News Nearby: Cranberry Firehouse Subs to Open Monday
The sub shop will feature memorabilia from the Cranberry Township Volunteer Fire Company.
In May, Cranberry Patch asked readers what business they’d like to see at the former Original DiCarlo’s Famous Pizza, which shut its doors in The Streets of Cranberry last fall.
More than a few readers responded a Firehouse Subs would be a perfect fit for the location.
The specialty sandwich shop officially opens for business Monday in the shopping plaza. Part of a franchise founded close to two decades ago in Jacksonville, Fla. by former firefighter brothers Robin and Chris Sorensen, Firehouse Subs serves up a variety of hot and cold subs in a fast casual environment.
In the case of the hot subs, the customers’ chosen meats are “steamed” before being placed on toasted bread. The restaurant’s number one seller is the “Hook & Ladder,” which consists of smoked turkey, Virginia honey ham and Monterey Jack cheese
“It’s the best subs they’re ever going to have,” said restaurant owner Matt Liggett, who also is the area representative for Firehouse Subs in Western Pennsylvania. “The meats we serve are choice cuts of meat.”
While the restaurant chain has more than 500 locations across the nation, including Puerto Rico, the Firehouse Subs in Cranberry will be the first of its kind north of Pittsburgh.
Last fall, a Firehouse Subs opened in McMurray, Washington County. Liggett said he also is scouting locations for a new restaurant in Robinson. The goal is to open 35 to 38 Firehouse Subs in the Pittsburgh market in the next seven years, he said.
“It’s really grown a lot in the last five years,” he said of the franchise. “As we like to say, it’s catching on like wildfire.”
Part of the Firehouse Subs business model is to retain close ties with fire departments in the communities where the restaurants are located. Cranberry is no exception.
Liggett said a mural on the restaurant’s wall would feature “Big George,” aka the Cranberry Township Volunteer Fire Company’s tower ladder truck, as well as renderings of the station and a piece of twisted steel that fell from one of the World Trade Center towers on Sept. 11 2001, which Cranberry firefighters plan to build a memorial around.
Hanging from heavy hooks near the front of the building will be a firefighter jacket, helmet and other equipment donated to the restaurant by the fire company that will available for customers, and kids, to try on. Dotting the walls of the restaurant are 16-by-20 inch photos of the local volunteers in action.
But the company’s commitment to local fire departments goes beyond just décor.
Through its Public Safety Foundation, Firehouse Subs provides funding, equipment, and educational opportunities to first-responders. Each restaurant recycles leftover, five-gallon pickle buckets and sells them to customers for $2 each. Donation canisters on register counters explain the nonprofit’s mission and collect spare change, while the round up program allows guests to “round up” their bill to the nearest dollar.
In April, the Peters Township Fire Department received a grant worth more than $6,800 from the foundation, which was used to buy a new thermal imaging camera. Since 2005, which is when the nonprofit was first established, the foundation has donated more than $4.5 million to first responders, according the company.
Cranberry Fire Chief Brian Kovac said he is pleased the restaurant is opening in the community—and that it will be decorated with memorabilia from the company. He added the grant program also is a plus because it could save local tax dollars from being used to buy equipment for the fire company, which receives financial support from the township.
“It’s nice to have the recognition,” Kovac said.
The restaurant also will feature a Coca-Cola Freestyle Fountain—similar to the one at Moe’s Southwest Grill—offering more than 120 flavors.
Firehouse Subs officially opens at 10:30 a.m. Monday. Following that, the restaurant will be open from 10:30 to 9 p.m. seven days a week, Liggett said. He expects to have a grand opening celebration for the restaurant later in the summer.