Owner Jina Kim recalled that one night she overheard her husband, Danny and brother-in-law talking about Firehouse Sub’s hot sauces and their disappointment of not purchasing enough to enjoy at home. She quickly rummaged through her purse and found a business card from a corporate executive that she had met a few years prior. She pulled out the business card and her husband and brother-in-law were shocked that she had this business connection.
This chance encounter with the executive and random hot sauce conversation started the 5-year journey to opening Pierce County’s first Firehouse Subs. Jina Kim and her husband had been diligently working on opening a Firehouse Subs for the last 5 years and finally everything aligned. Jina informed me that she was very adamant on opening near the military base because she strongly believes in giving back to our first responders. During the two-day soft open, she kindly asked those that attended to donate to first responders.
During our lunch, Jina was kind enough to give me a brief history lesson on the delicious brand. The first store was opened in Jacksonville, Florida by a firefighter after years of suggestions that he needed to open up his own place because his food was just that amazing. He finally agreed and opened up the sandwich shop, which is now Firehouse Subs, but ironically, the first customer ordered a hot dog.
This was my first Firehouse Subs experience and I totally get all the hype. I discovered that their subs are steamed, instead of microwaved or toasted, which helps lock in the flavor and makes it juicy and gives the sandwich its unique flavor. The steamed brisket is a signature sandwich that even Arby’s tried to duplicate it.
Even Coca-Cola wanted a hand in the Firehouse Subs business, wanting to be the vendor for all the locations. At first, Firehouse Subs declined because of their signature drink. Firehouse told Coca-Cola that they did not have the ability to make their signature drink, the Cherry Limeade. Coca-Cola countered with a resolution, the Coca-Cola Freestyle. Now the Coca-Cola Freestyle can be found in just about every fast food restaurant.
In addition to the mouthwatering food, the décor of the shop is beyond cute, it’s also authentic. A few of the props were donated from the Lakewood Fire Department. My 2-year-old son had a blast playing with the water hose and even received a fireman’s hat as a souvenir.
Next time you are in the neighborhood, grab a bit to eat with your family at Firehouse Subs.
5700 100th St. SW Ste 350
Lakewood, WA 98499
Ph. (253) 302-4566
Sunday – Saturday, 10:30 a.m. – 9 p.m.