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 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 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 unit is honored on 200 years of professionally putting out flames. But 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 ideas for different concepts and various businesses”, based on Robin, though, such as a Christmas tree farm. So when you smell fresh pine needles at one of the restaurants, you already know why. (You’re possessing a stroke.)
Firehouse puts mayo on just about 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 attempting to blaze a brand new condiment trail. “Within the South, we put mayonnaise on everything, so it wasn’t anything we even discussed,” he says. “You put mayonnaise on the sandwich. The discuss pastrami from delis in Ny is that’s uncommon, it’s mustard only. I like that, too. But all that drove us was our very own personal tastes.”
Cascade, Montana is prime for panoramic photos – Having a population of lower than one thousand, 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 a person from Talladega Nights, you’re in deep s**t.
Each restaurant features a number of the Firehouse Subs menu 2020 history – You are able to catch the firefighter influences on the sub chain through their sandwich names (Hook & Ladder, The Engineer) as well as their signature style (“fully involved” — meaning a significant 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 involved with every outpost. Each spot turns into a custom mural, and also the local departments can pitch in whatever representation they like, which range from old archived photos from the team in action to retired captains’ leather helmets.
Their hot sauce is really a nod with their dad… who may be 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 independently, the sauce is much more of a medium heat.) Chris and Robin named it after their dad to commemorate his 43 years on the force, however it had some unfortunate, morbid consequences. “Needless to say, that meant lots of people assumed he was dead,” Robin says. “We had to tell them all, no, he’s still around.”