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 with prices 2020 has been building a remarkable 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 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 whole bunch of other Sorensen dudes before him — the family prides itself on 200 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 various businesses”, according to Robin, though, together with a Christmas tree farm. So if you smell fresh pine needles within the restaurants, you understand 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 attempting to blaze a brand new condiment trail. “In the South, we put mayonnaise on everything, so that it wasn’t anything we even discussed,” he says. “You set mayonnaise on the sandwich. The discuss pastrami from delis in New York City is that’s unusual, it’s mustard only. I like that, too. But everything that drove us was our personal personal tastes.”
Cascade, Montana is prime for panoramic photos – Using a population of lower than one thousand, this town really requires you to retreat into nature, and it’s pretty spectacular. Be sure to Instagram with caution, though. Montana houses serious predators like mountain lions, and if 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 restaurant history – You are able to catch the firefighter influences in the sub chain through their sandwich names (Hook & Ladder, The Engineer) along with their signature style (“fully involved” — which means a significant fire in industry speak — gets you mayo, deli mustard, lettuce, tomato, onion, and a kosher dill pickle on the side). But hqpdwo get local fire chapters involved with every outpost. Each spot receives a custom mural, and the local departments can pitch in whatever representation they like, starting from old archived photos from the team in action to retired captains’ leather helmets.
Their hot sauce is really a nod with their dad… that is 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 even 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. “Obviously, that meant a lot of people assumed he was dead,” Robin says. “We were required to tell them all, no, he’s still around.”