Specialty sub shop Firehouse Subs has opened at 4501 Woodward Ave. in midtown.
The menu offers specialty subs, a 500-calorie sandwich and salad menu, kids combos, make-your-own-sub and vegetarian options, side items and Coca-Cola products.
Manager Deanna Bolton said customers receive a prompt greeting upon entering the store and that employees have a special code to notify each other that guests are at the door.
“We say ‘10-12’ when someone enters the store. It’s a real firefighter code that means a visitor is present, but in our case, it means a customer has just walked in,” she said.
If customers say they’ve never visited a Firehouse Subs before, an employee will give them a full menu tour, Bolton said.
Co-owner Josh Griessel said there are some key differences between Firehouse Subs and other sub shops in the midtown area: the quality, the steam and the foundation.
He said Firehouse Subs only uses fresh vegetables and USDA certified meats for its menu items.
“We cut the meat and vegetables fresh every morning. Nothing comes pre-packaged,” Bolton said.
She also said the sandwiches are packed with more ingredients than competing sandwich shops.
“Every medium sandwich has a quarter pound of meat, and you can add all the add-ons you want for free,” she said.
Griessel said steaming the ingredients and toasting the bun separately is the key to their subs.
“Steaming the ingredients together opens up the flavor profiles and makes for a better tasting sub,” he said.
Firehouse Subs employee and junior mechanical engineering major Sun Kim said customers like that the processes are done separately because “it prevents a soggy bun.”
Juhie Mehta, a sophomore public health and economics major, said she’s excited about the new location in midtown and has visited a few times since its mid-October opening.
Mehta said Firehouse Subs is her first choice because the ingredients are fresh and served warm, and because it provides customers with a hot sauce bar with dozens of options.
“In comparison to other sandwich stores in the area, Firehouse is simply better,” she said.
Griessel said, “We wanted to be the first Firehouse Subs in the Detroit area. We believe Detroit is making a comeback, and we want to be a part of its revival.”
He said the most important characteristic of Firehouse Subs is its commitment to the community, so all students, veterans and emergency service personnel receive a 10 percent discount.
Griessel said Firehouse Subs especially works towards giving back to first responders through its Public Safety Foundation. He said over the past few years, Michigan locations together have raised over $50,000 toward providing first responders with necessary safety equipment.
Bolton said donating is easy. Customers are asked if they would like to round up their change to the next dollar amount and that change is donated to the foundation.
“The small amounts add up and make a big difference,” she said.
“Our purpose is to provide fresh and flavorful food to our customers and to always support the community we are a part of,” Griessel said.