The firehouse theme at the Firehouse Pub is more than just decorative. Three working Detroit firefighters — Mike Urban, Brian Vogal and Jeff Smith — are the proprietors behind the St. Clair Shores sports bar and gastro pub that teams firehouse memorabilia and spectator sports on TV with a more-than-routine menu.
Sure, there are the expected dishes — chicken wings, chili and chips and salsa — but a closer look reveals a little more depth. While you may certainly snack as you watch the game, there is more solid stuff to choose from.
Chef Nick Murray’s kitchen turns out salmon glazed with honey mustard on a cedar plank — and it’s wild-caught salmon — and serves it with a warm potato salad dotted with red peppers. Those who know how good the mac & cheese is here often substitute it for the potato salad. Other signature items include good old-fashioned meatloaf with mashed potatoes, and meaty St. Louis style dry-rubbed ribs, with the house barbecue sauce (made with Faygo Rock & Rye, among other things). Green apple slaw is paired with the ribs along with French fries, either plain or — even better — dusted with Parmesan and garlic. The slaw is also an element in the pulled pork sandwich on a brioche bun, one of seven sturdy sandwiches.
The mac & cheese is made with spirals of cavatappi and a mix of smoked gouda and cheddar cheeses and candied bacon for a crunchy finish. It’s also on the appetizer list in a larger portion, and it is worth ordering on its own.
Desserts are aimed at those who want to believe it’s summer all year round: root beer floats, Boston coolers, both made with vanilla ice cream, or s’mores or black raspberry frozen custard cups from Wally’s Frozen Custard. Appropriate, because Wally’s has a firehouse theme, too. The popular St. Clair Shores establishment caters via its two authentic retired fire trucks.
While the list of beers goes on and on, the firefighters have given short shrift to the wine list. An upgrade there would certainly be welcome.
And about the menu itself: It includes photos of several historic firehouses around town, and that’s a nice touch.
23018 Greater Mack Avenue,
St. Clair Shores
Call: (586) 776-0062
Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Sun.-Thurs., 11 a.m. Fri.-Sat.
Prices: Appetizers $3.99-$8.99, burgers and sandwiches $6.99-$9.99, entrees $10.99-$18.99,
Credit cards: All major
Liquor: Full bar, extensive beer list and minimal wine list
Noise level: High at prime times
Parking: Attached rear lot
Wheelchair access: No barriers