HOME > Chowhound > Chains >
What have you made lately? Get great advice
TELL US

Potbelly

pikawicca Aug 18, 2011 12:42 PM

One of these sandwich places is opening here -- any better than Subway?

  1. f
    ferret Aug 18, 2011 02:10 PM

    In the sense that a sharp stick poking you in the forehead is better than one poking you in your eye, yes.

    1. t
      tzurriz Aug 18, 2011 02:11 PM

      They make yummy milkshakes.

      1 Reply
      1. re: tzurriz
        monkeyrotica Apr 28, 2012 06:54 AM

        I'll have to give the shakes a try next time. Lots of upscale burger places seem to be peddling them now, but they tend to charge a lot for way too much shake.

      2. RealMenJulienne Aug 18, 2011 02:27 PM

        It is a toasted sub chain, much better, not in the same category as Subway. The bread is crisp and airy, not lifeless and chewy like many other sub store breads. One big plus of Potbelly is their free hot giardineria; this stuff is legitmately great and I can't remember tasting better at any place, chain or otherwise. Maybe it's not impressive for those from cities with a high level of sandwich culture like Philly or Chicago, but very good to me.

        1. hill food Aug 18, 2011 02:39 PM

          their Italian w/out mayo and a bit of oil and vinegar is about as close as you're gonna get to a muffaletta in the fast food world. and the tuna salad wit some provolone melted ain't bad. would I send anyone out of their way to go? nah. but if it's convenient it's a good option.

          1. g
            gordeaux Aug 18, 2011 06:35 PM

            turkey and Roast beef are same quality as Subway, if you consider those things turkey and roast beef, that is. They use real mayo which is a big plus in my book. I absolutely adore their oatmeal chocolate chip cookes. If nothing else is around, I could eat their tuna or chicken salad sammich, but I'm really going because of those cookies. Get a cookie when you go. Better yet, ask them to make you an ice cream sammich with TWO of those cookies. I've never actually ordered one of those for fear I might never eat anything else for the rest of my life. Get a cookie.

            3 Replies
            1. re: gordeaux
              l
              LikestoEatout Aug 31, 2011 05:05 AM

              I just had a roast beef from Potbelly the other day and the meat is definitely much better grade than Subway. There is no comparison. Top quality. I get mine with mayo, gardinera and the pickle, oil and Italian dressing. The bread is crispy but not chewy. A much better sandwich than I can get at our local deli.

              1. re: LikestoEatout
                g
                gordeaux Sep 4, 2011 12:07 PM

                Beware the bait and switch. Several years ago, Potbelly (in my area) all used real turkey and roast beef. Now, they all used processed jello meat loaf garbage instead of turkey and roast beef. I used to really enjoy their roast beef sammich. I used to go so often that my order would pre-empt their question. "Everything, no mustard, no spices, and yes.." (This would always make the sandwich person laugh, because even if you say "everything" they still ask if you really want the giardiniera.) Now, I stick to tuna and chicken salad. Fake jello meat is a deal breaker. If they didn't use real mayo for the tuna and chicken, I would never have reason to step foot in there again. Well, maybe for one of those cookies once in a while. I can't say strongly enough that those cookies are fantastic, imo.

                1. re: gordeaux
                  b
                  Bobannon Oct 4, 2011 01:53 AM

                  Yeah...those oatmeal cookies are really good. And I'm a baker...a total snob when it comes to baked goods at those kinds of places. But you know what is even better? Their dream bars. Those are sooooo good. Oatmeal and choc and caramel, and maybe some toasted coconut? I'm not really sure what all is in them but they are wonderful. I don't go to Potbelly too often because I'm not a huge sandwich person but those bars are a must have once in a while. They have decent salads too.

            2. c
              Clams047 Aug 19, 2011 04:45 AM

              One of these sandwich places is opening here -- any better than Subway?

              1000%

              1. monkeyrotica Aug 19, 2011 05:14 AM

                Far better overall chain sub experience than Subway. The Italian is tasty and the soups aren't bad either. And their toasted sandwiches don't shred the roof of my mouth like Quiznos or have the inexplicable Subway "smell." In DC, they're actually open for breakfast. I've had worse sandwiches at three times the price.

                1. Vexorg Aug 19, 2011 10:27 PM

                  I've got one of these that's going to be opening soon near my office (they're just beginning to expand into the Seattle area now.) This area is thoroughly oversaturated with chain sandwich places though. Within a few blocks of my office I have five Subways, two Quizno's, two Jimmy John's, two Specialty's and a Panera Bread, plus a couple of smaller deli places. so I guess I'll have to see how they manage to do here. Right now, I tend to stick to either one of the local places or Jimmy Johns, but I'll have to at least try this one out.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Vexorg
                    Vexorg Sep 15, 2011 09:47 AM

                    To follow up on this, they opened the one here a couple of weeks ago, and I've had the chance to try it a couple of times. For the most part I thought it was decent (definitely better than Subway or Quizno's), but to be honest, I think I still prefer Jimmy Johns for a quick lunch. Your mileage, of course, may vary.

