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 menu has been building a remarkable 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 understand 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 have also been a firefighter, and a lot of other Sorensen dudes before him — the household prides itself on 200 many years of professionally putting out flames. Nevertheless the brothers decided to try something different, and left the biz to eventually open their first sandwich shop in Jacksonville in ’94. Only after “lots of suggestions for different concepts and different businesses”, based on Robin, though, including a Christmas tree farm. If you smell fresh pine needles at one of the restaurants, you already know why. (You’re having a stroke.)
Firehouse puts mayo on almost anything – 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 seeking to blaze a new condiment trail. “Inside the South, we put mayonnaise on everything, so it wasn’t anything we even discussed,” he says. “You place mayonnaise on a sandwich. The discuss pastrami from delis in New York is that’s uncommon, it’s mustard only. I love that, too. But everything that drove us was our personal personal tastes.”
Cascade, Montana is prime for panoramic photos – Having a population of under 1,000, this town really requires you to retreat into nature, and it’s pretty spectacular. Make sure to Instagram with caution, though. Montana houses serious predators like mountain lions, and in case they’re as bad as that certain from Talladega Nights, you’re in deep s**t.
Each restaurant features a few of the Firehouse Subs near me history – You can catch the firefighter influences at the sub chain through their sandwich names (Hook & Ladder, The Engineer) along with their signature style (“fully involved” — meaning a severe fire in industry speak — gets you mayo, deli mustard, lettuce, tomato, onion, as well as a kosher dill pickle on the side). But hqpdwo will also get local fire chapters associated with every outpost. Each spot turns into a custom mural, and also the local departments can pitch in whatever representation they enjoy, starting from old archived photos in the team actually in operation to retired captains’ leather helmets.
Their hot sauce is really a nod with their dad… who is still greatly alive. Firehouse loves hot sauce a great deal, they made their own branded stuff with regional Datil peppers. (Though Datils are pretty hot by themselves, the sauce the following is even 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 a lot of people assumed he was dead,” Robin says. “We needed to let them know all, no, he’s still around.”