Dec. 4 2013 12:00 AM

Firehouse Sub´s/ Sawyer´s Pancakes


Firehouse Sub´s/ Sawyer´s Pancakes

Work is underway on a second local location for Firehouse Subs, which is set to open Jan. 6 at 200 S. Washington Square in downtown. The space was formerly used for state offices. The restaurant is part of a national chain that boasts “700 locations and counting,” but owner Sam Shango was simply intown taken with the product.

“The meat is steamed, not grilled, which gives it a completely different taste,” Shango said. “Deli meat is usually processed with a lot of salt, and if you add water, the salt comes out. This is the big trick at Firehouse — you get to taste more of the meat.”

Shango owns two convenience stores in mid-Michigan, including Rainbow Party Store on Lansing’s north side. He said he has plans for more stores in Lansing as well as additional Firehouse locations. However, he has no relation with the one that opened in East Lansing in August. Shango estimates it will cost about $375,000 to fix up the space, which will include new or upgraded HVAC, water and electric work.

Firehouse Subs is a fastcausal restaurant started in 1994 by two Jacksonville, Fla., brothers. A portion of proceeds collected from the stores nationwide are donated to a firehouse near one of the locations. Shango said if his store gets the money, up to $20,000 in grants could go to the Lansing Fire Department.

Sawyers pancakes coming back (sort of) Jake Sawyer, whose family owned the Sawyer’s Pancake House that closed in late 2011, has partnered with family members to launch a new venture: Sawyer’s Gourmet Foods. Although it’s only an online store, Sawyer said he and his partners hope to use the popularity of the site to open a new restaurant soon.

“If this goes well, it’s definitely going to propel us in that direction,” Sawyer said. “I hope to launch a (crowdsourcing) project within the next few months to either open a new place or even just a food truck.”

The only product sold at the site is Sawyer’s Gourmet Buttermilk Pancake Mix for $7 per bag (each bag makes a quarter gallon of batter, which is about 20 pancakes), but Sawyer want to add his family’s homemade barbecue sauce and syrup soon. The batter is made from local organic ingredients, which he says makes for lighter, fluffier pancake.

“It’s our family recipe, and for people who used to come to our restaurant, they’re the same pancakes you could get there. I’m biased, but they’re the best pancakes I’ve ever had.”