Written by on November 10, 2011 in I Eat America, I Eat...Out with 0 Comments

(potbelly.com) – Ballston neighborhood, Arlington, Virginia

How I heard of this place: I first heard about Potbelly while visiting the greater Washington, DC area. It was the lunch spot of choice for my friend Negar and I a few months ago. Living directly across the courtyard from Potbelly, it was my suggestion when our house guest, and friend, Yosi, wanted to treat us to a quick dinner.

Type of cuisine: A limited selection of handmade, specialty sandwiches. Salads. Soup, Chili. Chips, a whole pickle. Freshly baked cookie, Dream Bar, Ice Cream Sandwich. Shakes, malts & smoothies. Canned, bottled and fountain drinks. Simple.

Ambiance: From the moment you enter Potbelly, a smile immediately forms across your face. Live music plays loudly during the lunch rush, while light, lively and fun music plays overhead at other hours. Floor to ceiling windows give views of the courtyard and extensive patio seating outside; inside, wooden walls and pillars are reminiscent of a 1950s home, complete with porch-style seating under a fading, pale blue painted wooden awning. Colors, detail – like the colorful submarine overhead, where painted industrial-sized pipes meet and extend off into another direction – black & white, hand-drawn and illustrated signage and random, mismatched artwork find their home in Potbelly. Chalkboards with colorful fonts, promote the specials of the day, as well as seasonal favorites.

What I ordered: Making our way to the front of the line, the young man behind the counter made a recommendation Yosi and I could not refuse: the Grilled Chicken & Cheddar sandwich ($4.50 each). He suggested adding bacon and topping it with ranch dressing, lettuce, tomato, and I asked for the side of spicy peppers in olive oil. Chris was debating between the Italian and the Pizza Sandwich, and the Italian won over: capicola, mortadella, pepperoni, salmami & Provolone cheese, with marinara sauce, ranch and no vegetables. Exactly the way Chris likes it. At the register, I could not take my eyes, nor my mind off of the Brownie Chocolate Chip Cookie ($1.15) I saw, individually wrapped and soft to the touch. We got one to share. 

What I loved: I loved that Chris and I split both sandwiches (which were already cut in half) so that I could sample both! The recommended Chicken & Cheddar sandwich satisfied by way of flavor and package. The creamy ranch with the salty bacon and perfectly moist, grilled chicken melted in my mouth. The Italian, also tasty, was just a big bite of meat. The cookie was a perfect, soft, moist, melt-in-your-mouth, sweet treat to end the meal.

Why I loved it: I love the feeling and the atmosphere, as well as the story behind Potbelly. I also enjoyed the friendliness and helpfulness of our sandwich maker and cashier, the speed of service and the price for the delicious food we thoroughly enjoyed!

Cost: Low ($4 – $5.50 per sandwich)

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