Jersey Mike’s Subs started more than 60 years ago in the coastal New Jersey town of Point Pleasant.

What began as one local shop serving submarine sandwiches is now thousands of franchises across the United States.

One of those franchise owners, Manny Hernandez, is celebrating the 14-year anniversary of opening his first Jersey Mike’s in September. Hernandez, Austin native and owner-operator of three Jersey Mike’s around the capital city, opened that first store on West William Cannon Drive. That location was the fourth in Austin and 10th in Texas at the time it opened.

Hernandez’s foray into the dining industry was not predetermined, though.

“We weren’t looking strictly at restaurants; we were looking at a lot of different concepts,” he said. “But we kept on falling back to Jersey Mike’s.”

The restaurant’s traditional New Jersey and New York-style deli concept is what attracted Hernandez to the opportunity.

Jersey Mike’s is known for its sub sandwiches, both hot and cold, and the big deli slicer that sits at the beginning of the sandwich assembly line.

Customers can order from a menu of classic sandwiches like the Club Sub, Mike’s Famous Philly, turkey and provolone, and tuna fish. They can also customize their sandwich or ditch the bread and have a sandwich in a bowl or wrap.

Employees slice the meats and cheeses for each cold sandwich and cook the vegetables and meat for hot sandwiches on a griddle as the order is placed.

Hernandez said Jersey Mike’s was mostly unknown to Austin residents when he opened the store on William Cannon. He has since opened two locations.

“A lot of folks did not know exactly what we did,” he said. “It was kind of motivating when I get the call saying, ‘Hey, do you sell jerseys, like football jerseys?’”

Hernandez said he has established an ongoing relationship between his store and the community.

“It’s nice to have a lot of relationships with a lot of local businesses, a lot of local churches, a lot of local schools,” Hernandez said.

His restaurant sponsors football, band and fine arts programs at area schools. As part of a company wide philanthropic initiative, Hernandez has also supported Helping Hand Home for Children and the Special Olympics.

Hernandez said he enjoys working the line and getting to know locals. He can be found most days manning the register or slicing meat at one of his three locations.