'It melts in your mouth': Firehouse Subs opens second location in Barrie

The fan favourite is the Smokehouse Beef and Cheddar Brisket

As staff opened the doors for the second day of business, the new Firehouse Subs in Park Place already had a lineup almost out the door.

And co-owner Nilam Shah is happy new and returning patrons are placing their orders at the new south-end location at 169 Live Eight Way, which came about after customer demand.

“People would ask when we were opening a location in the south (of Barrie),” Shah said.

Shah and his nephew Ravish own a Bayfield Street spot, which opened in 2018, along with one in Orillia and Vaughan.

With previous restaurant chain experience, Nilam said they went to a Firehouse Subs to see if they had a connection to the company, created in 1994 by brothers and former firefighters in Jacksonville, Florida.

“We looked at how people were getting served, and that all staff said ‘welcome to Firehouse’ as guests entered,” Nilam said. “Nowadays, that service isn’t there as much. It’s a little thing, but it’s important.”

Firehouse Subs is known for its premium meats and cheeses — cut fresh each morning — which are then steamed and piled high on a toasted sub roll and served with fresh produce and condiments.

The fan favourite so far has been the Smokehouse Beef and Cheddar Brisket, Shah said.

It boasts slow-smoked brisket, melted cheddar, mayonnaise and the house-special Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce.

That’s exactly what frequent customer Ryan Thurston ordered, adding caramelized onion and hot banana peppers for extra flavour. He had also inquired about a south-end location closer to his Innisfil Heights home.

“You can’t get a sandwich like that anywhere else,” Thurston said. “These are luxury subs — tons of meat with phenomenal flavour, thanks to the barbecue sauce.”

Thurston said the portions are also huge, adding he gets a large, but it’s not necessary.

“It melts in your mouth. And it’s the same quality every single time. You know what you’re getting.”

Nilam said many customers find their favourite, but he encourages patrons to try something new every time.

Along with the quality, Firehouse Subs is also known for giving back to the community with its Public Safety Foundation, which has raised significant funds through donations.

“The first thing we donated to Barrie Police was AED machines,” Nilam said. A utility task vehicle and a drone was also donated in 2020 to help with search and rescues.

Nilam said Firehouse Subs served volunteers during the Barrie tornado last July, and handed out gift cards to people struggling in the early days of the pandemic.