Firehouse Subs is one of Jacksonville’s largest homegrown restaurant chains. Founded just 21 years ago, Firehouse has now surpassed 850 stores and shows no signs of stopping any time soon. Needless to say we’re fans of seeing a couple of former fireman from Jax make it big. Firehouse Subs invited us out to try a new line of subs they’re testing in select markets, including Jax. They’ve always been known for their hot subs with steamed meats and toasted bread. Now they’ve launched a brand new line of cold subs they hope will catch your attention.
Before I get started reviewing the new cold subs Firehouse is rolling out in Jax I have a confession to make. I’m not a fan of cold sandwiches. Hot sandwiches are great but for me cold sandwiches feel more like an appetizer than a meal. I know…..I’m weird. Firehouse subs has rolled out 6 new Cold Deli Heroes sandwiches. Each sandwich is served on a toasted hero roll that’s a bit different than their usual bread. The new hero bread is really good. I actually think I enjoy it a bit more than the original bread in fact. Toasting the bread gives the sandwich the feel of a hot sub without the entire sub actually being hot. Sometimes in the Firehouse hot subs it feels like all of the ingredients meld together. Sometimes that’s enjoyable and sometimes you’re just not in the mood. In the past that meant making a choice between Firehouse or Subway. With the new cold subs each ingredient stands out a bit more. So now, I’ll just go to Firehouse regardless of which sub mood I’m in.
Let’s get to the actual subs! Firehouse Sub’s most popular sub is the Hook and Ladder. Everyone is fairly familiar with it. They offer a cold version called simply the Hook and Ladder Hero which is identical to the normal Hook and Ladder except for the addition of Italian dressing and salt and pepper. If you’re a fan of the Hook and Ladder you’ll be a fan of this one. The cold version will hold up a lot better when you’re not going to eat the sub immediately. The next time you’re going out on the boat or headed on a road trip head to Firehouse and grab the Hook and Ladder Hero to throw in the cooler. Next up was The Malibu – smoked turkey breast and bacon with avocado, spinach, onion, tomato, spicy honey mustard and salt and pepper. It’s really nice to bite into a sub with spinach rather than iceberg lettuce. It’s better for you and has more flavor. In this sub you really got the taste of honey from the honey mustard and just a hint of spice. If you like the taste of honey and subs with a touch of spice this one will be your cup of tea even if like me you’re not a huge traditional mustard fan.
Next up was The Sicilian – Hot cappicola, ham, salami, and pepperoni with provolone, sweet peppers, lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo, deli mustard, salt and pepper plus italian dressing and seasoning. If you like your food spicy this one’s for you. It definitely wasn’t for me. My mouth was burning! The hot cherry peppers added a unique taste that I think most folks will enjoy if they’re in the mood for something a little different. Next was The Battalion Chief – Roast beef with cheddar cheese, crispy onion straws, mayo, lettuce and spicy horseradish mayo. This one was a HUGE winner in my book. I loved it! It reminded me of the beef and cheddar at Arby’s but without the nasty liquid cheese leaking out the sides and with far better ingredients. The onion straws add a nice crunch. The spicy horseradish mayo adds just a hint of spice and a hint of horseradish flavor that gives the sandwich what I’d call a “complete taste”. Roast beef fans are going to be madly in love! I’m going back for another one this week. I’m not joking.
Next was The Caesar Chicken – grilled chicken breast with romaine, tomato, Caesar dressing, and salt and pepper on toasted garlic and asiago cheese bread. When they toasted the garlic asiago bread it made the whole restaurant smell delicious. This one tastes just like a chicken Caesar salad got nicely assembled onto some awesome bread. The last one we tried was The Mediterranean – hummus, feta, marinated artichoke hearts, olive mix, cucumber, lettuce, spinach, tomato, onion, salt and pepper and balsamic vinaigrette on toasted asiago cheese bread. It’s offered with or without chicken. Since we know we’ve got a solid following of vegans and vegetarians we went without chicken to see if the veggie version would be up to our standards. It was veggie heaven and it was HUGE. Veggies overflowed from both sides. The flavors of hummus and feta and artichoke hearts really stood out offering a taste the likes of which I haven’t found at any other sub shop. If a quality vegan cheese were offered as a substitute for feta this sub could be a true standout as a vegan option. I imagine the sub would be really great without the feta regardless. Grab this one on meatless Monday!
Being the cold sandwich hater that I am I didn’t go into this one with high hopes. I left really impressed and planning to head back for the Battalion Chief. I’d say the new Firehouse Cold Deli Hero line is a winner.
Note: From time to time we’re invited out to try a restaurant or sample new menu offerings. This meal is usually comped, as this one was. We’re under no obligation to write a positive review or any review at all when we’re invited out to try a place. Every review you see on our site will be an honest review of the place whether or not the restaurant provided us with the meal at their cost.