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6:27 AM Wed, Sept. 26th

CHEW ON THIS: Firehouse Kitchen owners treat customers like friends

PRESCOTT - Matt Anderson and Aaron Meisheid have been in the restaurant field for 15 years, and went into business together by buying the Firehouse Kitchen in December 2009.

"We had been wanting to do it for some time, and the opportunity presented itself," Meisheid said. "It's got to be something you have a passion for."

The restaurant is located in a redbrick building that dates to 1956 and was named Fire Station No. 1, according to the menu.

Since buying the restaurant, Meisheid and Anderson have revamped the menu, redone the wine list, remodeled and expanded the bar and replaced the kitchen.

"We kind of both work on the menu," Anderson said.

"We went from seating 30 to 100" at the bar, Anderson said, adding overall business has tripled since they bought the Firehouse.

Anderson and Meisheid split the duties at the two-story restaurant, which has ground-floor and upstairs patios and a bar upstairs.

"I do a lot more with the bar, and I cook as well, but I am not a chef," Meisheid said.

Oversight of the chef duties falls on the shoulders of Anderson, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America.

"I do a lot of the private events, the catering," Anderson said. "We have an executive chef in place, so Aaron and I can focus on the day-to-day (duties)."

Meisheid said a seafood company makes regular deliveries.

"We talk to them two, three times a week," he said. "We try to always have fresh, wild-caught seafood. I just ran a lobster special."

The restaurant buys grass- and corn-feed beef from a noted ranch in California, Meisheid said.

The Firehouse Kitchen will cook meals to order, and will let customers select meals from off the menu, Meisheid said.

"If you want something, we will make it available," Meisheid said.

The restaurant's motto is "'Make a friend, not a customer," Anderson said. "A friend will forgive you."

He acknowledged the support from the community. The Firehouse donates gift certificates and contributes to several charities.

The Menu

The Firehouse Kitchen serves lunches from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and dinners from 4 to 9 p.m. and until 10 p.m. on weekends.

The lunch menu consists of appetizers, salads, hamburgers, sandwiches, specialties and desserts.

Appetizers range in price from $7.25 for a spinach dip to $11.50 for steamed clams, and salads cost anywhere from $10 to $13.50.

Hamburgers start at $8. Sandwiches range from $8 for calamari tacos and brisket to $12 for crab cake and pastrami.

Lunch specialties range in price from $7 for macaroni and cheese, and chili, to $13 for fish and chips.

The dinner menu includes appetizers, salads, pasta, steaks, seafood and specialties.

Pasta dishes range in price from $11 for macaroni and cheese to $17 for beef stroganoff.

Steak entrees start at $16 for beef briskets and peak at $30 for an eight-ounce filet mignon and six-ounce filet Oscar.

Seafood plates range in price from $18 for grilled salmon to $22 for trout amandine and for orange roughy Florentine.

The most popular item is the calamari appetizer, Meisheid said.

"Most places will serve the rings and tentacles," he said. The Firehouse kitchen crew cuts the calamari into strips.

"It's always tender," he said.