These great ‘Jersey’ subs are just outside Six Flags Great Adventure, NJ
What do you do after you serve your country literally putting out fires all over the world? You open an incredible sub shop of course!
That's what John Erichsen did with Hot Shot Subs on Monmouth Road in the Clarksburg section of Millstone Township, just ahead of the entrance of Six Flags Great Adventure and just up the road from the Jackson Outlets.
Most of his sandwiches are named after Jersey places.
What's great about Hot Shot Subs is you actually get a lot of meat and cheese!
Erichsen, originally from Haworth and now living in Clarksburg, opened Hot Shots after a long career as a military firefighter.
"I joined the US Navy in 1972 and served aboard two great ships, the USS Ajax AR6, a repair ship home-ported out of Japan, and the USS South Carolina CGN37 a nuclear cruiser out of Norfolk, Virginia," according to Erichsen.
"After seeing a good portion of the world through the Navy at the end of my enlistment I was hired as a Civilian Firefighter for the Department of Army — at the Army Military Ocean Terminal in Bayonne.
I am a 4th generation firefighter so the job is kind of the family business and my son is 5th generation of family firefighters. I spent 20 years at the Army Terminal Fire Department Bayonne, rising through the ranks to become Chief in 1990.
In 1995 I transferred down to US Army Fort Monmouth Fire Department where I spent the next 15 years as Chief of Department."
In 2010 I was promoted to Fire Chief of The US Army requiring me to office in the Pentagon. With 137 Amy Fire Departments worldwide I traveled quite often for oversight and support.
Following my retirement with 40 years of military and civilian service I was hired by the University of Texas as their Director of Fire Service Education Programs until 2019."
What made you start Hot Shot subs?
"As a firefighter, I've always loved food and cooking in the fire stations and at home. So through the years I always had thought about someday opening a small lunch shop or sandwich shop using some recipes after my retirement. I can honestly say having the opportunity to travel to this Great Country several times over you get a feel for good eateries which are not always easy to find.
With franchise fast foods everywhere serving up cheap portion restricted amounts and their products at elevated prices I decided to open a local great Jersey sub shop with the theme "Subs the Way they Used to Be Made" using great quality Boars Head meats, great bread from local bakeries and great produce."
What sets it apart from other sub-places?
"We start with a great menu selection using only great Boars Heads cold cuts and cheeses, great tasting bread topped with fresh produce with just the right combination of all the above for a great tasting sub.
At Hot Shot Subs You won't find product-restricted meat amounts like those franchise sub shops. Also, my award-winning fire station style chili is great tasting as is all our homemade meatballs, meatloaf for our famous meatloaf subs along with our homemade salads."
How did you come to name the sandwiches after Jersey locations?
"We are a true Jersey sub shop, not New York style, not Philadelphia style. We have a lot going for us here in New Jersey to celebrate so why not celebrate with some Jersey names that are endless? Our patrons from local, county, and state love the names as do people from out of state and even out of the county. They even take pictures of our menu and trademarked logo."
What kind of response have you received from the people in the community?
"The community is what has kept us going. Our local folks are great stopping in on a regular basis for their favorite subs and menu items. We do a rewards card that every 10 punches get you a free one of choice. It's our thank you to the customers that frequent often."
What are the most popular menu items?
"The number #31 "The Italian" is our most popular and for good reason as it tastes awesome. My mouth waters even watching the team make them. Our whole subs are 14" and the Italian is made with Boars Head ham, salami, capicola, provolone with lettuce, tomato, onion topped off with red vinegar and the spices, salt, pepper, oregano. Everyone can also add their own additional toppings to their liking."
The next most popular are the CheeseSteaks.
"Each, 'The Turnpiker' 'The Parkway' and 'The Exit 7A' start off with Boars Head chip steaks and each start off with sauteed peppers and onions but each varies after that with different cheeses and toppings. All can be custom made to order also."
What would you recommend?
"I recommend everything as there is something for everybody! I give all our new customers a personal tour of the menu and try to help them in their selections. Many out of state visitors have really never had a true New Jersey sub so we want to leave them with a great experience and we do! We even cater to vegan and vegetarian customers in our menu offering, plus we offer gluten free wraps. All Boars Head meats and cheeses are gluten free."
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise only. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.
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