Firehouse Subs opens its doors in Idaho Falls

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Customers grabbing lunch at Firehouse Subs during the first day of business Monday | Rett Nelson, EastIdahoNews.com

IDAHO FALLS – After three years of trying to bring Firehouse Subs to Idaho Falls, Chris and Natalie Morris have succeeded.

A newly completed 1,875 square foot restaurant inside the Railway Crossings Center across from Walmart on Utah Ave. officially opened for business Monday.

“We’re excited to be set up in our hometown where we live. It’s an excellent opportunity with great people. We’re fortunate to have a strong, solid crew. We’re excited to continue to learn, improve and serve the community,” Chris Morris tells EastIdahoNews.com.

The Morris’ opened the store to friends and family over the weekend to celebrate the opening and get a feel for what the business rush would look like. Chris says more than 400 subs were given away to customers during the two-day event.

RELATED | The local firefighter behind the new Firehouse Subs coming to Idaho Falls

What people love about it, Natalie says, is the cooking process. The subs are prepared with steam-heated meats and cheeses on a toasted sub roll and served with vegetables and condiments.

The Hook and Ladder is one of their most popular subs, which comes with ham and bacon. Other items include the Engineer and the Firehouse Hero.

Firehouse Subs is also known for providing lifesaving equipment and resources to first responders through their Public Safety Foundation. The foundation awards grants to fire departments and other agencies across the country every quarter. More than $162,000 has been awarded to agencies across the state since the restaurant’s inception in Idaho.

Going out to eat and tasting new menu items has always been a favorite past time for Chris, and his job as a firefighter at the INL gives him a healthy appetite.

So discovering Firehouse Subs was like a match made in heaven.

Customers eating lunch at Firehouse Subs located at 435 S. Utah Ave. in Idaho Falls | Rett Nelson, EastIdahoNews.com

Opening the restaurant

The popular sub and salad restaurant chain draws inspiration from the fire station where its creators, Chris and Robin Sorenson, worked in Jacksonville, Florida. It first opened there in 1994 but has since grown to include 1,135 locations across the nation.

Then three years ago, Chris and Natalie first started thinking about opening a Firehouse Subs in Idaho Falls.

Their efforts to bring the restaurant to the area hit a snag along the way. Until Feb. 2018, the franchise rights were not available. But eventually, Morris’s acquired the rights to open a restaurant and plans for its construction moved forward.

Chris now has double duty as a restauranteur in his off time, while Natalie works as the restaurant’s operations manager.

“I come in and help out on my day off. (Natalie) tells me where to go and what to do and that’s how we make it work,” Chris says.

The Idaho Falls location is the restaurant’s fifth location in Idaho. There is currently a Firehouse Subs in Pocatello, but Morris says if all goes well with the Idaho Falls store, they would like to open a location in Ammon as well.

“We hope Idaho Falls takes a liking to it. We want to have a long-term footprint in Idaho Falls. We’d like to start incorporating a lot of community events, like helping out local fire departments, and just be an active player in the community,” Chris told us in November.

Natalie says they’d like to partner with local schools by awarding free meals to students who are involved in the library’s summer reading program.

Firehouse Subs is located at 435 S. Utah Ave. and will operate seven days a week from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. The Morris’s are planning to hold a grand opening in the next several weeks.

Natalie and Chris Morris in front of mural inside the restaurant, which features a fire engine next to the Bonneville Hotel. Natalie says every Firehouse Subs nationwide features a localized mural | Courtesy Jane Shehane
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