When you think “sub shop chain”, you probably think Subway (for the inexpensive footlong), Quiznos (for the free cookies), or Jimmy John’s (for the free smells). But Jacksonville’s own Firehouse Subs prices has been building an impressive empire of its own, conquering 41 states and counting. Firehouse co-founder Robin Sorensen invited us out to a bonkers weekend at Bell Cross Ranch in Cascade, Montana to learn more about his company, and, in the process, we became grizzled ranchers. Here’s what we learned from the experience.
Firehouse Subs was founded by two former firefighter brothers in 1994, specifically Robin (left) and Chris (right) Sorensen. Their dad was a firefighter, and a lot of other Sorensen dudes before him — the family unit is honored on 200 years of professionally putting out flames. Nevertheless the brothers made a decision to try something different, and left the biz to eventually open their first sandwich shop in Jacksonville in ’94. Only after “a large number of tips for different concepts and other businesses”, in accordance with Robin, though, including a Christmas tree farm. If you smell fresh pine needles within the restaurants, you know why. (You’re possessing a stroke.)
Firehouse puts mayo on almost everything – New Yorkers best clutch their vintage Jeter jerseys, because at Firehouse, even their precious pastrami gets dressed in mayonnaise. But Sorensen insists he wasn’t trying to blaze a whole new condiment trail. “Within the South, we put mayonnaise on everything, so it wasn’t anything we even discussed,” he says. “You set mayonnaise on the sandwich. The comment on pastrami from delis in Ny is that’s unusual, it’s mustard only. I love that, too. But all that drove us was our own personal tastes.”
Cascade, Montana is prime for panoramic photos – Using a population of lower than 1,000, this town really requires you to definitely retreat into nature, and it’s pretty spectacular. Make sure to Instagram with caution, though. Montana is home to serious predators like mountain lions, and when they’re as bad as that certain from Talladega Nights, you’re in deep s**t.
Each restaurant features some of the Firehouse Subs menu prices history – You can catch the firefighter influences on the sub chain through their sandwich names (Hook & Ladder, The Engineer) along with their signature style (“fully involved” — which means a serious fire in industry speak — gets you mayo, deli mustard, lettuce, tomato, onion, and a kosher dill pickle on the side). But hqpdwo will also get local fire chapters associated with every outpost. Each spot gets a custom mural, as well as the local departments can pitch in whatever representation they like, starting from old archived photos in the team in action to retired captains’ leather helmets.
Their hot sauce is really a nod to their dad… that is still greatly alive. Firehouse loves hot sauce so much, they made their own branded stuff with regional Datil peppers. (Though Datils are pretty hot by themselves, the sauce the following is more of a medium heat.) Chris and Robin named it after their dad to commemorate his 43 years on the force, but it had some unfortunate, morbid consequences. “Needless to say, that meant lots of people assumed he was dead,” Robin says. “We needed to tell them all, no, he’s still around.”