Potbelly: the best sandwich shop


Sept. 21, 2004, midnight | By Jonah Gold | 16 years ago

Fill your belly, don't empty your wallet


Potbelly, a new restaurant in downtown Silver Spring, seems to be one of the most overlooked new additions to the area. Tables are always available yet it serves good food at affordable prices. The restaurant has a very unique feel, and the ordering process enables one to purchase a toasted sandwich ready to eat faster than Subway or even the nearby Quizno's.

The atmosphere at Potbelly is different from the other restaurants in the area in that is has a homey feel. It is filled with antique furniture and paintings. Decorations, such as the cans of tomato sauce and jars of cookies on the shelves, give the restaurant a more pleasant atmosphere than most fast food restaurants. The live music, featured on certain nights of the week, further adds to the feeling that this store is quite unlike the other sandwich shops in the area.

Sandwiches are a Potbelly specialty. Menu items include the Turkey Breast, Italian, Vegetarian, Tuna Salad, Chicken Salad, Meatball and Big Jack's PB&J. Each meal can be enhanced by the many available toppings, such as tomatoes, lettuce, pickles, hot peppers, oil, vinaigrette, mustard and mayonnaise. Pepperonis and extra cheese are available for $.50 or $1.00. The Skinny sandwich, one of the more modern additions to the menu, has only two-thirds the regular amount of carbohydrates so that anyone can follow the Atkin's diet and still eat at Potbelly.

The food at this restaurant bursts with flavor not found in Subway, Quizno's or Blimpie's, all located within one mile of Potbelly. At Potbelly the flavors complement each other; the hot peppers are spicy but only enhance the actual hot temperature of the fresh sandwich. And for under $4.00 for a sandwich, the price and the taste beat both McDonald's and even the nearby Phillips Seafood and Chipotle.

Of the sandwiches, the Italian is the safest bet, with pepperoni and salami as well as provolone cheese. The A Wreck and Roast Beef are also tasty selections. The A Wreck, which has a combination of salami, roast beef, turkey and ham stands out in that the flavors are bolder and the Swiss cheese is much sharper in taste. The Meatball sandwich, however, is nothing special, and the tomato sauce lacks a defining flavor.

The service can be slow at times because two different people prepare each sandwich, one handling the meat and cheese while the other deals with the condiments. The cashiers also serve the ice cream and milk shakes which adds to the delays in paying for the food.

Even with all of these positive aspects, Potbelly faces an uphill battle against many of the other stores in the area. Ben and Jerry's down the street offers more flavors of ice cream and Chipotle gives more food per serving, but it is truly the feel of Potbelly that makes you want to come again. Instead of feeling like a large chain, the atmosphere seems original and unique. Even with the variety of restaurants available, Potbelly is a sure bet for an enjoyable meal at a price reasonable for students.

The nearest Potbelly is located on 917 Ellsworth Drive in downtown Silver Spring and is open Sunday through Thursday from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. as well as Friday and Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. If interested in playing at Potbelly, call 301-562-9696.



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