Industry News

First Responder Family Opens the First Firehouse Subs® in Burlington

August 12, 2019 // // BURLINGTON, Ontario – Firehouse Subs announces the grand opening of its first location in Burlington, Ontario at 2301 Appleby Line on Monday, August 6, under the ownership of Franchisees Steve and Olimpia Panella. Firehouse Subs serves premium meats and cheeses steamed and piled high on a toasted sub roll, served “Fully Involved®” with fresh produce and condiments.

This is the 28th Canadian location for the award-winning fast casual restaurant chain, and the third restaurant for this husband and wife duo and their business partners, who currently own and operate Firehouse Subs restaurants in Milton and Stoney Creek. Steve Panella is a Peel Regional Police Officer and Olimpia Panella was a firefighter for the Milton Fire Department. As first responders, the two were drawn to Firehouse Subs because of its founding history and commitment to helping communities through Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation.

“Helping people and keeping communities safe is a very rewarding feeling,” Steve Panella said. “We are passionate about the work we do with this brand, serving communities through hearty, flavourful food and by giving back through Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation of Canada. We can’t wait to continue that work in Burlington.”

“We run our restaurants like big families, from our crew members to our guests,” Olimpia Panella. “That’s a quality we learned as first responders and continue to value as entrepreneurs. From the moment our guests walk in the door, we want them to feel welcomed and at home. We’ve appreciated their support in Milton and Stoney Creek and are looking forward to bringing our family business to Burlington.”

The Panellas are dedicated to continuing Firehouse Subs’ commitment to helping public safety organizations through Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation of Canada®, which has granted more than $641,000 to hometown heroes throughout Ontario.

The Burlington Firehouse Subs restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. The restaurant will offer in-house catering services, from sandwich and dessert platters to salads and snacks that can fuel occasions of all sizes.

Founded by former firefighting brothers, the new Burlington restaurant décor reflects the founding family’s decades of fire and police service through photos and equipment donated by the local fire department. It boasts a custom, hand-painted mural by Chief Mural Artist Joe Puskas, depicting a local hero from the Burlington Fire Department paying tribute at The Naval Ships’ Memorial Monument, along with the iconic Brant Street Pier in the background. Since the opening of the first Firehouse Subs in 1994, Puskas and his team have painted more than 1,170 murals from his studio at Firehouse Subs Headquarters in Jacksonville, Fla.

Firehouse Subs offers medium and large hot specialty subs, including the No. 1 selling Hook & Ladder® sub, piled high with smoked turkey breast and Virginia honey ham smothered with Monterey Jack cheese and served Fully Involved with mayo, deli mustard, lettuce, tomato, onion and a kosher dill pickle on the side. Other top sellers include the Smokehouse Beef & Cheddar Brisket™ loaded with USDA choice beef brisket smoked for up to 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. Additionally, each restaurant offers an assortment of 25+ complimentary hot sauces, including Captain Sorensen’s® Datil Pepper Hot Sauce, named in honor of the founding brothers’ father, Rob Sorensen, a 43-year retired fire captain.

The touch-screen operated Coca-Cola Freestyle® fountain is available in every restaurant and offers 175+ sparkling and still beverage brands with 90+ zero and low-calorie options. Choices include Mello-Yellow – a rare find in Canada – as well as the top-selling non-carbonated fountain drink Cherry Lime-Aid™, Cherry Lime-Aid™ Light and Sparkling Cherry Lime-Aid™, all exclusive original recipes by Firehouse Subs, served with fresh squeezed lime.

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina’s wrath inspired Firehouse Subs founders, Chris and Robin Sorensen, to establish the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation in the U.S. Ten years later, with the opening of the first Canadian restaurant in 2015, Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation of Canada was born with the mission of providing funding, lifesaving equipment and education opportunities to first responders and public safety organizations. The Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation of Canada has granted more than $641,000 to hometown heroes in Ontario, along with more than $44 million in 49 of the United States and Puerto Rico through Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation. Each restaurant recycles its pickle buckets, available to guests for a $3 donation to the Foundation. Donation canisters on register counters explain the nonprofit’s mission and collect spare change, while the Round Up Program allows guests to “round up” their bill to the nearest dollar. All funds raised benefit the Foundation.

About Firehouse Subs

Celebrating 25 years of business in 2019, Firehouse Subs® is a fast casual restaurant chain with a passion for Hearty and Flavourful Food, Heartfelt Service and Public Safety. Founded in 1994 by brothers and former firefighters Chris Sorensen and Robin Sorensen, Firehouse Subs is a brand built on decades of fire and police service, hot subs, steamed and piled high with the highest quality meats and cheeses and its commitment to saving lives through the establishment of the non-profit Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation®. The founders are the real deal, the food is their creation and the restaurant is built upon a family of franchise operators who share their same passion for generously serving food and community. In 2015, Firehouse Subs expanded into Canada with its first restaurant in Oshawa. Since then, the brand has spread like wildfire across Ontario, with plans to continue expanding across the province. In 2019, Firehouse Subs was ranked No. 49 in Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500, a comprehensive list that ranks the top franchise companies according to key factors such as unit growth, financial strength, stability and brand power.

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Quick Facts:

  • 28 Firehouse Subs restaurants now open in Canada
  • $641,000+ donated to public safety organizations in Canada via Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation of Canada
  • More than 1,170 restaurants total in 46 U.S. states, Puerto Rico, Canada and non-traditional locations
  • Headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla.