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Sandwich Showdown: Potbelly vs. Which Which

Which sandwich should you be eating right now?

Kat Rembacki

Kat Rembacki

Storyteller at Core Detroit
Dance party crasher; wordsmith; downtowner;Disney geek; whipped cream junkie; die-hard Tigers fan. Join me on on my epic quest for the perfect turkey reuben.
Kat Rembacki

Which Wich opened this week in the Penobcsot building downtown. When we first tried their sandwiches we couldn’t help but notice that they’re similar to another shop right down the street. Potbelly’s been serving toasted sammies in One Kennedy Square since November 2013.

We normally shy away from writing about chain restaurants, but we have to admit that both of these spots are good options for a quick lunch downtown. And they’re really similar. How’s a hungry Detroiter to know where to go?

We tried them both and prepared a simple rundown to help you decide which sandwich shop is right for you.

Our go-to order at Which Which: the Thank You Turkey

Our go-to order at Which Which: the Thank You Turkey

Ordering

At Which Wich, before you go up to the counter you’ll need to grab a sandwich sized paper bag and mark your choices with red sharpie. Make sure to write your name on there, too. There are ten bag numbers, with each one being a different protein category (turkey is #1, ham is #2, and so on). Once you get up to the counter, the team member taking your order will hand the bag to the person making your sandwich, who will hang it up in the prep area while your lunch is being made. Then they’ll call your name when your sammy is ready.

Potbelly’s ordering process is more like a traditional quick service joint. Multiple team members will help you through the process, like an assembly line of deliciousness. You give the first person your sandwich order (e.g. I’ll have the chicken salad, original, on multigrain), and once your sammy goes through the toaster oven you let the next team member know which toppings you’d like. When the lunch rush is in full swing, a team member may walk through the line taking orders, which speeds up the process.

We love the oatmeal chocolate chip cookies at Potbelly

We love the oatmeal chocolate chip cookies at Potbelly

Menu

In terms of the volume of choices, Which Wich has Potbelly beat on the sandwich front. They have more than 50 choices when you tally up all the different options on their numbered bags. Potbelly’s menu has about a dozen different choices. You can also select from three different sandwich sizes at Which Wich (from a 7” up to a 14”), while Potbelly has two sizes (original and big). Which Wich offers a choice of a “hotwhich” (toasted) or “coldwhich” (untoasted), while Potbelly sandwiches come toasted as a standard rule.

Which Wich has a wide variety of toppings like sauerkraut (good with turkey) or pineapple (great with ham). Both restaurants offer avocado for an additional $1.

Where Potbelly has Which Wich beat, though, is in the non-sandwich offerings. The restaurant offers soups and salads in addition to sammies.

The bread really comes down to personal preference. At Which Wich it’s a little softer, while Potbelly’s bread tends to be more toasty.

Breakfast

Both sandwich shops offer breakfast. Potbelly also makes steel cut oatmeal, with toppings like raisins and brown sugar or apples and cranberries.

Signature Sandwich

Potbelly’s signature sammy is A Wreck. It’s a mess of salami, roast beef, turkey, ham and swiss. At Which Wich, it’s the Wicked, stacked with ham, turkey, roast beef, pepperoni, bacon and three cheeses of your choice. Both of them have more meat than you should be eating in an entire day, which is what makes them so awesome.

Our go-to order at Which Wich is the Thank You Turkey. Piled high with turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce, it’s like Thanksgiving in a sandwich. At Potbelly, it’s the toasty turkey BLT with mayo. Because everything’s better with bacon.

Dessert

Both Potbelly and Which Wich makes a good milkshake, and you can get an ice cream cookie sandwich at both shops. For us, those oatmeal chocolate chip cookies are Potbelly can’t be beat. Maybe that’s just our personal preference, but we love the soft, not-quite-fully-baked texture and still-melty chocolate chips. Their dream bars are pretty fantastic, too.

Do you have a preference on Potbelly vs. Which Wich? What’s your go-to order? Let us know in the comments!

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