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 restaurant 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 for more information on 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 made a decision 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 other businesses”, according to Robin, though, together with a Christmas tree farm. If you smell fresh pine needles at one of the restaurants, you know why. (You’re having 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 up in mayonnaise. But Sorensen insists he wasn’t seeking to blaze a whole new condiment trail. “Within the South, we put mayonnaise on everything, therefore 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 unusual, it’s mustard only. I enjoy 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 one from Talladega Nights, you’re in deep s**t.
Each restaurant features a number of the Firehouse Subs prices history – It is possible to catch the firefighter influences on the sub chain through their sandwich names (Hook & Ladder, The Engineer) along with their signature style (“fully involved” — meaning a significant fire in industry speak — gets you mayo, deli mustard, lettuce, tomato, onion, along with a kosher dill pickle on the side). But hqpdwo will also get local fire chapters associated with every outpost. Each spot gets a custom mural, as well as the local departments can pitch in whatever representation they enjoy, starting from old archived photos of the team actually in operation to retired captains’ leather helmets.
Their hot sauce is really a nod for their dad… who may be still very much alive. Firehouse loves hot sauce a great deal, they made their very own branded stuff with regional Datil peppers. (Though Datils are pretty hot by themselves, the sauce 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 were required to tell them all, no, he’s still around.”