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Miami alum brings sandwich chain to Oxford

Pictured is Miami alum, Jeff Osterfeld, who founded new Oxford restaurant, Penn Station.
Pictured is Miami alum, Jeff Osterfeld, who founded new Oxford restaurant, Penn Station.

A new sandwich chain specializing in east-coast style subs has come to Oxford, but what separates Penn Station from its competitors is the Miami University degree hanging in the CEO’s office.  

Jeff Osterfeld, the CEO and founder of the Cincinnati-based chain Penn Station, graduated from Miami in 1982 with a degree in management marketing from the Farmer School of Business. 

During his time at Miami, Osterfeld was part of the rugby team and a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity. While on campus, he met his future wife Sheri Osterfeld, and the two became Miami Mergers.

Since graduation, Osterfeld has been back on Miami’s campus many times to give guest lectures in entrepreneur classes and notes how much the campus has changed.

“From a curriculum standpoint, as I've been self-employed since the day I got out, it was nice to see the business school step up and address self-employment and entrepreneurialism,” Osterfeld said.  

Before opening his first Penn Station in 1985, Osterfeld ran his own painting business called The Bird Painting Crew throughout high school and college. Osterfeld purchased the business from its previous owner. 

“It gave me a taste of being self-employed, and I came from a family that was all self-employed so I was looking to do something on my own,” Osterfeld said. 

He found interest in the food industry after taking a business class at Miami his senior year. 

“We were supposed to write a report on a small business, and I picked the Oxford Bagel & Deli, because many times I stood in line at one in the morning waiting to get a bagel Uptown, ” Osterfeld said. 

In 1983, just one year after graduating from Miami, Osterfeld opened his first restaurant in Dayton Mall, named Jeffrey's Delicatessen, selling steamed bagels like those sold at Oxford”s Bagel & Deli. He then went on to add subs and cheesesteaks to the menu.

Two years later, Osterfeld opened a different sandwich shop called Philadelphia Steak and Sub.

“I wanted to come up with something that sounded like it came from the east coast, where the cheesesteak originated in Philly,” Osterfeld said. 

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He tried to trademark his restaurant but discovered that a Philadelphia Steak and Sub already existed in the Carolinas. That’s when he got the idea to name it after Penn Station, a famous railroad station in New York City.

Since then, Osterfeld has opened more than 300 Penn Station restaurants across the country in 15 different states. Now, Oxford is among those locations. 

Upon its opening, Osterfeld went to visit his alma mater and was surprised to see how many students venture off Miami’s campus and High Street to get food, especially with the help of third-party delivery services. 

Osterfeld’s hard work in creating Penn Station has not gone unnoticed. He now has his own sandwich on Penn Station’s menu, titled the Founder’s special. 

The sandwich was placed on the menu in honor of the company’s 30th anniversary in 2015. It is the franchise’s signature cheesesteak with a little bit of teriyaki, mayo, onion, mushrooms, peppers and extra cheese.

“It's awesome. Whenever I’m having a bad day, I go over there and order a Founder’s special, and it always puts a smile on my face,” Osterfeld said. 

The restaurant in Oxford opened on Nov. 30 and serves customers Monday through Thursday 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday 10:30 a.m. to midnight and Sunday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Photo by Luke Macy | The Miami Student
Osterfeld's Penn Station is located on 3600 Southpointe Pkwy.