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 near me has been building an impressive empire of the 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 whole bunch of other Sorensen dudes before him — the family is honored on 200 many years of professionally putting out flames. Nevertheless the brothers chose 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”, in accordance with Robin, though, such as a Christmas tree farm. So if you smell fresh pine needles in one of the restaurants, you know why. (You’re having 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 up in mayonnaise. But Sorensen insists he wasn’t trying to blaze a whole new condiment trail. “In the South, we put mayonnaise on everything, so it wasn’t anything we even discussed,” he says. “You place mayonnaise on the sandwich. The reply to pastrami from delis in Ny is that’s uncommon, it’s mustard only. I like that, too. But all 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 definitely retreat into nature, and it’s pretty spectacular. Be 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 a few of the Firehouse Subs menu history – It is possible to catch the firefighter influences at the sub chain through their sandwich names (Hook & Ladder, The Engineer) as well as their signature style (“fully involved” — which suggests a serious fire in industry speak — gets you mayo, deli mustard, lettuce, tomato, onion, along with a kosher dill pickle on the side). But hqpdwo get local fire chapters involved with every outpost. Each spot receives a custom mural, as well as the local departments can pitch in whatever representation they enjoy, which range from old archived photos in the team actually in operation to retired captains’ leather helmets.
Their hot sauce is a nod to their dad… who may be still very much alive. Firehouse loves hot sauce a lot, they made their particular branded stuff with regional Datil peppers. (Though Datils are pretty hot on their own, the sauce the following is much more of a medium heat.) Chris and Robin named it after their dad to commemorate his 43 years on the force, nevertheless it had some unfortunate, morbid consequences. “Of course, that meant a lot of people assumed he was dead,” Robin says. “We had to tell them all, no, he’s still around.”