GLEN ELLYN – The first time Barbara Tyrrell visited Glen Ellyn, it was to attend the annual Cardboard Regatta on Lake Ellyn.
She knew immediately she wanted to bring a business to the village.
And so she did on Monday, with the grand opening of Illinois’ eighth Firehouse Subs location at 279 Roosevelt Road.
“There was a really good community feel,” said Tyrrell, when asked what drew her to Glen Ellyn. “I liked that.”
The Oak Brook resident, who has decades of experience in the restaurant industry, hopes her store will contribute to that community.
The sandwich shop, which offers steamed meat and cheese subs and signature hot sauce, pays homage to the village with the firefighting equipment and black and white photos contributed by the Glen Ellyn Volunteer Fire Company that adorn its walls.
The centerpiece of the restaurant is a mural created at Firehouse’s headquarters depicting the event that sold Tyrrell on Glen Ellyn in the first place – the Cardboard Regatta.
The painting portrays a Glen Ellyn fire engine boat, as well as a second boat resembling a Chicago police car and sporting the badge number of Tyrrell’s father, who was a Chicago policeman.
“I want it to be a center for community nights for different fundraising opportunities,” said Tyrrell of her business.
Firehouse will do more than host charity events, however.
In addition to bringing 20 jobs to Glen Ellyn, the restaurant chain has a Public Safety Foundation that provides funding, equipment and education opportunities for local first responders. Customers can contribute to the foundation by rounding their bill up to the nearest dollar or giving to a donation canister in the store.
“The concept behind the Firehouse Subs was a little bit different than some of the other places that we have, so we’re really looking forward to that,” Glen Ellyn Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Georgia Koch said.
Another reason Tyrrell said she wanted to establish a Firehouse in Glen Ellyn is because the village is in the rare position of having an all-volunteer fire company, which she thought might especially benefit from the foundation.
Tyrrell has a license to start five Firehouse locations in the area. Her second restaurant will open later this year in Oak Lawn.
If you go
What: Firehouse Subs When: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily Where: 279 Roosevelt Road Know more: www.firehousesubs.com