Young and Hungry

Comments Come True: Potbelly’s Veggie Sandwich

Eating my way through your advice, an ambitious list of vegetarian sandwiches from 24 different restaurants More Comments Come True.

Whenever my friends Mitch and Jess would visit us from Baltimore, their first request would be to grab sandwiches at Potbelly. I never understood why, and after my most recent tasting there, I still can't comprehend their enthusiasm for the chain.

Two different commenters suggested I try Potbelly's veggie sandwich, although Shannon clarifies her endorsement with "in a pinch." And last-fucking-resort is right. The bread is fine. Nothing exciting. But nothing terrible. And, after a zip through a 140-degree oven, with Swiss, provolone and mozzarella melted on top, it's barely noticeable. But what makes this the veggie sandwich is the appearance of mushrooms.

The man who made my sandwich told me the mushrooms come pre-cooked to the store, although after biting into the thing, I'm not sure they are cooked at all. Maybe just pre-sliced? The mushrooms tasted, well, how do you describe nothing? Bland. Plain.

I would have rather filled this sandwich with cheese and Potbelly's free toppings, especially the hot peppers. Which is actually much more than hot peppers. In addition to jalapeños, the collection of well-heated goods include carrots, green olives, celery and cauliflower. So if you're in desperate need of a meatless hoagie, ditch the mushrooms and opt for heat and cheese.

In order of appearance in the comments:

  1. Cork Market
  2. Cowgirl Creamery
  3. Busboys and Poets (sandwich 1) (sandwich 2)
  4. Taylor Gourmet (sandwich 1)  (sandwich 2)
  5. Booeymonger
  6. Pret a Manger
  7. California Tortilla
  8. Jaleo (sandwich 1) (sandwich 2)
  9. Highland Cafe
  10. Jimmy John's
  11. Greek Spot
  12. Sticky Fingers
  13. Earl's
  14. Yum's
  15. Super Taco
  16. Luna Grill
  17. Five Guys
  18. Sidamo
  19. Everlasting Life
  20. Au Bon Pain
  21. Devon & Blakely
  22. Corner Bakery
  23. Potbelly
  24. Black Squirrel

Photo by Stefanie Gans

  • Lowrie Ward

    i often end up having to get pot belly's veggie sandwich b/c i only have $5 and it's closeby. i don't eat cheese, so this is pretty awful. like you said, bread is fine, but mushrooms and peppers do not a sandwich make... maybe tomatoes would be good?

  • Kirsten

    Agreed. Pretty bland, and I don't think the mushrooms are cooked either. When I want a sandwich, I go for Cosi (TBM light, or hummus and veggies) or Au Bon Pain (in addition to the options on the menu, you can get them to make you a cheese sandwich with whatever you want, and the soups are good, too).

    The Juice Joint on Vermont Ave also has some good options. I love the Holland Pocket.

  • Janelle

    I wouldn't opt for their chickpea salad either. There's not even a lot of chickpeas and their dressings leave something to be desired.

  • LE

    @Kirsten: ABP also has a nice black bean burger you can get them to customize (I get it on whole grain bread with a lot of veggies and guac).

  • Megan

    Ah... but see, that's why you didn't like the sandwich! If you literally just got it plain, well, it is by nature, plain! Add on the hot peppers, lettuce, tomato, and pickle... then you have a decently hearty meatless sandwich. And, ALWAYS get the wheat bread. The white would easily add to the nothingness of your sandwich. But if it's the uncooked mushrooms doing you in? Well, there is nothing to combat that. I personally really like raw mushrooms (mushrooms in any form, really). So, for a quick and cheap meal, I regularly turn to Potbelly's veggie sandwich and sometimes actually crave the hot pepper and mushroom combo. To each their own :)

  • DanielleinDC

    Since I'm vegan, cheese isn't an option for me. If I'm hungry and a Potbelly is the closest option, I'll go for their PBJ, which is pretty good.

  • muckraker

    I like this sandwich and eat it quite often, as it's near my office. The one thing that drives me nuts is they don't have vinegar. It adds so much flavor -- I don't get it.