Press Releases

July 19, 2017

HMSHost Opens Firehouse Subs at Jacksonville International Airport; Restaurant’s First Airport Location

Hometown favorite now open for travelers

image of ribbon cutting at restaurant

Cutting the ribbon from left to right: Stephen Douglas, HMSHost Vice President of Business Development; Chris and Robin Sorensen, Founders of Firehouse Subs; Patrick Kilbane, Board Chair of the Jacksonville Airport Authority; and Frank Johnson, President of Denard Enterprises, Inc.

JACKSONVILLE, FL — Jacksonville International Airport (JAX) now features Firehouse Subs, one of Jacksonville’s favorite local restaurant brands and leader in the fast casual sandwich industry. This opening by global restaurateur HMSHost and partner Denard Enterprises Inc. is the first expansion into airports for Firehouse Subs’ non-traditional growth strategy. The new restaurant is located in the post-security food court just beyond the security checkpoint.

HMSHost, Firehouse Subs, Jacksonville Aviation Authority (JAA), Jacksonville Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF) Station 16, and the JAA Police Department all gathered in the food court to celebrate the grand opening today.

“HMSHost, along with our joint venture partner Denard Enterprises Inc., is very excited to celebrate the opening of such a popular brand as Firehouse Subs at JAX. With this opening, we are continuing to enhance the airport’s food options with the most desired dining choices in the industry,” said HMSHost Vice President of Business Development Stephen Douglas. “In addition to great subs, the local connection Firehouse Subs has with Jacksonville makes it the perfect new dining option for the airport.”

“We couldn’t be happier that Firehouse Subs’ first airport location is in their hometown,” Jacksonville Aviation Authority CEO Steve Grossman said. “Firehouse and the recent opening of PGA Tour Grill highlight some of our region’s most notable brands, giving travelers a sense of place when flying through JAX.” 

The celebration of this opening brings a unique piece of Firehouse Subs and JFRD history full circle. Before opening their first restaurant, Firehouse Subs founders Chris and Robin Sorensen served as firefighters with Aircraft and Rescue Firefighting at Jacksonville International.  

Firehouse Subs is also known for its commitment to saving lives through the non-profit Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation®, which provides funding, life-saving equipment and educational opportunities to first responders and public safety organizations nationwide. To commemorate this special connection, the Foundation awarded extrication tools worth $28,475 to Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department, and protective equipment including body armor and tourniquets worth $21,190 to Jacksonville Aviation Authority.                                                                           

“This is a milestone accomplishment for our brand, and a goal my brother Chris and I have worked hard to achieve since we opened the first Firehouse Subs restaurant nearly 23 years ago,” said Firehouse Subs Co-Founder Robin Sorensen. “We’re thrilled to serve guests at our hometown airport, but most importantly, we’re proud to support through our Foundation the first responders who work daily to protect travelers’ safety.”

Firehouse Subs is an award-winning fast casual restaurant brand founded by firemen in 1994 in Jacksonville, Florida. Known for serving premium meats and cheeses steamed and piled high on a toasted sub roll, Firehouse Subs extinguishes guests’ hunger with small, medium and large hot specialty subs, including the number one selling Hook & Ladder sub, served with smoked turkey breast and Virginia honey ham smothered with Monterey Jack cheese.

Travelers who find themselves in the airport before lunchtime will also be able to try Firehouse Subs’ first breakfast menu. The new breakfast options, which are unique to the airport location, include a variety of egg and cheese sandwiches with pastrami, ham, bacon, or steak included. Guests with vegan and gluten-free diets can opt for Earnest Eats Oatmeal with cranberry, almond, and flax.

Firehouse Subs at JAX Airport is located in the center of the airport’s food court, just past security, making it convenient to travelers in any part of the airport. 

HMSHost operates other traveler dining favorites at JAX in addition to Firehouse Subs, including the new PGA TOUR Grill, Shula’s Bar & Grill, and Starbucks®. A full list can be found on the HMSHost Location Finder

image of fire truck water cannon salute at airport

Celebrating the opening with a water cannon salute

image of front of firehouse restaurant

HMSHost Leading the Industry

HMSHost is recognized by the industry as the top provider of travel dining with awards such as 2017 Best Overall Food & Beverage Operator (for the tenth consecutive year) and Food Operator with the Highest Regard for Customer Service (for the eighth year) by Airport Revenue News. USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice Travel Awards recognized HMSHost’s Dale Jr.’s Whisky River at Charlotte Douglas International Airport as Best Airport Bar and Best Airport Sitdown Dining. HMSHost infuses innovation and culinary expertise into everything we do; with events such as the first-of-its-kind Airport Restaurant Month at more than 50 airports across North America, the award-winning Channel Your Inner Chef live culinary contest at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, and the Adrian Awards Gold winning campaigns, #HMSHostLove and Eat Well. Travel Further.

About HMSHost

Global restaurateur HMSHost is a world leader in creating dining for travel venues. HMSHost operates in more than 120 airports around the globe and 99 travel plazas in North America. The Company has annual sales in excess of $3.1 billion and employs more than 39,500 sales associates worldwide. HMSHost is a part of Autogrill Group, the world’s leading provider of food & beverage services for people on the move. With sales of over €4.5 billion in 2016, the Group operates in 31 countries and employs over 57,000 people. It manages approximately 4,000 stores in about 1,000 locations worldwide. Visit for more information and connect with HMSHost on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.   

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