Walk through the doors of Cranston’s latest restaurant and you will be greeted by the employees with a hearty, “Welcome to Firehouse Subs!”
A large mural on the wall depicts the local firefighters working together to fight a fire at the Riverside apartment complex, where they saved several lives back in March of 1992. The friendly atmosphere is set by Sejal and Harsh Patel, franchise owners of the popular chain restaurant that has finally found its way to Rhode Island.
Firehouse Subs was actually founded by two firefighting brothers in 1994 and now has over 1,155 restaurants in 46 states, plus Canada and Puerto Rico. The husband and wife team have worked as engineers their entire lives until they fell in love with Firehouse Subs’ food and commitment to the community.
“Food is a communal experience that makes people happy,” Harsh said. “Sejal and I have always dreamed of owning our own business. This is a dream come true.”
The Patels are dedicated to continuing Firehouse Subs’ commitment to helping public safety organizations through the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation, which has donated more than $40 million in grants across the country.
The 501(c)(3) foundation is dedicated to impacting the life-saving capabilities and the lives of local heroes and their communities. Organizations may request a grant by visiting FirehouseSubsFoundation.org. The restaurant sells their five-gallon used pickle buckets for $2 to raise funds.
Cranston firefighters were among the first to taste the delicious subs. Cranston uniforms and fire hats are hanging at the restaurant entrance. Hot specialty subs
Joyce and I pondered over the 10 hot specialty subs on the wall menu, wanting to try all of them, plus the special of the month.
On our first visit, I chose the Firehouse Meatball, filled with Italian meatballs, provolone, marinara sauce and Italian seasonings. Harsh said it has been the most popular choice in their opening week, and I can see why. The meat, cheese and sauce blended together for one tasty, spicy meatball sub.
Joyce chose the Italian, which included Genoa salami, pepperoni, Virginia honey ham, provolone and Italian dressing and seasonings. Firehouse uses the best meats and, where possible, local produce.
Joyce had to come back for the special specialty sub, the Spicy Cajun Chicken…and was it ever. There is even a large variety of hot sauces and seasonings on the counter for the more adventuresome.
I found my favorite, which will bring me back many times: Smokehouse Beef & Cheddar Brisket. It is also the New England best seller according to Area Director Robert Baldacci, who was on hand to train the dozen plus employees who work together at various stations to create the unique sandwiches.
Firehouse uses USDA Choice beef brisket, which they smoke for over 16 hours, adding cheddar, mayo and Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce. It is by far one of the most unique and tasty subs I have ever eaten.
Nationally, the Hook & Ladder is their biggest seller. It includes smoked turkey breast, Virginia honey ham and Monterey Jack.
Firehouse Subs steams their meats and cheeses, which adds to their tastiness and wholesomeness. The subs come in small, medium and large sizes, with your choice of white or wheat sub rolls.
Prices range from $3.99-$5.69 for small, $6.79-$7.89 for medium and $9.79-$10.89 for large. You can also make your own sub with smoked turkey breast, Virginia honey ham, pastrami, corned beef brisket, premium roast beef, grilled chicken breast, tuna salad or veggie. Sides include chili, chicken and dumplings and loaded potato. There are three chopped salad options, plus cookies and brownies for dessert Firehouse Subs also has an extensive Catering menu.
Firehouse Subs is open 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and until 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Their phone number is 415-8101. Check them out at FirehouseSubs.com.