Potbelly Sandwich Shop 
Two new lunch options opened up close to 52L headquarters recently. The first for us to visit was Potbelly Sandwich Shop. I frequented a corporate-owned location in Rockville Maryland a decade ago, but the Chicago-based chain is new to the Richmond area and (according to one person we talked to) new to the franchise business. This was Adam’s first visit, and my first Potbelly meal since probably 2005. It hasn’t changed much, although I did wonder if they’d have a loft with live music on weekend evenings.
52L visited this day with friend and co-worker Mike. As you’d expect from a successful chain, the branding and decor were strong, and the Richmond franchise has invested in it’s pre-open training. The food ordering flow was clear, the line moved fast, and everyone was very friendly.
Unburdened by society’s expectations of “when one eats dessert”, Adam opened with a Dream Bar, one of several dessert options available. The Dream Bar is a creation of the original CEO’s wife, a sweet & salty cookie bar made by secret recipe that probably includes oats, chocolate, brown sugar, and coconut. Adam loved the variety of texture and said it was the best part of the meal.
That out of the way, Adam was tempted by the healthier salad options but ended up with the Wreck, the only trademarked sandwich on the menu (Salami, Roast Beef,Turkey, Ham & Swiss Cheese) and added bacon. The bread was fine… a little dry without being too dry. More flaky than dry. But the meat was good, it was served hot, and there was a lot of it. Sandwich was good. Adam also added chips which were fine. Chips are chips.
Wanting to try something different, I ordered the Roast Beef and had a similar experience. The bread was fine certainly better than you’d find at a Subway, a different take from the big pillows of carbs you get from a Jimmy Johns. Which we will have to review one of these days. Chips were chips. I was excited to try an Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookie, but it was just okay. I’ll have to have a Dream Bar next time. There will be next times. There have already been next times, which is a bit of a spoiler for the end of this review.
Asked what he ordered and how it was, Mike replied, “It was a sandwich.”
Potbelly offers a lot of comfort food. Sandwiches and salads, yes. Soups, sure. The variety of baked goods and the signature milkshakes that we didn’t even try. The day we visited, the line was to the door but it moved quickly. Potbelly has a niche and it’s sure to become a staple for a quick lunch or dinner.