Firehouse Subs, a Florida restaurant chain with more than 800 locations in 42 states, has opened its first North Dakota location at Galleria on Veterans, 5675 26th Ave. S.
The fast-casual restaurant, located on the east side of Veterans Boulevard, is known for its menu of hot, toasted sub sandwiches and firehouse décor.
The local franchise owned by Cathie and Dale Thompson and Dave and Marguerite Kent is decorated with firefighter memorabilia from both the Fargo and West Fargo fire departments.
“The helmet is my dad’s. He’s a retired fireman,” said Cathie, referring to her father, Ken Larson of Pelican Rapids, Minn.
The Thompsons had been considering operating a franchise business for some time, Cathie said.
They ate at Firehouse Subs while attending an NDSU Bison football game in Frisco, Texas.
Dale was on his cellphone looking into the franchise while they were eating, Cathie said.
The Thompsons visited corporate headquarters in Jacksonville, Fla.
“After hearing the whole story around it, we felt this was the type of franchise we would be interested in,” she said.
The four partners selected the Veterans Boulevard site, hired a contractor and hung their restaurant sign in mid-June.
“So the buzz started then,” Cathie said.
The restaurant officially opened Aug. 13.
The menu contains 16 different sandwich options, salads, kids’ combos and beverages.
“All are hot subs because we steam the meat and cheese and toast the bread,” Cathie said.
The restaurant also offers an extensive catering menu of sub, dessert and salad platters, box lunches and beverages. All sub platters are served cold, she said.
The eatery has 24 full- and part-time employees.
“We’d love to have 30. It’s been a challenge finding workers,” she said.
Firehouse Subs is open from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and until 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
The chain was founded in 1994 by former firefighter brothers Chris and Robin Sorenson.
In 2005, the company created Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation, which has given $10.1 million for lifesaving equipment and educational opportunities to first responders and public safety organizations in 41 states and Puerto Rico.
To raise money for the foundation, the restaurant sells empty 5-gallon pickle buckets for $2, has “spare change” donation canisters and allows customers to round their bill to the nearest dollar.
Local fire, ambulance and police departments can apply for grants from the foundation, she said.
“I really hope one of them will apply,” Cathie said. “I’d like to see that happen.”