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Just like at any firehouse, there's no shortage of people waiting to help you at the newly opened Firehouse Subs (4628 J.C. Nichols Parkway) on the Plaza.
Three people shouted a welcome when I walked through the door to the sandwich shop, which opened this past Saturday. But the firehouse spirit doesn't end with the counter service. It's everywhere you look.
The tables are spotted like a Dalmatian, a firefighter's suit hangs from an inlaid-brick wall, and there's an oversized mural depicting a Kansas City firetruck. Even the cups come with pictures of real firefighters because this franchise was "FOUNDED BY FIREMAN." It's a refreshing throwback to the days when Subway had train-themed wallpaper.
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This shop is the living embodiment of the stereotype that firefighters love to cook. And while the atmosphere is warm and bright, the sandwiches are the standard fare of a typical sub shop.
All of the heroes, available in 8- or 12-inch sizes, are hot, unless you request them cold. The subs are $4.79 to $5.69, while a combo (chips and a soda) will run you $6.78 to $8.08.
Their signature Smokehouse Beef and Cheddar Brisket was tender but forgettable. The standards for brisket are likely a bit higher in Kansas City than other places. The meatball sub (pictured above) was tasty, although one Pitch
staffer noted, "It's meat and sauce and cheese -- you're not going to screw that up." It's an entertaining concept and a perfectly acceptable lunch option, but if you really want food cooked by a firefighter, just stop in to The Cook Shack Cafe
and see retired firefighter Bill Crow.
Firehouse Subs was launched by a pair of firefighting brothers, Chris and Robin Sorensen, in Jacksonville, Florida, 16 years ago. Today, there are more than 400 restaurants in 21 states. This is the fourth location in the Kansas City area, a fifth is slated to open in Olathe (15137 W. 119th St.) on March 1. There are Firehouse Subs at 4167 Sterling, 8934 NW Skyview Avenue and 7521 W. 119th St. (Overland Park).
The Plaza shop is open from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. You can call ahead at 816-605-1700.