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How it all began

Our Story

A quiet antique store turns into a happening sandwich shop.

Long before the sandwiches were toasted and cookies were on the straws, there was a young couple who owned an antique shop in Chicago. The quirky shop of memories did well, but the determined pair knew they could do better.

They decided to start serving lunch to their curious customers. Little did they know that the simple sandwiches served in this unique atmosphere would cause such a fuss, with lines reaching out the door and around the corner. As time passed the "little antique shop that could" turned into quite the lunchtime getaway, complete with toasty warm sandwiches, homemade desserts and even live music.

Eventually, Potbelly love spread throughout the world, with each new shop maintaining that same neighbourhood feel as the original.

Potbelly Sandwiches Founder and First Shop

Potbelly through the years...

1977

Founded as a small antique store on Lincoln Avenue in Chicago

1997

Opened 2nd shop

1998

Began catering menu

2001

Opened 1st airport restaurant at Midway (Chicago)
1st breakfast store

2002

Opened 10th shop
Opened first shop in Washington, D.C.

2003

Opened shops in Michigan, Wisconsin, Baltimore & Minnesota

2004

Opened first shop in Dallas

2005

Opened shops in Ohio & Houston
Introduced the Box O' Sandwiches
Opened 100th store

2007

Opened shops in Austin & Philadelphia
Celebrated 30th anniversary
Expanded breakfast menu
Opened 1st drive-thru

2008

Online Ordering launched nationwide
Opened 200th store
Opened in Kentucky

2009

BIGS sandwiches are created
-approximately 30% more of what you love

2010

Uptown and Farmhouse grilled chicken salads

2011

Launched Grilled Chicken & Cheddar sandwich
Chocolate Brownie Cookie added to fresh-baked dessert line-up
Opened in New York City
Opened in Seattle
Opened in United Arab Emirates

2012

New Mediterranean sandwich
Boston debut
Phoenix & St. Louis shops open
Opened in Kuwait
Opened in Bahrain

2013

Opened in Kansas City

2015

Opened in London, UK

2016

Opened in Toronto, Canada


Potbelly Stove Illustration

World's Largest Collector of Antique Stoves?

No one knows for sure, but we're pretty certain that we own the title since there is one in each of our shops around the world. Potbelly stoves were used extensively in stores and other public places during the late 1800s and early 1900s. They were gathering places in homes and communities, warm little outposts where local people could share a meal and some conversation.

While the stoves might be a thing of the past, you can still find the same warmth and good vibes at a Potbelly Sandwich Shop in your neighbourhood. It’s a symbol of what we are. It’s a place where folks gather to grab toasted sandwiches and freshly prepared salads, catch a local musician, enjoy a hand-scooped shake and maybe even make some new friends. We’re not just in your neighbourhood, we’re your neighbourhood sandwich shop.