Firehouse Subs: A Restaurant that Gives Back

. February 1, 2016.

Firehouse Subs
1978 Tiffin Ave.
Hours: 10:30am to 9pm everyday
Takeout and catering available
567-525-3600 |

The Short Course

Kid-friendly: Absolutely, great food selection and great atmosphere
To avoid wait: Order ahead or come at off times for a typical meal
Noise level: Medium
Bathroom amenities: Clean and new, changing table available
High chairs? Yes
Got milk?  Yes, organic white and chocolate, apple juice too
Kids’ menu? Yes
Food allergy concerns? Let them know and they can alter to fit your needs. For gluten intolerance, meat and cheese heated in a bowl and veggies on the side. One person makes sub, from beginning to end, and will change gloves.

When I stopped in to check out the buzz about the new Firehouse Subs in Findlay, I anticipated a tasty meal. But what elevates this sub shop is an earnest attention to detail coupled with a unique method of giving back to the community.

Bret and Elena Friedrich of Columbus Grove opened the Firehouse Subs in Findlay in November. The restaurant is a franchise, started by two brothers who were firefighters. Each of the franchise locations sports its own local decor nuances. And, by asking patrons if they’d like to “round up” on their bill, the eatery also generates funds for the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation, which supports local first responders.

In Findlay, Bret was excited that community support goes even one step further, as the building is owned by the Robert L. Rhoads Scholarship Trust, an organization which grants college scholarships to area high school students. “Our rent goes to the trust,” Bret said.

All Firehouse Subs have a localized mural. Findlay’s striking and colorful, hand-painted mural features Fort Findlay in the background with a Findlay Flag City banner billowing from Findlay’s Firetruck #1. Nearby, the Friedrich’s two boys are pictured when they were ages 10 and 12 playing baseball with firefighters. (The kids are now 20 and 22.)

Encouraged by Community Enthusiasm

Bret has felt very moved by community support, starting with the Findlay Fire Department’s willing donation of boots, uniforms and equipment used to decorate the interior. The Hancock Historical Society donated black and white fire department photos from long ago, now displayed in the restaurant, and volunteer fire departments from county towns have donated badges that the Friedrichs plan to display in a shadowbox.

“The support from the community has been awesome,” Bret said. “It is very easy to do business in Findlay.”

High Quality, Delicious Food

Another source of Bret’s enthusiasm is the distinction of Firehouse Subs’ offerings, especially the meat. Sliced fresh every day, the high-quality meat is heated by steamers. “No other place does it the same. We deliver a delicious product,” he said. “I have heard from customers that the steamers really bring out the flavors in the meat.” Our family whole heartedly agrees.

Though we did not order the same subs, each one of us remarked that the quality of the food was wonderful, and the meat – heartily portioned on each sub – was noteworthy.

Both my 10-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter ordered special subs. My son went with a medium sub with turkey, lettuce, onion and mayonnaise while my daughter selected a kids meal sub consisting of turkey, extra cheese, and lettuce. To round it out, both picked up a bag of chips and drank water with their meals.

Firehouse Subs are served cold or heated, with 10 on the menu to choose from, though custom orders are encouraged. Salads and chili are also available, along with sides of chips, cookie or brownie.

My husband left the restaurant content but basically stuffed, as he ordered a large Hook & Ladder sub with chips and a drink. The Hook & Ladder comes with smoked turkey breast, Virginia honey ham, Monterey Jack cheese and “fully involved,” which means loaded with mayo, deli mustard, lettuce, tomato, onion and a Kosher dill spear on the side.

Smaller sandwiches, served on a light wheat roll and with light mayo, are available with under 500 calories, and I ordered the Hook & Ladder of that variety. All I can say is, “Wow!” The wheat roll was so delicious, soft and warm, with almost a sweet flavor. The meat was exceptional and the combination of flavors in each bite was exquisite. Being a pickle fan, I must note that the dill spear was delightful, great flavor with a wonderful crunch.

The Surprises Keep Coming

There are more Firehouse Subs specialties that make it fun. They have freshly brewed iced tea and a Coca-Cola Freestyle machine, which means more than 120 drink options are available. I tried Raspberry Sprite, which I did not know existed – Yum!

When you enter the restaurant, workers welcome you in unison with a, “Welcome to Firehouse Subs!” Friendly employees also sometimes check on you as you eat, asking if you need anything or bussing tables. Kids have been known to receive a toy fireman’s hat to take home.

You can also sign up for a rewards card, and Firehouse Subs has an app. Customers can order ahead on the app, then tell the restaurant when you’d like to pick up your food.

The details make all of the difference.