Heard on the Street: New sub shop fires up for business in southwest Rochester

September 25, 2018

Rochester’s newest sub sandwich shop fired up and opened for business on Saturday.

Firehouse Subs, a Jacksonville, Fla.-based fast casual sandwich chain, started serving up customers at its first Southeast Minnesota location at 1290 Salem Road SW.

The 2,000-square-foot restaurant, owned by Meredith and Joel Bell, of Owatonna, is located in the space last occupied by Dickey’s Barbecue Pit. It’s next door to Aspen Dental and near Star Ocean Buffet in the TJ Maxx Plaza.

The new shop features a drive-through window, which is the first of Firehouse Sub’s almost 1,150 restaurants to have one.

“The combination of flavorful food and a passion for helping the community got us hooked on the brand, and we’re thrilled to share that with Rochester,” Meredith Bell said in the announcement of the opening.

They have 25 to 30 employees on staff and restaurant seats more than 30 customers.

Founded by two brothers who are former firefighters, Firehouse Subs is about more than just serving up an array of hot and cold sub sandwiches as well as salads.

Firehouse supports first responders through its nonprofit Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation.

The Rochester Fire Department donated photos and memorabilia to decorate the new eatery. The restaurant’s custom, hand-painted mural spotlights the Rochester Fire Department with the owners’ three daughters and their dog playing on a fire truck in front of the city skyline.

Unique to Firehouse Subs is Captain Sorensen’s Datil Pepper Hot Sauce. The sauce has a spicy-sweet flavor from the datil pepper, a hot pepper similar to a habanero but with a sweeter taste. Firehouse, which claims to be the largest user of datil peppers in the world, will produce more than 65,000 gallons of its signature hot sauce this year.

Firehouse has seven locations in the Twin Cities area and St. Cloud.

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