Saturday, September 27, 2008

Firehouse Subs ~ North Richland Hills, Texas

Based on a tip from one of our three readers, I rolled over to Firehouse Subs the other day. Jacksonville, FL based Firehouse Subs represents yet another niche in the overcrowded QSR sandwich segment. Let's take a look at the different type of subs out there: There's the good old fashioned cold deli sub, most known via Subway, but RJG readers know we favor Jersey Mike's and the Dallas area Great Outdoors. Then you have the conveyor belt hot subs pioneered by Austin based Schlotzsky's, copied by Alvin Ord's (The RJG fondly remembers this obscure chain from the 1980s - one that still exists in Weatherford - and I haven't been since 1991 which was at the old NW Dallas location), and altered to great success by the Denver based Quizno's. Now you have the assembly line created sub, from the enterprising Dallas franchise Which Wich. Then there's the order up, sit down deli's like Jason's and McAlister's. Another variation is the wrap, a concept that most around here know from another Jacksonville based chain Roly Poly (we tried the NRH location once and thought it to be awful - and it closed soon after). Still waiting on grinders to catch on here (there are couple of good chains in the Midwest).

Firehouse Subs is yet another category: The hot grilled sub. Their variation reminds me most of the Cincinnati chain Penn Station (which I had in St. Louis once) and the Columbus, OH based Charley's Grilled Subs (had once in the home city). Since we have neither of the latter two, Firehouse fills that hole in the DFW market. And for what they do, they do well. At least based on a couple of visits so far - which was the Italian sub. Good bread with quality meats and spices - and heated to the right temperature - thank you Goldie Locks. The chain was started by two firemen, who learned their craft in the kitchen of their local fire station. The theme is uplifting, and they go a long way to recognize fireman from around the nation for their daily brave activities. Another theme they brought forward was the novelty of placing out a number of known and obscure hot sauces. Another favorite activity of Mr. RJG is trying the different ones out there. Since I've only had the Italian, it didn't make sense for me to try the sauces, so I need to find the right sandwich to do that with. But the meatball parm looked good, and I think I'll try that next, so the hot sauce investigation will have to wait.

Interesting side note: I noticed on the menu that they trademarked "Italian". How do you trademark that? The RJG wonders if it's too late to trademark "Salt"...

Another commentary on the North Richland Hills location: The RJG loves the concept of the European loft/villa style of urban living. Mrs. RJG and I hope to live like that one day later in life. But it seems rather ridiculous to me to see this kind of housing in an otherwise very suburban setting. This is not an all encompassing village, but is rather served by a strip mall next door. There are no plans for a public rail line to pass through. You need a car to get anywhere. Other than the obvious aesthetic appeal, there's not much to distinguish these condos from any other local apartment. Downtown Ft. Worth or Dallas? Sure! Even in Grapevine where they're planning a rail terminus or near the Southlake Town Center - I could see it. But North Richland Hills, right off Hwy 26? I don't get it. Same with the Art House in Keller. BTW, Google Maps was struggling with the location for awhile. If looking for this location - it's on Hwy 26, SW of Precinct Line Rd. just west of a Krogers, McAlisters and Chipotle. Oh, and next to the new Chapps Cafe.

They also have a second NE Tarrant location, in Euless.

Website

Firehouse Subs on Urbanspoon
Firehouse Subs on Urbanspoon

3 comments:

Cowboy fan, burger junkie, GodFather of Tech said...

The wife and I have tried this place and your review it right on.

I haven't been back lately, but I think another trip is in order (or maybe a venture to the Chapp's almost next door).

Daily reader...thanks for the reviews.

Torrey said...

Dude...Bad, bad service, uncaring manager (who stayed on his cell phone while I had to return my sandwich twice), and way over-priced for the sub-standard quality. Their employees seem to have a little chip on their shoulders when you want anything other than the way they think it should be made. Finally, they cannot seem to grasp the concept that someone may not want that darn pickle they wrap up with the sandwich, thus making it soggy and pickle-tasting.

RJG said...

Torrey, Sorry to hear about your experience. That's the biggest problem with chains, is the wide variation in consistency from location to location - and even within the same location. I try hard not to not base my reviews on service - though I too can get really frustrated (as you saw in my Chuy's review).