Friendly fast food with a Heart…
Last month a unique new grinder and sandwich shop opened in Bristol at 594 Farmington Ave. across from the Bristol Plaza.
Firehouse Subs is only the second CT location of this rapidly growing franchise, which, according to its website, has opened more than 1,050 restaurants in the U.S., Canada and Mexico since its founding in 1994. A recent visit gave some insights into the reasons for Firehouse Subs’ popularity.
The inside of the restaurant is rather small, but bright and clean with a cheery firehouse theme. A delightful large painted mural of a neighborhood scene features Lake Compounce and Bristol firetrucks.
Diners approach a counter and put their order in then bring a number to their seat and relax while their food is being prepared. The seating is rather close to fellow diners, but this didn’t seem to bother the good-sized crowd in the nearly full room, judging by the friendly cross-conversations among patrons.
After smelling the delicious cooking for a few minutes my friend and I were eager to dig into our Firehouse Meatball and Firehouse Steak and Cheese Subs delivered by friendly, attentive staff after a brief wait for our food.
Both subs were ordered with “private recipe” white rolls which were fresh and tasty with a lightly toasted exterior and fresh soft bread inside. The steak and cheese sub came with a flavorful provolone cheese and fresh tasting sautéed onions and peppers but the steak was only so-so, slightly soggy and not overly flavorful.
The meatball sub was terrific. It comes split on the top, exposing the same flavorful, melted provolone found in the steak sub and topped with Italian seasonings. Underneath is fresh marinara sauce and perfectly seasoned and textured meatballs that could pass for homemade.
I left wishing I had ordered the large instead of the medium sized sub. A brownie for dessert topped the meal nicely. Purchased at the counter and pre-wrapped, it was a step above other such pre-made counter snacks that I’ve fallen for recently.
A unique feature of Firehouse Subs is their commitment to giving back. The founders, Christopher and Robin Sorensen, started their careers as firefighters and their father is a retired fire chief.
Inspired by a trip to feed first responders and victims of Hurricane Katrina, the Sorensen brothers started the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation in 2005.
A portion each restaurant food order goes to the Foundation. The purpose of the Foundation is to help provide lifesaving equipment to first responders in the local community, which it’s done to the tune of $31 million since its inception.
Firehouse Subs has a nice selection of ten specialty subs as well as a make-your-own sub option with numerous choices. They also offer chips, salad, brownie and cookie sides and a couple of soups as well as the “award-winning” Firehouse Chili which will be tops on my list at my next visit.
Firehouse Subs provides catering. Delivery is also available. For more information or to order call 860-261-5525.
By Contributing Writer Lori Chadwick
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