                  2. rifkind81 Aug 31, 2011 06:00 AM

                    Potbelly is on an expansion tear here in Manhattan: two opened so far, two or three more planned.

                    Personally, my lady and I were starving in Washington DC and ended up at a Potbelly north of the Mall. I guess because we were so hungry the food left a mark on us and now we make some special trips down to the Maiden Ln. location.

                    Now that I have had Potbelly a few times, I can say that it is "good", better (by multiples) than Subway or Jimmy Johns, and cheaper than Pret a Manger.

                    The meats seem to be of good quality, the toasty bread is ok, I like the chili and have never tried the ice cream.

                    All told, I am sure there is room for Potbelly in Manhattan given the quantity of people; although I see myself already being a little worn out with it.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: rifkind81
                      s
                      stuartlafonda Jan 21, 2012 12:32 PM

                      The other day a co worker offered to bring me a sandwich from the one near 23rd street. Horrible. I don't know what the roast beef tastes like because of all the vinegar from the pickled junk, which all tasted the same. Sandwich did not appear to have been toasted and was not a generous portion. I can do better from just about any corner joint. I assume it appeals to those familiar with it from other places, and those with no interest in a tasty meal.

                      1. re: stuartlafonda
                        monkeyrotica Jan 24, 2012 05:31 AM

                        Who orders a roast beef sandwich with vinegar and "pickled junk?" Can you not order it without the condiments?

                        1. re: monkeyrotica
                          s
                          stuartlafonda Jan 31, 2012 05:52 PM

                          Slow down buddy. I ordered a roast beef sandwich with the works, giving them the opportunity to shine, to show me what they got. Anybody can slap some meat between two slices of bread, they advertise their condiments so I ordered them. I left off mayo because I don't like mayo with roast beef. Don't offer to put a condiment on a sandwich that will ruin the sandwich by overwhelming all the other ingredients. Funny enough, days after I posted this the attached review was posted by a well respected blog. Not saying just because they agree with me they are right ,but........

                          http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2012/0...

                          1. re: stuartlafonda
                            monkeyrotica Feb 1, 2012 03:39 AM

                            Peppers, pickles, and mustard are all pretty vinegary; it might work on the Italian sandwich, but they don't belong on roast beef IMO. I agree with Boston_Otter below. The plain roast beef with provo is a decent sandwich; not as good as most mom & pop shops, but far better than Subway or Quiznos and cheaper than Pret a Manger.

                            1. re: stuartlafonda
                              Boston_Otter Apr 27, 2012 02:05 PM

                              Getting a sandwich with "the works" is the worst way to go about ordering a sandwich, honestly. Some sandwiches, like an Italian, are great with all the condiments. But ordering a roast beef & melted provolone with "the works" is as bad an idea as ordering a BLT with "the works" or a meatball sub with "the works". Not all condiments belong on all types of sandwich or sub.

                          2. re: stuartlafonda
                            Boston_Otter Jan 24, 2012 09:07 AM

                            Their roast beef is simply roast beef & melted provolone on a toasted bun. Any condiments are only added by request. If your co-worker got you an untoasted sub with "vinegar and pickled junk", they sort of sabotaged your otherwise tasty sandwich.

                        2. Fowler Oct 3, 2011 01:50 PM

                          I have never been there but was quite surpised to learn recently that Potbelly Sandwich Shop is one of Grant Achatz's favorite places to eat! I'm thinking I may have to try it one of these days.

                          1. rockandroller1 Apr 25, 2012 06:37 AM

                            Bumping this up as we are getting one near where I work. What are your faves? We too are saturated with the JJ's, Quizno's, Subway, the latter 2 I cannot even tolerate eating at, and JJs simply does not have enough variety (in toppings or sides, and no salads?) for my liking, plus they get my order wrong every time but I digress.

                            What do you guys like from there? I ate at one in DC once and thought it was very good. And no, we do not have a GOOD local sub shop near where I work. There is one sub shop, the subs are cold-only (I generally prefer a hot/warm lunch) and the bread is hard and always leaves my mouth sore aftewards.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: rockandroller1
                              monkeyrotica Apr 25, 2012 07:28 AM

                              I used to like The Wreck until I switched to the Big Italian (capicola, mortadella, pepperoni, salami, provo) loaded with hot peppers, pickles, and Italian seasoning. You can go double meat or double cheese, but going Big over Original seems the right balance for me. These guys win over Quiznos because the bread is decent and they lightly toast it. Every Quiznos I've had tasted stale and overtoasted until it shreds your mouth. And it actually tastes like SOMETHING, unlike Subway, and doesn't have that weird "smell," unlike Subway. They opened a Jersey Mike's nearby and the whole experience was identical to Jimmy Johns.

                              1. re: rockandroller1
                                b
                                Bobannon Apr 27, 2012 11:57 AM

                                Pretty good for a chain. Really good salads too. I few weeks ago I got their chicken cheddar salad and the chicken they use is significantly better than the others. Tastes much less processed. And I can't leave there without getting one of their dream bars. Very yummy.

                              Show Hidden Posts