Pizza Sandwich – Potbelly Sandwich Works, 555 12th St NW, Washington DC

Pizza Sandwich

Potbelly Sandwich Works is a busy establishment and so as you wait in line a gentlemen takes your order and passes it off to the sandwich makers. When I ordered the the pizza sandwich he asked me what size I wanted. That seemed standard enough but I must admit I was quite surprised when he asked me if I wanted the sandwich with pepperoni and the mushrooms. The Pizza Sandwich at Potbelly’s is comprised of a white or wheat roll, provolone cheese, pepperoni, mushrooms, marinara sauce and Italian seasonings. Were I to decline both the pepperoni and mushrooms, then, I would be left with a sauce and cheese sandwich. I assured the gentlemen I wanted the sandwich as it was presented on the menu and in short order I found myself in front of the sandwich maker. He pulled my sandwich from the oven and asked me if I wanted Italian seasonings on it.

When discussing matters of sandwich philosophy I often claim that a sandwich that is presented as a menu item should be eaten exactly as it is described. I am not certainly not opposed to the concept of made-to-order custom sandwiches, I simply feel that if someone has gone to the length of creating an interesting, balanced sandwich you shouldn’t go fussing with it. I could have ordered the Pizza Sandwich here and without too much trouble had myself provolone cheese, marinara sauce and pickled jalapeños on a wheat roll. With no intended disrespect towards someone who might enjoy that combination it is not a Pizza Sandwich. What it comes down to for me is whoever is in charge of creating sandwiches for Potbelly Sandwich works has designed a Pizza Sandwich and I feel it would be disrespectful of them to have it any other way. As for this particular sandwich it was a pretty good sandwich, if you wanted it to be.

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4 thoughts on “Pizza Sandwich – Potbelly Sandwich Works, 555 12th St NW, Washington DC

  1. That’s strange– I used to live in an apartment build with a Potbelly on the bottom floor and so we went to it pretty frequently. They always asked if I wanted pepperoni but mushrooms were just part of the sandwich at my local version, because as you pointed out a marinara sandwich would be sort of odd.

    However, I wonder if maybe it’s not so gauche to order the addition of hot peppers to a sandwich that did not offer them as a default, because I think most mainstream sandwich shops would never put hot peppers on a sandwich by default because hot peppers are seen as an acquired taste. It makes sense to me that you have to request them.

    How do you feel about the size of the Potbelly sandwiches? The last time I went they didn’t have different sizes, so I’m not sure what size now maps to the one that was available when I visited, but I frequently found myself still hungry after eating there.

    • There was a fair amount of signage in the store touting their new “Bigs,” a sandwich 30% larger than the regular size. I ordered the big and thought it to be a fair size, a bit smaller than a footlong but right for the price.

  2. I’m mostly just surprised they didn’t start with “mayo, mustard, or hot peppers?” Also, no Potbelly sandwich is described on the menu as having any toppings other than what goes on before it hits the oven (other than the Chicken Salad, I suppose), but our Turkey is pretty fucking bland if you just get it with swiss cheese and nothing else, and that’s all the menu description includes. The Pizza is at its best when topped with giardinera (or “hot peppers”), onions, tomatoes, and seasoning. And, if you’re feeling up to it, our mustard compliments the marinara surprisingly well. Get it on the side if you’re uncomfortable with the idea but feeling experimental nonetheless. Oh, and you’re well within your rights to ask if the tomatoes and onions are good that day, as you normally have about a 50/50 shot, and the dressers should be honest with you if you ask.

    That said, many people every day get a sauce and cheese sandwich, and more still get the Pizza with everything (mayo, lettuce, pickles, etc). Frankly, both sound disgusting to me.

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