Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Checking Out Firehouse Subs…

To start, I must admit that we’re negatively biased when it comes to sub shops…and it all goes back to a lousy experience at a Subway outlet in Prince Rupert British Columbia many years ago… We’d arranged to go out on a charter fishing boat one morning and we picked up a couple of Subway sandwiches for the trip.  They were so bad, even the seagulls didn’t want much to do with them!

One day recently, we were out and about.  Instead of going to a sit down restaurant, Laurie felt like getting a couple of subs to take home to eat…

We had noticed a new Firehouse Subs shop in nearby Lenoir City Tennessee so we decided to give it a try…

The interior of the restaruant was bright and shiny.  It was also very clean and the staff was friendly…

Firehouse Subs was founded in 1994 in Jacksonville, Florida by former firefighter brothers Robin and Chris Sorensen.  Firehouse Subs serves sandwiches with meats and cheeses, "steamed" hot and placed on a toasted sub roll. Locations offer a family-oriented atmosphere, with a firefighter theme that includes fire equipment and ephemera throughout the store.  The menu features sandwiches with themed names.  Pictures mounted on the walls highlight local firefighting history, as well as the founders' history of firefighting service.  As of December 2013, there are over 700 restaurant locations in 36 states and Puerto Rico.

The décor was colorful and it was focused on the local community.  Note the Lenoir City fire truck putting out a boat fire on Ft. Loudoun Lake or the Tennessee River.  Perhaps the picture isn’t too plausible…but it does get your attention. 

On my list of desirable condiments, this about tops the cake!  What a beautiful line-up of hot sauces… Pretty impressive!  A big selection of hot sauces is available in all Firehouse Sub locations. 

With 700 locations, Firehouse Subs is a ‘tiny’ operation compared to Subway.  By way of comparison, SUBWAY is an American fast food restaurant franchise that primarily sells submarine sandwiches and salads.  It’s owned and operated by Doctor's Associates, Inc. which is based in Connecticut.  Subway is one of the fastest growing franchises in the world, with 40,855 restaurants in 105 countries and territories as of January 1, 2014.  Subway is the largest single-brand restaurant chain and the largest restaurant operator globally.  I’m guessing that size may well impact the consistency of their offerings…

This was my ‘medium’ sub…an interesting term since I didn’t see a ‘small sub’ on the menu.  This sub is a New York Steamer and it’s made up with corned beef brisket, pastrami, melted provolone, mustard, mayonnaise and Italian dressing.  I ordered it with double meat. (The standard New York Steamer Sub is $5.99 and it costs just $2.00 to double up on the meat)

This was a far better sandwich than I expected… The roll was decent, the quality of the ingredients was good and the added meat was a real plus.  The kosher dill pickle was nice as well…

Laurie ordered the ‘medium’ Firehouse Italian sub. ($5.99 plus $2.00 for double meat) Her sandwich consisted of Genoa salami, pepperoni, ham, melted provolone with Italian dressing and seasonings…served ‘Fully Involved’.  ‘Fully involved’ means that it’s loaded complete with mayonnaise, deli mustard, lettuce, tomato and onion with a kosher dill spear on the side.  Laurie would definitely order this sandwich again!

OK…so among the available sub shops at least Firehouse Subs has now exceeded our expectations.  Now the question is…will we give Subway another chance just to see if our negative experience was a fluke?  Time will tell…(Laurie says "Not a chance!")

The Lenoir City Firehouse Sub shop is located at 149 Kelsey Lane.  Phone: 865-816-6600.  The website for Firehouse Subs can be found at

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave


  1. Wow, even the sea gulls wouldn't eat it. Now that's saying something. Firehouse sounds like a good place to try. I'll keep my eye out for them. I haven't seen them here in southwestern Florida, but it's also possible I missed them.

  2. I've not eaten at Firehouse so good to know you had a positive experience.

  3. Looking at their site it seems there are several Firehouse Subs close to us. I am not much of a sandwich person – I like a good grilled cheese once in a while (made at home) and a pastrami or corned beef one in a deli when in New York, the rest of the time the type of sandwich I like is on a French crusty baguette with butter, hard Italian salami or French Camenbert or Brie, and that’s about it. My husband likes subs though and we do go there occasionally – very occasionally as I can’t think we ate in one since 2012!

  4. After I saw your post I started to look around for Firehouse Sub shops and low and behold there's one not too far from us. If you hadn't mentioned it, I probably would have never noticed it. Funny that you only see what you want to :)

    Thanks for the tip on this one. We judge a good sub by the dressing and it looks like it passed the test.