I had the pleasure of visiting Firehouse Subs in Castleton to meet the founder of the nationally-known sandwich shop, Robin Sorenson.
October 10, 1994 marked the opening of the first Firehouse Subs. Sorensen was 26 years old. Now, there are over 600 restaurants all across the US.
Sorenson grew up in a family of firemen and later became one himself. He’s always had a food-focused family, so he and his brother knew what it would take “from this side of the table” to make a great restaurant. And so they did.
We sampled four of the best-selling sandwiches so that we could get an idea what the quality of their food was like. John and I had been to the Firehouse Subs near 86th and Michigan before and we really enjoyed it, so we knew that we were really getting a treat here.
This won over my heart.
Smokehouse Beef & Cheddar Brisket, it’s called. Tender, juicy meat, they said. Smoked for 10+ hours, they said. Oh yes, all of those things were true.
If you go to Firehouse Subs for the first time, GET THIS SANDWICH. We got to see the brisket close-up and you could notice the smoke ring on the meat. A nice, crusty seasoned skin adds yet another layer of flavor to the sandwich, not to mention the gooey melted cheddar cheese.
We also tried the Hook & Ladder Sub, their #1 best seller. Smoked turkey breast, Virginia honey ham, and melted Monterey Jack cheese served “fully involved” with lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo and a pickle on the side.
The special steaming process that only Firehouse Subs uses really makes these sandwiches unique. The meat is already really tender, but steaming it allows the juices of the meat to fuse with the cheese, bread, and toppings.
Another unique feature about Firehouse Subs is that they have the Coca-Cola Freestyle Machine with 120 flavor options. I tried the Dasani Sparkling Lemon, which I’d never had before, and it was delicious.
Here’s Gotcha baby figuring out which Diet Coke she’d like (Cherry, Vanilla, Orange, Lime, Lemon and more).
We also spent a lot of time talking about the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation, which has donated $6.3 million to disaster relief and public safety organizations. It started shortly after Hurricane Katrina and eventually assisted with the relief efforts for Haiti and Sandy. Fire departments, police departments and schools have benefited from the work of this foundation, with over $148,000 spent in Indiana alone.
Firehouse Subs has a “round up to the dollar” program where the change will be donated to their foundation. You can also purchase the red empty pickle buckets they sell in store.
What was really funny was that during Sorensen’s presentation, dozens of firemen walked in for a meal! But some had to rush out after getting a call for a fire. Sorensen thanked each and every one of them for their service.
Now, I’m getting to the best part. I have five $10.00 gift cards to Firehouse Subs to giveaway to five lucky readers (one $10 card each) so that you can experience their steamy subs yourself. All you have to do is enter the Rafflecopter below – commenting on this blog post is a mandatory entry. Only US residents are eligible to win. Giveaway ends June 29 at midnight!