Firehouse Subs has been open for a few months now. For those of you who haven't heard yet, it is located on 41st Street, on the north side of the street, adjacent to the river. This is the former location of Senor Wiener. That particular retail location is one of the worst places to get in and out of, second only to perhaps Erberts & Gerberts and Taco Bell on Louise, both of which I refuse to visit.
Anyway, location notwithstanding, I can't avoid the siren call of a good sandwich and rumor has it, Firehouse makes a good sub. I am pleased to report excellent findings.
These are damned fine sammiches. Most, maybe all, are served hot and you will find things like ham, turkey, pastrami, brisket, provolone cheese, onions, and meatballs offered in various combinations. Check out the menu. The bread is fresh and fairly soft and the sandwiches are warm and gooey. Just the right amount of ingredients, so you shouldn't need a fork or a stack of napkins. Good experience.
For me, the meatball sandwich is the star. Nice tasty meatballs in a marinara sauce. Served with melted cheese on a fresh roll, that's good eating. It's a simple sandwich, but one that is hard to find well made here in River City. If someone has suggestions, feel free to post them.
The only gripes I have with the place is the physical layout of the shop itself. You have to walk in the front door and past all the small tables that will be on your right and go to the rear of the space to place an order. A large, chest high counter is on the right where folks are making the sandwiches. For those of you who are used to the Subway method of making sandwiches, Firehouse doesn't work that way. Go to the place where it says "Place Order Here" (turns out that is a hint) and then go find a table. They will call your name and bring you your sandwich. Turns out the "Pick Up Here" sign is a bit of a trick. That's for take out. The other thing that is a bit of a pain is the Coke Freestyle machine. Yeah, I guess it's cool and all if the regular combinations of sucrose and chemicals doesn't turn your crank anymore, but when the place is busy, it's a bottleneck.
Finally, a word of warning. At the end of the counter where the sandwiches are made is a small gallery of hot sauces that patrons can use on their food. Actually, Firehouse has its own Datil Pepper Sauce that is pretty good, especially on a meatball sandwich. The sauces have labels on their lids with numbers like 5, 6, and 9, and even 9+. Yes, those are indications of relative heat. On a recent trip there, I was starving, so I had a meatball sandwich. The big one. And, turns out there is a sweet or spicy option. So, I went for spicy. Who wouldn't? Deciding a bit more heat would be nice, I perused the sauce line up and selected a 9+, 357 Mad Dog Hot Sauce. How hot can that be, right? It's practically within reach of children. Well, click on the link and read the comments. I can personally vouch for their accuracy. Fortunately, I didn't put this directly on the sandwich. After I came to, I resumed eating my sandwich sans Mad Dog sauce. Still seemed spicy, so I had the SSS try it. SSS claims this resulted in searing purple lips that stung for hours due to spice that exceed B-Dubs Blazing. I swear none of the Mad Dog was on the sandwich.
The next 12 hours were interesting.
I am going back. I am not having Mad Dog Sauce on my sandwich. Well, we'll see. I am a slow learner about some things.