Readers of The SunBreak know that SunBreak Audrey is a giant fan of Chicago-based Potbelly sandwiches. As she’s already had her say, we left her at home when The SunBreak Lunch Team made an expedition to Bellevue to visit their newest Washington State location.
You will find Bellevue’s Potbelly along NE 4th Street at the base of the South Tower, just next to Purple. We were alerted to expect a “lively environment with live music and great food” and indeed, showing up unannounced, we found a guitar player and a busy lunch counter, even at the tail-end of the lunch-hour.
We parked across the street on 106th Avenue NE, but the Potbelly people quickly instructed us that they validate if you use Bellevue Towers parking. That, in addition to a bunch of sandwiches that start at $4.80, makes for a budget-conscious lunch. MvB got a roast beef sandwich with BBQ kettle chips and a regular Coke for $8.25, while RvO downed a turkey (no cheese) sandwich, chocolate chip cookie, and regular Diet Coke for about the same. The Bellevue store is spacious inside, but for nice weather they have about four tables outside for sidewalk-café ambiance.
If there’s a continuum of assembly-line, affordable sandwich-makers, Potbelly is at the high end for quality across the sandwich experience, including a very tasty, toasted multigrain bread option. It’s a compliment to the Potbelly operation that we can say the same thing about the Bellevue location as we did about their downtown Seattle location:
Now, let’s get to the food: All sandwiches are approximately $5 and come on white or multigrain wheat rolls. There are also salads, pickles, chips, a variety of juice and pop, hand-dipped malts and shakes, and cookies, but to be sure, it’s all about the sandwiches. My Potbelly of choice is the turkey and swiss, which was juicy and excellent as always, while the rest of The SunBreak tried A Wreck (salami, roast beef, turkey, ham, and swiss) and a double-ham-no-cheese. Potbelly is great about individualizing each sandwich with condiments and toppings, but this ain’t Subway.
The lunchmeat actually tastes like lunchmeat (from an ANIMAL), while the mustard, peppers, pickles, oil, and seasoning add a nice tang to the creaminess of the mayo and cheese. If you’re looking to cut carbs, please don’t talk to me, but feel free to order the sandwich “thin-cut” for a third less roll. Regardless, what’s great about the bread is that it’s not overwhelming. The roll has a nice give and toasts well, but it’s not overly chewy or so rough that it takes the skin off the roof of your mouth.