By Jeff Toquinto on October 20, 2013
Anyone that grew up in a community with a fire station nearby or knows someone that works there has heard tales of just how good some of the food is that is prepared by firefighters. Because of that, it’s probably not a surprise that a version of that food has spawned a restaurant. In fact, it’s spawned a chain of them.
The latest of those restaurants will be opening soon in Bridgeport. In fact, on either Oct. 28 or Nov. 4, Bridgeport’s newest restaurant – Firehouse Subs – will be serving out fire department-themed sandwiches and more from their new city location. The shop is located in the Commons at Charles Pointe.
“We’re really excited about this and we can’t wait to open,” said Ron Stuart, the local franchise president. “Right now, we’re just waiting for gas to be extended to the location and then we’ll be on the fast track. They’ve made a lot of progress this past week.”
Firehouse Subs has made a lot of progress since the initial location was opened in 1994 in Jacksonville, Fla. Nearly two decades and 600-plus stores later, brother firefighters and Firehouse Subs co-founders Robin and Chris Sorensen have a nationwide food sensation on their hands. And that craze is ready to get started here in Bridgeport.
According to Stuart, there is nothing frozen and no microwaving involved with their subs. The meats, he said, are sliced fresh every morning by an individual whose title is actually “the slicer.” Their responsibility is to get the ham, turkey, corn beef, roast beef and pastrami – and much more – sliced and ready for the dining crowd.
“The subs are 8-inch and 12-inch. We put the meats and cheese in a steamer for 2 minutes and 45 seconds and then put it on a toasted roll,” said Stuart. “We also have salads and, just like the subs, they’re made fresh.”
The subs, along with the entire store, have a fire-related theme. You can get the “Hook and Ladder” or the “New York Steamer” along with a host of other sandwiches. You can get select toppings, or if you want one with everything, then you order it “fully involved.”
If the names of the sandwiches don’t let you know the fire-related theme, then the décor certainly will give it away. Along with various paraphernalia used by fire fighters adorning the walls, the Bridgeport location has pictures from various local departments, including Bridgeport, Clarksburg and others. However, the real eye pleaser is the giant mural of Bridgeport and Clarksburg fire trucks facing one another with some unique features.
“We actually used our own in-house artist and we met with local fire departments, including Bridgeport and Clarksburg to help us cover the walls with the photos we’ve got. The mural, though, is a really nice touch,” said Stuart. “It covers a whole wall and it’s something you’ve got to see. It’s just unique, including the fact that Stonewall Jackson is shown behind the wheel of the Clarksburg fire truck.”
Stuart said he came out of retirement to open up the shop. It will be managed by his son Nick, who will serve as the vice president and general manager.
“(Nick) worked for Firehouse Subs in Lynchburg (Va.) and was a manager there and that’s where we started thinking about this. The concept is great and the food is great. If you eat one, you’ll likely become a repeat customer,” said Stuart.
While Stuart believes the food will set itself apart from other eateries, there is one thing that definitely will set itself apart. The company has a non-profit, Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation that was created in 2005, according to its Web site. The goal of the foundation is to provide “funding, life-saving equipment, disaster assistance and educational opportunities for first responders and public safety organizations.”
According to Stuart, the Bridgeport franchise will be contributing to that Foundation. He said local paid and volunteer fire departments can apply to receive funds through it. (Click HERE for the company Web site on the Foundation)
“There have been millions of dollars donated to public safety groups because of this Foundation,” said Stuart. “We’re pleased to be part of it.”
Along with the previously mentioned dining options, Stuart said Firehouse Subs offers a full line of catering services. He also said there are boxed lunches available for those who want to get their lunch quickly. He added that in March the company will be introducing a new “light menu” for those wanting a lighter option. There will also be a featured sub every quarter.
Stay tuned to Connect-Bridgeport.com to learn when the actual opening date will be taking place.