Everyone in Hoboken knows that this is where Blimpie, the classic old-school sub shop, got its start. The original Blimpie store was located on 7th and Washington and opened way back in 1964. The store moved to its current location, 110 Washington, in the 1990s, and has remained a popular spot for residents to grab a quick bite. Although Blimpie is now a national brand with more than 700 franchises across the country (down from its peak of about 2,000) and is based in Arizona, the brand’s connection to Hoboken, its birthplace, remains strong.
When I was a kid growing up in Jersey City, I didn’t know that the guys who founded Blimpie went to St. Peter’s Prep, my eventual high school. I just knew that Blimpie was hands-down my favorite place to go for lunch when I could scrape together the cash. I was one of the few people in the universe who enjoyed the disguting combination of oil, vinegar, and mayonnaise on a Blimpie Best. I’m not proud of that. But my bond with Blimpie remains strong, so hearing the current spot might shut down inspired me to find out what’s going on.
Outside the Harlow
The trend in Hoboken these days is Uptown, which is where most of the development is happening because of its many (many) old warehouses and empty lots. While condo development slowed down for a while after the Housing Bubble in 2008, it’s definitely (definitely) picked up again; north of 7th street and back from Washington, it seems like every block has a new building.
So it’s no surprise that Blimpie is moving uptown—to a new location on 14th street, near the Malibu Diner and across the street from the massive new Harlow building. If you’re thinking about renting in the Harlow, consider the fact that you will be able to get Blimpie Bests any time you like just by crossing the street.
The reason for the move isn’t a mystery: The building at 100 Washington is for sale, and the lease isn’t being renewed. The other reason? The new location, which used to be a pediatrics office, has parking (or so they say; when you walk by, the sign still says “Parking for Malibu Diner Customers Only,” so who knows). Which means no more double-parking on Washington just to get your Ham, Salami, and Provolone.
Don’t worry, though; if Blimpie is part of your regular rotation of fast food, the Washington Street store will remain open until November 2017. After that, their lease at that location is done, so whether the uptown location is up and running or not they have to be out. Hopefully a year’s worth of work is enough to get the place in shape, because if there’s a lack of Blimpies in Hoboken, we riot.
The fact is, while Blimpie faces a lot of competition from a wide variety of alternatives in terms of fast food and specifically sandwiches, it’s a classic, and it’s part of our town’s history. It’s nice to see that connection honored by not simply shutting down the location. Hopefully the folks in the Harlow and other buildings in the area appreciate what they’re getting!