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Newcomer Firehouse Subs looking to extinguish the hunger

Hot specialty sub shop opens Saturday in Guelph's south end

Firehouse Subs lives up to its name.

Walking in to south Guelph's newest fast casual restaurant you are greeted first by a "welcome to Firehouse" collective greeting by the staff behind the counter, then by the firefighter-themed decor of the 40-seat sub shop.

Anchoring the theme is a large mural above one wall, depicting a Guelph Fire Department truck with Basilica of Our Lady in the background. There's even fire overalls and helmets handing on the wall.

It's a unique look for what owner 'J' Christensen says is a unique product.

"The thing that makes us different than the other guys is steamers," says Christenson. "We steam our meat and that releases all the flavours. Then we melt the cheese to the perfect consistency."

After a soft opening this week, Firehouse Subs opens to the public Saturday at 202 Clair Rd. E., in the plaza on the northeast corner of Gordon/Clare intersection.

Christenson, a Guelph native who graduated from Centennial high school and the University of Guelph, worked in other people's restaurants for 15 years, getting his first job making salads at East Side Mario's on Stone Road.

When he and his wife were looking to get into the restaurant business, he "tripped over" Firehouse while attending a franchise convention in Florida.

"My wife and I took advantage of the housing market, sold our house and bought this," he says. "We always knew we would own a restaurant, we just never knew how it would happen."

Christensen says he was sold after one bite of a Firehouse Sub.

"My expectations were blown away by the flavour," he says. "Once you try our sub you'll know why."

The new location seats 40 and employs 30 people.

The signature offering is the smokehouse beef and cheddar brisket.

Prices range from $7.49 for an eight-inch hook and ladder sub (turkey and ham) up to $13.99 for a foot long smokehouse beef and cheddar brisket.

Firehouse Subs was started in 1994 in Florida by a pair of firefighter brothers, hence the name and firefighter theme inside the restaurants.

They now have over 1,000 franchises, including 11 in Ontario, where they have been since 2015. The owners of the Canadian rights to the chain expect to open 90 restaurants in Ontario by 2025.

The menu is simple and to the point: 10 different sub options, with three salads, chilli, cookies and chips and a build-your-own option.

The restaurant has a strong charitable component, with various means used to collect for its Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation of Canada, including being asked to round up your bill to the nearest dollar as a donation.

Firehouse Subs is open seven days a week from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.