On opening day at the Potbelly Sandwich Works newest location at the corner of John Carlyle Stre
et and Jamieson Avenues, the 170-store strong Chicago-based sandwich shop trotted out their legendary toasted sandwiches, such as A Wreck.
Like all of their sandwiches, A Wreck is a big performer with a small price $4.19, and will take the wreck out of anyone in exchange for delirious satisfaction, even if you opt for the skinny version.
We want everyone to have their Potbelly like they like it, said Lyndsey Mirmelstein, Senior Manager of Field Marketing. Apparently, Potbelly also knows that hungry customers like it simple and reasonable: every custom-built sandwich is $4.19 and every salad, $5.29. Dessert promises hand-dipped shakes.
Growing up around the King Street Metro area, Mirmelstein, now Chicago-based, has a special connection to this store location. Mirmelstein said that Alexandrias vibrant community was attractive to Potbelly, because when Potbelly goes into a neighborhood their goal is partnership and service. We want to make a difference, like doing fundraisers for local charities and partnering with local groups where we do business. Potbellys commitment to sharing the burden of local concerns is prompted by a desire to give back, Mirmelstein said. We actually joined the Eisenhower Partnership, just another way we are trying to be a part of this particular neighborhood.
Physically, Potbellys drums up the homey, the real, preferring wood over plastic. Regulars will see the familiar signage Gotta get it hot and the pickle sub embedded in the tin ceiling whether youre lunching in Wisconsin or Texas.
Potbelly fans will also look for the live music, a mainstay element since its beginning. Potbelly is committed to hiring local musicians to cover the lunchtime hours, mesmerizing the kids and the kids-at-heart. Most often, the guitar-singer entertainer will be perched in a mini-loft stage with a stool and mike, playing cover tunes from the 70, 80, 90s. Mirmelstein points out that its a great day-time gig for musicians and serves to provide lots of jobs. We hire tons and tons of musicians [nationwide].
Potbelly was born in 1977 when a Chicago couple began selling antiques, including potbelly stoves, the logo of todays sandwich shop. Who we are is defined by where we came from, said Mirmelstein. To help attract customers, the couple started offering toasted sandwiches; unwittingly, the sandwich part of their business skyrocketed. In 1997 the couple sold to its present-day owner, and Potbelly maintains its privately-held status to this day.