After years of trying to fire up a Med City location, plans for a new
Potbelly Sandwich Shop are heating up in downtown Rochester.
A group of local owners have signed a deal to open a Potbelly franchise —
the first in southeastern Minnesota — in the 318 Commons building on
First Avenue Southwest.
That'll put it in the same complex with hundreds of University of
Minnesota Rochester students, The Loop bar and grill and the latest
Eastwood Bank branch.
Potbelly, known for its toasted sandwiches and cast-iron potbelly
stoves, has been looking to spark a franchise here since at least 2010.
Fans have been vocal in their appeals for a local Potbelly.
In addition to warm sandwiches, Potbelly serves up salads, soups and hand-dipped milkshakes.
Owners Kirk and Kim Gordon are spearheading the project, along with partners John and Sandy Rogness and Bill and Erin Nystrom.
The decision to sign on for a Potbelly franchise was an easy one for the Gordons.
“We loved Potbelly when we lived in Chicago, and we’ve been hoping ever
since that Rochester would be added to the Potbelly family," Kim Gordon
said. "We got tired of waiting and decided, ‘Let’s bring it here
There's no target opening date yet, but look for construction of the new
sidewalk level eatery to kickoff very soon. The chain's namesake stove
commemorates how the first shop started as an antique store then evolved
into an eatery. Expect customized woodwork within.
Potbelly typically hires about 20 to 30 people to staff a shop.
It'll be interesting to see how this new player in Rochester's already
meaty sandwich market carves out its own niche. The Med City already
sports Jimmy John's, Subway, Quizno's, Cousin's and local deli-style
places like Salad Brothers, City Market, Nelson Cheese and others
In 2010, Potbelly's franchise manager was confident that a shop was destined for Rochester.
"These are definitely not cookie cutter shops. We want to be part of a
community," Mike Walters said back then. "We want to be a neighborhood