The full-service restaurant, which offers breakfast, lunch, dinner, and entertainment, plans to open this September in the former It's a Grind space at 51 Memorial Rd. in Blue Back Square this September. Potbelly will also be taking over a small portion of Falcetti Music's existing space next door, said Blue Back Square Marketing Director Barbara Lerner.
The Chicago-based Potbelly Sandwich Shop was born in 1977, when a young couple began serving sandwiches in their antique store. According to the company's website, the experience of dining in the antique store was soon so popular that lines stretched out the door and around the block.
"As time passed the 'little antique shop that could' was slowly turned into quite the lunchtime getaway, complete with toasty warm sandwiches, homemade desserts and even live music," states the website. There are now more than 270 Potbelly Sandwich Shops throughout the country. Although there are several in New York and Massachusetts, the Blue Back Square location will be the first in Connecticut.
As the name implies, sandwiches are a staple of the Potbelly menu, and include "Originals" and "Bigs" of traditional favorites, prepared "toasty warm" with high quality meats, cheeses, and vegetables, with everything cut to order on site. For those who want a smaller portion, "Skinnys" – sandwiches on thin-cut bread that are all under 350 calories, are also available.
Salads, soups, and chilis are also offered for lunch and dinner. Sweets include shakes, malts, and smoothies, which are all hand-dipped, as well as fresh-made baked goods.
Lerner said that despite its name, Potbelly is much more than just a sandwich shop. "It will be a great place to go in the morning, and will be an entirely different breakfast experience," she said. Potbelly will also fill the need for a close-by morning cup of coffee in Blue Back, missing since It's a Grind closed, and will also have a stage for evening entertainment. Fresh-made breakfast sandwiches are on the menu, along with several varieties of steel cut oatmeal.
Lerner said that Potbelly chose West Hartford because it is "a great community, a responsive community." Potbelly is just one of several new businesses planning to open in Blue Back Square later this year, she said.