Trying To Order From Potbelly’s Underground Menu Did Not End Well

If you know anyone who’s eaten at a Potbelly Sandwich Shop in the Midwest or anywhere outside of New York City, they’ve probably told you about the “underground” menu with different combos of sandwiches than is on the regular menu. A tweet from Potbelly about one of these new underground sandwiches led me to call the Maiden Lane location to confirm that they actually will do this menu tweaking and I was confidently assured by the man who answered the phone that they absolutely sold these items. So I rounded up a friend and headed over to wait in the always-insane line, excited to order one of the five underground sandwiches that I found after some careful research online. Click through for the outcome of this experiment.

The underground sandwich menu is basically just taking ingredients found in ones already on the menu and adding or taking away things. Easy enough, right? Wrong! There was a woman going down the line taking orders to speed up the process and I was shut down from the start. She informed me that they have none of these underground creations and that they’re mostly only found in the Chicago stores (where the chain is based). Since there was a gigantic line behind me I didn’t push this too much but found it weird.

It was on to plan B which was basically to order something off the menu that I hadn’t already tried. That ended up being a meatball sub with hot peppers ($5.20, on the left) and we also got their signature A Wreck ($5.80, on the right). What I had tried to order was called the Fireball and was a meatball sub with chili on top instead of marinara. Apparently some restaurants will also do a “cheeseburger” which is the meatball with cheese, pickles, ketchup and mustard. I feel like maybe if you talked nicely to the sandwich construction people at non-rush times they would hook you up with these concoctions.

The meatball sandwich was good, cheap and full of meat which is about all you can ask of a sandwich. It was pretty light on the marinara and cheese so you might want to ask for extra if this is a problem for you. Once again, the hot peppers were a worthy addition to the sandwich. My co-luncher enjoyed her Wreck although they seemed to have forgotten the peppers on the sandwich that otherwise contained salami, ham, turkey and roast beef with some swiss cheese.

The shakes ($3.20) are just the right size and you can get a sandwich and one of these for $10 or less. The above is a mocha Oreo shake which was coffee ice cream and and cookie mix in. There wasn’t much coffee flavor and I wished I would have gotten a chocolate base instead, but you eat, and you learn.

While I was disappointed in my denial of underground sandwiches at Potbelly, I can’t really complain about a good sandwich for less than $6. Next time I’m going at a slower hour to see if I can sweet talk the person who’s making my meatball sandwich into putting some chili on top.

Potbelly Sandwich Works, 101 Maiden Lane (nr. Gold), (646) 289-4201



  • Potbelly is such a great addition to the Financial District! So disappointing to hear that you were given such a hard time. But we must respect those who make our delicious food. Even though we’d really like to get a good Cheeseburger or Wrecking Ball from Potbelly!

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    This was my first Potbelly adventure and I can say that the man in front of me ordered the “wrecking ball” in the midtown location on 56th btwn 5th and 6th at noon with no line and appeared to have much success, even the people making the sandwich seemed excited he knew about the special menu. I got a roast beef sandwich and called it a day but was excited to learn this new world.

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