Behind the counter at Potbelly, there's a secret menu of sandwiches and desserts available only to those who know what to ask for. And now, if you're inclined to dine "off the menu," you'll be one who knows.
Sean Cooley, who covers the Chicago restaurant and bar beat over at Thrillist, laid out the entire secret menu in all its meaty, cheesy glory. There are 11 sandwiches and four desserts.
- Lucky 7: It's a Potbelly Wreck on top of an Italian sub — "nearly every topping on the menu."
- Wrecking Ball: It's a Wreck (ham, turkey, roast beef, and salami) with meatballs, Swiss cheese, mayo, lettuce and tomato.
- Fireball: "A little meatballs here, a little cheddar there, a little chili also here," writes Cooley, "a little hot peppers also there, then throw in the name of our favorite villain from The Running Man, and boom, you've got the Fireball."
- Cheeseburger: Meatballs, cheddar, mayo, mustard, lettuce, tomato and pickles.
- Sicilian: An Italian with meatballs, mushrooms, marinara, Provolone, hot peppers.
- Black and Bleu: Roast beef, bleu cheese, lettuce, and tomato.
- Chicken Cordon Bleu: grilled chicken, ham, and Swiss,
- Barnyard: "If all you think about when reading Animal Farm is eating all the animals, the Barnyard is for you (a Wreck plus Nueske’s bacon, meatballs, mayo, lettuce, and tomato)," says Cooley.
- Elvis: Peanut butter, Nueske’s bacon, and bananas ... packed "much like Elvis's stomach."
- The Clubby: Turkey, ham, bacon and ranch dressing.
- Toasty Turkey BLT: As its name implies.
The list hit the web earlier this week and downtown Chicago Potbelly shops saw a surge in people asking for the secret sandwiches.
A Potbelly official told DNAInfo.com the secret menu has been around for 36 years, since the Chicago-based company's founding, so it's not really much of a secret. Some of the items merely moved off the main menu, and others were created by store employees and customers.
"It's been around ever since Potbelly started," marketing manager Dan Yates said. "We have a lot of very loyal customers who come in every day and want to try new things."Oh, but what about the desserts? Head over to Thrillist for a recounting of the four off-menu desserts and photos of every delectable sandwich and treat. (Thanks, Sean.)
Helpful Link: Find a shop near you
Potbelly, which has 319 stores in 21 states, became a publicly traded company in 2013. Stores have suffered a dip in business during this winter's extreme cold and snow, but company officials told Crain's Chicago Business that they intend to open a new regional hub somewhere in the country this year.