Hoboken Sandwiches: Tale of the Tape

Hoboken sandwiches – big differences between “trendy” & “traditional”

We totally stay away from sandwiches these days, but seeing the trend of chain restaurants pop up here in Hoboken – we felt it was time for an experiment. A “Tale of the tape” for Hoboken sandwiches, so to say.

In today’s comparison – we’ll pit newcomers Jimmy John’s and Caffe Bene versus old-school favorites M&P Biancamano’s and Torna’s Pizza.

We’ll attempt to communicate “what you get for your money” (literally), and weigh in briefly on the taste, consistency, etc.

You’ll be surprised at the strong disparity between old and new!

Click here to be taken to the results!

Hoboken Sandwiches Tale of the Tape - Hoboken Sandwiches: Tale of the Tape

Jimmy John’s “Vito” sandwich

Price paid: $6.50
Weight of sandwich: 9.9 oz.
Weight of food (minus the bread): 6.3 oz.
Cost of (real) food per ounce: $1.03

Jimmy Johns Hoboken NJ better than subway - Hoboken Sandwiches: Tale of the Tape

The good: Jimmy John’s is pretty fairly priced, all things considered. The bread to meat ratio was nice, the sandwich was easy to handle. The “scooping” of the bread, combined with the light weight (only 3.6 oz.) made it easy on the stomach and blood sugar.

Not so good: The Subway-like arrangement of the meats was less than comforting, and the fact they had 10 people working simultaneously in a super-tiny shop only increases the risk of getting some kind of unwanted germ on your food or body at some point in time. It’s a chain / franchise, so that comes with it’s own set of reasons why this place won’t be high on our list. But it was better than Subway, which says something.

Caffe Bene Spicy Chicken Sandwich

Price paid: $8.50
Weight of sandwich: 9.45 oz.
Weight of food (minus the bread): 3.7 oz.
Cost of (real) food per ounce: $2.29

Caffe Bene Spicy Chicken Sandwich overpriced Hoboken NJ - Hoboken Sandwiches: Tale of the Tape

The good: The overall flavor of this was okay, especially when we removed the “meat” off the “sandwich” and ate separately.

Not so good: Way over-priced for the “real” food you’re getting. The food-to-bread ratio was exactly the opposite of Jimmy John’s. Bread was way, way too dense. Again it’s a chain, and you couldn’t really observe them making the sandwich, which is unsettling.

Torna Pizza (basic) Chicken Sandwich

Price paid: $5.50
Weight of sandwich: 14.45 oz.
Weight of food (minus the bread): 9.0 oz.
Cost of (real) food per ounce: $0.61

Torna Pizza Chicken Sandwich Hoboken NJ - Hoboken Sandwiches: Tale of the Tape

The good: Value. A decent amount of food, for the lowest cost of the four sampled. Long-time Hoboken business.

Not so good: We got the basic chicken, lettuce, tomato, onion in an attempt to “match it up” with the Caffe Bene chicken sandwich. We had to doctor it up with some seasonings to give it a bit more flavor (pepper, mayo).

Tip: The meatballs are the slam-dunk item at Torna’s.

Biancamano “Selection B” sandwich

Price paid: $8.00
Weight of sandwich: 34.7 oz.
Weight of food (minus the bread): 29.7 oz.
Cost of (real) food per ounce: $0.26

Biancamano Italian Sandwich Hoboken NJ - Hoboken Sandwiches: Tale of the Tape

The good: Ding, ding, ding! Heavyweight champs of sandwiches in Hoboken. TWO pounds, two point seven ounces! A mammoth Italian hero for sure! You got nearly 10x the “food” compared to Caffe Bene. Leftovers. Good for several meals. Share with friends, pets, etc. You can even use it as a weapon or a block for your car if changing tires. Versatile for sure!

Not so good: Not sure if this is a complaint, but it’s difficult to put in your mouth – it’s huge! (that’s what she said).

Verdict? Traditional or Trendy in Hoboken?

With so many choices in such close proximity to one another in Hoboken – there really should NEVER be a reason to support a chain. You can have an excuse when traveling or in a bind in the middle of nowhere, but with our “local mom & pop” shops dwindling here in town, its more important now than ever to keep them going strong.

So with that said – use this as your short-list of sandwich shops in Hoboken going forward: Biancamano’s, Torna’s, Vito’s, Fiore’s, Lisa’s, and yes – even Blimpie – and ignore the rest of them!

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014 10:30 pm

When it comes to chains, a huge fan of JJ’s. They strive to do everything above board, with suppliers that are sustainable, have good business practices and meet exceptional standards. It can sound like they’re trying to pander to the feel good crowd, but it makes me feel better giving them my business. You’re right when you said that Subway ought to be concerned. Realtors are probably polishing the for rent signs.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014 4:19 pm

Agreed, Torna’s meatball parm sub is the Real Deal. The only complaint I have is how long it took me to discover this find!

The Professor
The Professor
Wednesday, June 25, 2014 2:39 pm

Great idea for a story. This will remind us to put all our food choices in perspective, especially where we find ourselves going back to the same place again and again (unless it’s Biancamano’s!).

Wednesday, June 25, 2014 12:20 pm

I think operating hours and delivery service should also play a part in the ratings. The old school local delis are awesome but they seem to always be closed and not all deliver.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014 11:35 am

No one comes close to the value you get at Biancamano’s. Love their mutz too! But you need to get there earlier because they run out of roast beef.

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