ROCKPORT — The Jersey Plate is a small take-out eatery on Commercial Street in Rockport, right next to Fresh Off The Farm. The owner/sole employee makes hoagies.

They are not subs. They are hoagies, and Lori Catts knows the difference.

Lori Catts makes a steak-and-cheese, her most popular item, April 20 in Rockport. Photo by Daniel Dunkle

Catts, who lives in Union, decided after 23 years to leave her job at Bank of America and open a food business. She acknowledged this was scary at first, but now says, “I’ve never been so happy.”

She is from Collingswood, N.J., right across the bridge from “Philly.” She lived in Philadelphia for 10 years. She moved to the Midcoast about 30 years ago.

Trust someone with “Jersey Girl” on her apron to make an authentic hoagie. Photo by Daniel Dunkle

But she never lost her love for home. She drives to New Jersey regularly for supplies. She does not say where she gets the meat for her sandwiches, but indicates that it is special.

The exact right kind of meat is fundamental to the perfect hoagie, as are the rolls, which she gets from Massachusetts.

“You guys have hot dog rolls,” she said of soft local breads. The hoagie rolls she uses are crustier. They have a bit of texture and they do not become easily waterlogged by the oil and vinegar.

The traditional hoagie has provolone, ham, genoa salami, hot capicola ham, lettuce, tomatoes and onions.

Her most popular dish is the steak-and-cheese, and several are ordered and made while I spoke with her.

She is open year round. There is a more limited menu during the off-season, but she will have more during the summer, including burgers, hot dogs, sausage hoagies, snow cones, chicken nuggets and so on.

She has a few local items such as poutine and will offer crab fries with Old Bay seasoning.

She hopes to have a food truck at some point which would allow her to do some outreach to local nursing homes and to visit veterans to provide them sandwiches.

For the time being, she enjoys meeting people and using her Jersey-born gift of gab.

She updates The Jersey Plate Facebook page frequently with information about when she is open and what offerings she will have for the day. Check it out.

Lori Catts of The Jersey Plate. Photo by Daniel Dunkle