Franchise Face-Off: Potbelly's vs. Subway

Which do you prefer?

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By David Hammond

Potbelly’s and Subway.

They’re located about one block from one another; they both serve sandwiches, and they’re both vying for our lunchtime dollar.

Now, the differences between these two sandwich stores may not be as great as the differences between, say, The Beatles vs. The Rolling Stones, but there are differences between these two vendors of what is essentially the same kind of sandwich.

Grant Achatz of Chicago’s Alinea and Next, arguably America’s most creative chef, favors Potbelly’s for staff meals, and at a recent lunch there, I thought the sandwich I had was just fine. 

Anthony Gambino, local restaurateur and co-owner of Cucina Paradiso and Burger Boss, told me that he did an informal survey of Oak Park lunch spots and found that Potbelly’s was one “of the more expensive,” which was a kind of surprising but quite possibly an accurate observation.

There’s little doubt that in a matchup between the two that Subway is the less expensive, but that doesn’t mean it’s a value…though it might be.

Which do you prefer?


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Reader Comments

11 Comments - Add Your Comment

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Peter Traczyk from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: January 31st, 2012 9:04 PM

This is a no-brainer - Potbelly. Similar to other commenters - my kids prefer Jimmy Johns, and I also prefer Alpine. I don't know why anyone would eat at Subway if given almost any alternative.


Posted: January 31st, 2012 4:03 PM

I like Alpine, however I'll take Potbelly over Subway any day.


Posted: January 31st, 2012 3:55 PM

If the choice is between Potbelly and Subway, Potbelly wins hands down. But Alpine is better than both. Better ingredients.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: January 28th, 2012 9:51 AM

Go with Alpine!

mv113 from op  

Posted: January 28th, 2012 9:05 AM



Posted: January 28th, 2012 8:24 AM

Are we only talking sandwich franchises on the west side of Lake? What about Jimmy John's? My kids prefer JJ. I prefer PB.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: January 27th, 2012 11:32 PM

The question was not what is your favorite sub shop, it's what would you choose, Subway or Pot Belly's. Subway has parking except the one at Forest and Lake street. Pot Belly's has lot parking so why pay to go to Pot Belly's in Oak Park, but it is better than Subway.


Posted: January 27th, 2012 2:45 PM

I'm with Al and Mares. Alpine, hands down. Potbelly's in a pinch.

AL from Oak Park  

Posted: January 27th, 2012 12:13 PM

I'd rather go to Alpine but, between Subway and Potbelly's- I choose Potbelly's.

Mares from River Forest  

Posted: January 27th, 2012 10:56 AM


Mares from River Forest  

Posted: January 27th, 2012 10:50 AM

Alpine Food Shop in Elmwood Park. Great Subs !

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