hot submarines, plus wraps and salads. The menu includes Jersey Mike's Famous Philly, chipotle cheese steak, meatball-and-cheese, and grilled pastrami Reuben for hot subs. For cold subs, there are turkey breast and provolone, roast beef and provolone and the original Italian.

"What sets us apart from the others is that nothing is pre-sliced. We use high-quality proprietary meats. We bake our own bread and cook our own roast beef. We're like a deli with authentic Italian subs," said Shanahan, a member of the Libertyville High School Class of 1984.

The 1,600-square-foot store with seating for 47 people looks cool with a map of New Jersey, pictures of the seaside and even a daily surf report on tides, temperatures and wind. As the name suggests, Jersey Mike's Subs, is based in Point Pleasant, a seaside town in New Jersey.

It started out as a small shop in 1956, but quickly gained a following. Peter Cancro, the current owner of the private company, worked at the shop when he was 14. When he heard that the business was for sale, he was 17, a high school senior.

Like Cancro, Shanahan started working when he was 13, washing dishes after school and on weekends at Bernhardt's Bakery in Mundelein. Later, he also worked on the night shift at a Dunkin' Donuts shop in Mundelein. Before he started to accumulate his string of Domino's pizzerias in 1990 -- first with two in Zion and Beach Park -- he was a Domino pizza deliveryman.

Shanahan dropped out of Northern Illinois University where he studied computer science. Eventually, he owned 27 Domino's, including those in Antioch, Fox Lake, Wauconda, Libertyville, Mundelein and Deerfield.

Besides being a franchisee, Shanahan is Illinois director for the parent company, which has plans to open 100 Jersey Mike's stores in the state within six years. The Gurnee store is the third in Illinois. The others are in Vernon Hills and Naperville.

, owned by other franchisees.

For its grand opening, the store is helping to raise funds for Warren Township High School sports teams. It is offering newspaper coupons for a free sandwich in exchange for $1 donated to the team.

Shanahan lives in Wadsworth with his wife, Dyane, who is director of catering for the store. They have three daughters -- Kayla, 18, a sophomore at Southern Illinois University; Andrea, 15, a freshman at Warren Township High; and Ally, 11, who goes to St. Patrick's School in Wadsworth.