Potbelly Sandwich Shop

US sandwich chain arrives in Dubai

Potbelly Sandwich Shop
The name of this Chicago-based sandwich franchise immediately evokes images of a truffle-hunting creature and the meat that derives from it. At least it does for me, which made me wonder how Potbelly in Dubai would fare without its essential ingredient. Regardless, Potbelly outlets are popping up all over town, and even though the brand is very much a chain, I decided it was still worth a visit simply because there are so few places where you can get a good sub in Dubai.

My date had ditched me for the night (there’s something decidedly unromantic about eating sandwiches in a mall), so I was obliged to put my body on the line and eat for two. After surveying the faux-blackboard menu at the far end of the restaurant, I sidled up to the long mahogany counter and ordered an Italian (complete with beef substitutes for everything from ham to salami) and a ‘Wreck’ on account of it sounding like a car-crash of ingredients and therefore, most importantly, very unhealthy. I also ordered a chocolate milkshake, just to be sure I fulfilled my carb quota for the next three millennia.

The lady behind the counter nodded approvingly at my heroic order and ushered me onto the next stage of the production line, where I was asked what toppings I’d like with each sandwich. As Potbelly positions itself as a higher class of sandwich shop, there were no pictures to help me decide, so I sought the recommendations of the helpful man behind the counter.

‘No problem,’ he chirped. ‘I like these sandwiches. I like working here. And I like eating them.’ He was a small man, which boded well considering I was about to consume two subs and a chocolate milkshake in the next 15 minutes.

Once I’d paid and found a table, I unwrapped my two-person feast to find two very similar-looking sandwiches. Granted, I don’t know how different one sandwich can look from another, though I was hoping for the Wreck to be a little more, well, ‘wreck-like’ – spilling out over my hands and onto my lap the minute I picked it up. As it happened, the Wreck was a most orderly sandwich filled with farmyard favourites: turkey (smoked and turkey breast) and cow (beef salami and roast beef). A lot of meat, yes, but the fact that Potbelly can’t serve a certain curly-tailed creature limits the taste and texture of the sandwich.

While the Italian featured as many meats (beef salami, pepperoni, turkey capicola and beef mortadella), the taste was more diverse, aided by the provolone cheese and the smattering of hot peppers and mustard that was added by my friend behind the counter. The pièce de résistance had to be the milkshake – so thick, so creamy, and so sinful, it was virtually solid.

While Potbelly sandwiches are certainly of a higher calibre than most of their fast-food rivals, they are fast food nonetheless. Eating the curiously cured turkey, beef ham and tasty wholemeal bread baguette was a lot of fun, yet the feeling I had afterwards was the same guilt I’d have after consuming a Subway sandwich. Luckily, guilt is not a problem for me and I’d be happy to visit again – at least until Dubai gets a sandwich shop it can be proud of.

The bill (for two)
1x Original Wreck Dhs19
1x Original Italian Dhs19
1x Chocolate shake Dhs14
Total (excluding service) Dhs52 Potbelly Sandwich Shop
5 1

By Oliver Robinson | 13 April 2011

Location: - Downtown Dubai - Dubai
Tel: 04 325 3090
Travel: Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard
Cuisine: Cafés
Times: Open Sun-Wed 10am-11pm; Thu-Sat 10am-midnight
Price range: Dhs50-199
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  • Zam Jan 01, 2014 02:01 pm
    Would you go back to this restaurant?
    Best for:
    Decor
    Service
    Food
    Ambience
    Value
    Potbelly ACTUALLY has the BEST cookies in the world. Mini-oatmeal-chocolate-chip. I was SO happy when I saw that they opened one here!!!
  • Yahya Ismail Mar 12, 2012 05:58 am
    Would you go back to this restaurant?
    Best for:
    Had the pleasure of visiting Potbelly at DIFC today.

    Have reduced the size of the Uptown Salad by 40% without reduction in Price. No balsamic vinegar either. The place is a chaos.
    And looks like now is out there to cheat consumers.

    I have also posted a complaint on their global website.
  • Greg Sep 21, 2011 12:41 pm
    Would you go back to this restaurant?
    Best for:
    Decor
    Service
    Food
    Ambience
    Value
    I absolutely LOVE Potbelly's. Since it opened a few of the colleagues in our office refuse to go to Subway. For a few dirhams more you can be eating quality food at Potbelly's. I get my sandwich (The Clubby) with everything. A truly unique sandwich. Appropriate for a truly unique city.
  • ROY Sep 18, 2011 06:05 am
    Would you go back to this restaurant?
    Best for:
    THE WRECK SANDWICH IS GOOD! LOVE THE MANGO SHAKE AND CHILL SOUP. AN UPGRADED VERSION OF SUBWAY.
  • Rebecca Apr 20, 2011 07:03 am
    Would you go back to this restaurant?
    Best for:
    Decor
    Service
    Food
    Ambience
    Value
    I liked the sandwich however, the music was really loud especially at 3 p.m. when there were only about 5 customers max.

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