Friday , January 12, 2018 - 5:15 AM
LAYTON — Ah, the power of a sandwich.
Six years ago, Cole Eskelson was a sandpaper salesman, of all things. One day at lunch, a group of clients dragged him to a restaurant called Firehouse Subs in Salt Lake City. Not being a huge fan of sandwiches, Eskelson was less than enthusiastic about eating a sub for lunch that day. Until he tried one.
“My gosh, it was the best sandwich I’d ever had,” he gushes.
On Friday, Jan. 12, Eskelson and his father, Rusty Eskelson, are opening their second Firehouse Subs franchise in Northern Utah, at 2151 Hillfield Road, in Layton. They already own one of the restaurants in Riverdale, which opened four years ago. And they have a deal to develop one more franchise in Northern Utah.
Eskelson said his father — who at the time six years ago was in the process of selling a paint-store business and looking to do something different — wasn’t keen on owning a restaurant.
“He wasn’t sure he wanted to be in the restaurant business,” Eskelson said of his father. “So I said, ‘Go eat a sandwich.’ After that, he thought it was the best idea anybody had ever come up with.”
They opened the Riverdale store in October 2013. Eskelson says it opened strong and has stayed “super, super busy,” although he admits to some early bumps in the road.
“It was a baptism by fire to get started,” Eskelson concedes. “Neither one of us knew how to microwave a burrito, let alone run a restaurant.”
Today, having the existing Firehouse Subs at 4197 Riverdale Rd., in Riverdale, makes it so much easier this time around, according to Eskelson. They’ve had their Layton employees training at the Riverdale restaurant for the past two weeks.
“When we opened in Riverdale, there was not a trained person in the place — including the owners,” Eskelson jokes.
Firehouse Subs serves meats and cheeses that are steamed hot and served on a toasted sub roll, garnished with fresh produce and condiments. It also offers catering options, from sandwich and dessert platters to salads and snacks.
The restaurant’s biggest seller is the Hook & Ladder, served with smoked turkey breast and Virginia honey ham with Monterey Jack cheese. Also popular is the Smokehouse Beef & Cheddar Brisket.
Each restaurant in the chain also offers an assortment of 50-plus hot sauces, as well as a touchscreen-operated Coca-Cola Freestyle soft drink fountain.
A Firehouse Subs sandwich will run you about $8.
According to company information, Firehouse Subs was founded by former firefighter brothers, and each restaurant’s decor reflects that public safety background.
The Riverdale store features a hand-painted mural with the Riverdale Fire Department in action; the Layton restaurant’s mural depicts the Layton Fire Department “conducting a live fire training demonstration with a mobile fire training unit in front of Northridge High School, with the lush mountainscape in the background,” according to a news release from the Florida-based company.
Hours for the Layton Firehouse Subs are 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Eskelson is optimistic business will be brisk in Layton; he bases that belief on the number of people who’ve been wandering into the as-yet-unopened restaurant.
“The last two weeks of putting the Layton restaurant together we’ve had steady traffic coming in off the streets,” he said. Even with the lights off, we’ve had tons of people trying to walk in and order a sandwich.”
Eskelson, who describes Firehouse Subs as “fast casual” food, says their sandwiches won’t leave you hungry.
“It’s going to fill you up, and leave a smile on your face,” he said.
Contact Mark Saal at 801-625-4272, or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @Saalman. Friend him on Facebook at facebook.com/MarkSaal.
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