Potbelly alternative in downtown Chicago?
Panera, State & Congress (Loop) cat-a-corner from the Harold Washington Library and adjacent to Harrison stop on Red Line subway. See their website. Excellent sandwiches and soups, low prices. BTW yesterday I asked them if they had plans to open new Paneras downtown and they said YES---mentioned three locations to open within a year and I didn't catch all of the answers---one was Lake and Something, the second I didn't get at all, and the third was definitely Fairbanks and Ontario.
If you're looking for a high-quality sub, L'Appetito makes very good [not Bari or Riviera great, but very good] subs at a great price [for their locations]. Oh, enough qualifiers; they're good subs. They have 2 locations:
30 E. Huron St.
875 N. Michigan Ave.
Yeah, Manny's Deli is pretty unbelievable. The roast beef and corned beef sandwiches and matzo ball soup are outstanding. The quality of the meat is hard to beat...it just melts in your mouth! Been to Carnegie Deli in New York?...Manny's sandwiches come close.
Don't go to Manny's for the decor though. This place is a bare bones cafeteria style diner.
I'd recommend Spa Cafe. It's a healthy alternative as well. Great soups, interesting wraps, quesanini (quesadilla panini), and salads. I like the combo where you order a soup and 1/2 wrap/quesanini. The carrot with peanut butter soup is great. Add on a side (barley/jicama slaw, anyone?) for a dollar.
112 W. Monroe
If that doesn't work for any reason, I also enjoy Goodwin's, Specialtys, and Hannah's Bretzel (which would be best suited for takeout, as there is only seating for about 4 people).
two other options w/delivery:
goodwins -- non-chain, fresh sandwiches, salads, soups, etc.
http://www.goodwins2go.com/ -- menu available online
specialty's -- chain from seattle/cali, only 1 location in chicago; more funky options, but also in the deli realm
both of these are located in the area of franklin/randolph.