$13 at Potbelly Sandwich Works


: Potbelly Sandwich Works, 3800 Southwest Freeway, 832-675-0500

What $13 gets you: A filling lunch for two.

Standing in line at Potbelly, waiting to place an order, you may find yourself toe-tapping to what appears to be a good, high-quality bootleg of some crooning cover singer doing everything from Petty to Cobain to early Joe Jackson. Then, looking up, you see the musician seated in the balcony with a guitar and mike.

The live music is just one of the things that separates Potbelly from Subway, Quizno’s, Jimmy John’s and all the rest of the corporate, you-choose-the-fixings sandwich shops. The privately owned and operated Chicago-based franchise – which has three Houston locations and a fourth planned to open next year in Sugar Land – offers tasty sammiches, hand-dipped ice cream and a relaxed, hip décor that would make it a draw on any college campus.

My gal and I passed on the soups ($2.69/$3.99), salads ($5.29) and fountain drinks ($1.69), opting instead for two sandwiches ($4.19 each) and a shake ($2.69) to split.

Recommended? You bet.

I got the sandwich with the trademarked name – called A Wreck, which includes salami, roast beef, turkey, ham and swiss toasted on a chewy, crusty white roll. She had tuna salad with swiss on wheat. Both came with all the traditional fixings plus hot peppers, which, surprisingly, actually do pack some heat.

Ice cream flavors include Boysenberry, Oreo and Dreamsickle, but we went for the more traditional and endlessly dreamy vanilla malt. When was the last time you had a malt? I felt 16 all over again – and I mean that in a good way.

Bonus point: Live music. – Todd Spivak

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