Good old Jerry’s Subs. It was always the safe, neighborhood place, the place to go after a softball game. If some of the people in your group wanted subs and others wanted pizza, you could go to Jerry’s and get both.

Now it seems Jerry’s wants to be the place we think of when we’re in the mood for women who play with their food.

That’s what I thought after seeing the Gaithersburg, Md.-based restaurant chain’s newish TV ads, which started rolling out last summer. One ad, called “ Philly Double Trouble ,” shows a family — Mom, Dad, Junior — picnicking in a park. Mom is a bit of a bore. She offers her son an apple and is reading a book.

Enter a buxom woman in denim cutoffs, her shirt tied above her navel and unbuttoned to here. She sits on a bench, pulls out a cheese steak and, well, never mind.

Oh, she wants that cheese steak in the worst possible way, exulting when molten cheese drops onto her decolletage.

In an ad called “Awesome Wingz,” the actresses wear even less. Two women have apparently been hired by Jerry’s to prepare chicken wings. Sadly, the store manager has not provided proper uniforms and so they are forced to wear tight shorts and midriff-baring tank tops. They make a total hash of the chicken wings, distracted as they are by each other’s hot bodies and tubs of mumbo and buffalo sauce, which they proceed to smear on each other with delight.

You may have seen a slightly tamer version while watching a Nationals game, along with a note that you can find the unexpurgated version on the Jerry’s Web site.

The slick commercials were made by Trivision Creative, an ad agency headquartered in Chantilly, Va. Kamran Lutfi, Trivision’s marketing director, allowed that the ads were “sort of controversial.” But the client wanted to make an impact, he said, especially with a young, male demographic.

“The goal was to get some buzz out there,” he told me, “shuffle things, shake things up. This was the quickest way to do it.”

Kamran said they were inspired by the racy TV spots done by the California chain Carl’s Jr. (That chain’s latest commercial, featuring a seemingly naked woman walking through a farmers market, was dubbed the “slutburger” ad by foodie Web site Eater.)

Jerry’s was founded in 1954. It now has 43 locations around the Mid-Atlantic. It has changed ownership several times over the years, most recently in 2013, when it was bought by Blackstreet Capital Management, a private equity firm headquartered in Chevy Chase, Md., that specializes in turning around distressed companies.

Jerry’s executives declined to address the ads specifically, but in a statement, Eli Chediak, the company’s president and chief executive officer, said: “In the past several years we’ve made dramatic changes to Jerry’s menu, introduced new products and launched a new marketing strategy as part of an ongoing effort to rescue this iconic Washington brand. A lot has changed since 1954, and over time, Jerry’s had fallen victim to a variety of market forces and economic trends. But today, customers are returning to our stores, sales are up and we’re putting Jerry’s back on the map.”

The company feels the ads have helped increase sales by 18 percent. I wish there’d been a less exploitative way to do it.

Jerry’s advertising has landed the company in hot water before. In the 1990s, the company used a Bill Clinton sound-alike in radio spots. The White House was not pleased.

I was curious about what Jerry thought of the new ads. You know: Jerry, the kid the original restaurant was named after. Jerry Suls’s mom and dad, Abe and Leiah, ran a struggling coffee shop in the Anacostia neighborhood in Southeast Washington. They decided to switch gears and open a sub shop in Wheaton, Md. They named it after their son, who grew up to become a psychology professor. He retired two years ago from the University of Iowa.

Jerry hadn’t seen the ads, so I sent him links. His verdict? “Appalling,” he said.

He continued: “I think my mother would be rolling over in her grave if she saw that. My mother was no prude, that’s for sure. She could enjoy a good joke and whatever — and it could be a little racy. She’d probably say this is in bad taste.”

Bad taste. Is that something you want at a restaurant?

Twitter: @johnkelly

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