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New Rocky River eatery seasoned with local flavor and Aussie spice

By Sue Botos

ROCKY RIVER – The first thing a visitor walking into the new Firehouse Subs restaurant on Center Ridge Road  might notice is the selection of more than 50 hot sauces right inside the door, and the array of firefighting equipment on the walls, looking ready to put out any resulting flames.

But it’s the mural, almost covering an entire wall, that ties together the Australian home of owner Zoran Timic, with the Cleveland- area home of his wife and co-owner Carrie Timic.

During the restaurant’s recent grand opening in the Giant Eagle plaza, Carrie Timic, a Fairview Park native, noted the mural depicts her dad, Daniel Sunday, and her two children, Kayla and Logan, decked out in vintage firefighting gear in front of the 1920’s-era Rocky River fire engine, a familiar sight at parades and other special events throughout the city.

“My dad just passed away a year ago, so this is very meaningful to me,” said Carrie, pointing out the other details of the painting by artist Joe Puskas and his team.

The background depicts The Westlake, the iconic former hotel, built in the 1920s and now condominiums, located above the Rocky River. On the upper left side is a nod to Zoran’s “down under” heritage as a kangaroo and a player attired in Australian rules football colors fish in the Rocky River.

“Those colors are from (Zoran’s) favorite (Australian rules football)  teams. He’s still a big fan,” Carrie said, as her husband was a blur of motion, overseeing employees and greeting customers.

The firefighting suits and other gear adorning the walls, Carrie said, were purchased from a market where firefighters bring equipment they are no longer using.

Carrie’s journey, which ultimately led to her coming back to the Cleveland area, began after she graduated in 2004. “I went backpacking in Australia and that’s where I met my husband,” she recalled. They spent 10 years working in the restaurant business there, until they decided it was time for a change.

“The more research we did, the better Firehouse seemed. We wanted to be bigger than ourselves,” Carrie.

Zoran agreed. “We chose to join the Firehouse Subs family because we realized how truly unique their restaurants are. With over 3o years in the restaurant industry, I connected immediately to the entire experience, from the friendly atmosphere and quality product to the brand’s outstanding commitment to serving the local community. We couldn’t ask for a better place to open our first restaurant than my wife’s hometown.”

Founded by firefighter brothers Chris and Robin Sorensen, the food was created by the family, and features hot specialty subs, including the top-selling Hook and Ladder, served with smoked turkey breast and Virginia honey ham, smothered with Monterey Jack cheese, and the Smokehouse Beef and Cheddar Brisket, smoked for at least 16 hours in an authentic Texas smokehouse. A touchscreen-operated Coca Cola Freestyle fountain allows diners to choose 120-plus beverage brands, with over 70 regular and low calorie options.

Aside from serving up tasty food, the Timics will be giving back to the community through the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation,  which provides funding for lifesaving equipment and educational opportunities to first responders and public safety organizations. Many first responders make do with older equipment and have limited access to needed resources. The foundation has given more than $25 million to hometown heroes in 46 states, Puerto Rico and Canada. Each restaurant also recycles five gallon pickle buckets, available to guests for a $2 donation.

The Rocky River Firehouse Subs will be open Sunday–Thursday, 10 a..m.-9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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