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Former pro athletes open Firehouse Subs in Fort Worth

🕐 3 min read

Firehouse Subs opened its newest location in Fort Worth today, Wednesday, September 16, and owners Brandon Birdwell, Charlie Johnson − former NFL lineman and Josh Fields − former MLB baseball player are excited to open their franchise’s first DFW location.

Charlie Johnson grew up in the area and was a graduate of Sherman High School. He says, “My parents still live in Sherman, so it was a great opportunity to open a location close to home.” Johnson and partner Josh Fields met as student athletes on the campus of Oklahoma State University and have remained close friends. A former NFL lineman, Johnson played for the Indianapolis Colts for four seasons after being drafted in the sixth round of the 2006 NFL Draft. The Colts went on to win Super Bowl XLI his rookie year. Johnson finished his career with the Minnesota Vikings in 2014.

Headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla., there are now over 900 Firehouse Subs locations in 43 states. Each Firehouse Subs restaurant is franchised and this is the first Fort Worth location for the trio. The new location is at 501 Alta Mere Drive, Suite 1009. They will be open Sunday – Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Co-owner Brandon Birdwell says, “For now our primary focus will be on this new Fort Worth location, but we do have plans to expand. We are hoping to open two more Firehouse Subs in the Metroplex over the next couple of years, one in North Arlington and another in Waxahachie.”

This will be the 27th location in Dallas/Fort Worth for the award-winning fast casual chain serving premium meats and cheeses steamed piping hot and piled high on a toasted sub roll, with loads of fresh produce and condiments. Founded by former firefighting brothers, Chris Sorensen and Robin Sorensen, the restaurant’s firehouse décor is based on the founding family’s decades of fire and police service, and the new location is no different, decorated with firefighting memorabilia.

Maria Coukoulis of The Zimmerman Agency says, “A unique feature to Firehouse Subs restaurants is the custom, hand painted mural inside the dining room. The Alta Mere location’s mural depicts the Fort Worth Fire Department alongside the state’s traditional Texas Longhorn in the Historic Stock Yards District of Cowtown.” Chief Mural Artist Joe Puskas and his team paint every mural with an eye on the community that each restaurant serves. Since the opening of the first Firehouse Subs in 1994, Puskas has painted more than 900 murals.

The top selling Hook & Ladder sub, comes with smoked turkey breast and Virginia honey ham smothered with Monterey Jack cheese. Other top sellers include the Smokehouse Beef and Cheddar Brisket, which is loaded with USDA choice beef brisket which is smoked for at least 16 hours in an authentic Texas smokehouse and topped with melted cheddar cheese and a special combination of sauces, including Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce.

Another sauce that is unique to Firehouse Subs is the popular Captain Sorensen’s Datil Pepper Hot Sauce, which was named in honor of the founding brothers’ father, Rob Sorensen, a fire captain who retired after 43 years of service. The sauce has a spicy-sweet flavor from the datil pepper, which is a hot pepper similar to habaneros, but with a sweeter flavor profile. Firehouse Subs, the largest user of datil peppers in the world, and they produce more than 60,000 gallons of this signature hot sauce every year.

In 2005, Firehouse Subs created the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation with the mission of providing funding, life-saving equipment and educational opportunities to first responders and public safety organizations. So far, Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation has given $14 million to hometown heroes in 43 states and Puerto Rico, including more than $975,500 in Texas alone.

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