We weren’t sure what to expect from the new sub shop in the Lincoln Court Shopping Center called Firehouse Subs, but decided to stop in for a takeout meal.
A hearty, ”Welcome to the firehouse!” greeted us as we entered.
The friendly server behind the counter was patient as we asked about different items and “Combos.” Since we planned to enjoy the subs several hours later while watching the Phillies game, we asked that the hoagies be made with cold fillings rather than steaming the meats and cheese “to enhance their flavor.” We admit that we may have missed out on the full experience, but there were errands to run and baseball to watch, so we placed our order at the counter.
We decided against the combos, which include a choice from a large variety of chips and snacks and a fountain beverage. We also declined the option of making the sandwiches a “double” by adding twice the amount of meat for an additional $2.
It was mid-afternoon—between the usual lunch and dinner times—so we had a chance to look around at the firefighters' jackets, hats and other paraphernalia decorating the walls. The black-and-white Dalmatian table tops and fire-engine-red padded chairs continued the theme. We spied a stack of red plastic fireman's hats that are included in the “Kids Combos” and wished we were a few years younger ourselves. Flat-screen televisions hung in the corners of the clean, bright space.
Another server brought our order to us, packed in brown paper bags. We placed the bags in our refrigerator at home and unpacked the food several hours later. We found plastic spoons, crackers and brown paper napkins on top of a medium sized black plastic bowl of Firehouse Chili ($3.89). We found it to be classic chili—kidney beans, onion chunks, and bits of ground beef in a tomato sauce with mild chili powder and spicy heat. Even without the addition of optional melted cheese, this could make a small meal.
Each of the subs was packed with a crisp garlic pickle slice tucked into the paper wrapping. The medium sized hot Veggie Sub ($5.49) on our choice of a wheat roll was served “Fully Involved” with Provolone cheese, mayonnaise, mustard, shredded lettuce, tomato and onion. Sauteed green peppers, onions, mushrooms and sharp cheddar cheese made it a hearty sandwich. The wheat roll had a slight sweetness and a mild wheat flavor.
The Turkey Bacon Ranch sub ($5.89) had good quality shaved deli turkey meat, sharp cheddar cheese, bacon and peppercorn ranch dressing on a fresh, white roll. The moderate amount of bacon was overwhelmed with a bit too much creamy ranch dressing for our taste.
A Smokehouse Beef & Cheddar Brisket sub ($5.89) had a generous portion of shaved brisket that reminded us of prosciutto with its slightly salty marbled strips of meat. We removed some of the cheddar cheese that would normally be melted if we had gone with their usual steaming of meats and cheeses. Next time we’d ask for much less of the “special sauces” that tasted like sweet barbecue and mayonnaise that seemed to overwhelm the wonderful meat.
We finished our feast with an oatmeal raisin cookie ($0.75) that they bake onsite, along with brownies and other cookies. The large cookie was sweet and chewy with balanced cinnamon flavor and raisins.
Firehouse Subs was started over fifteen years ago by two brothers from a family with a long history of firefighting. They now have more than 440 shops and a foundation to improve public safety through donations to firehouses.
Lincoln Court Shopping Center, 235 Lancaster Avenue, Malvern
Hours: Sun – Thurs, 10:30 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Fri, Sat, 10:30 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Cost: Chili, salad, $4 to $6; subs, $5.50 – $6; combo platters, $8
Credit cards: VISA, MasterCard
Special Features: Firehouse themed, family friendly