I am delving into the sandwich wars of NYC. There are many options but I decided to look at the first entry into the crowded market Blimpies. It was a great concept in the 80's and I can remember sitting with my friends in college and we would scounge some money together and buy two foot long heroes. Blimpie was a great value to the College student. I still prefer it to Subway and on some levels it provides great value for your dollar. Unlike Subway where all you get is bread Blimpie gives you a fair deal. I really don't go there for the food as much as the nostalgia. I miss some of those friends from college and one of them didn't even make 40.
I have been hearing amazing things about a new chain in NYC called Lennys. Pot Belly is more of a Starbucks hip feel with small but decent sandwiches. Lenny's has the essence of NYC it is fast paced like getting jammed into a subway. However, the secret is that the sandwiches are the best of any comercial sandwich chain I have been to. You don't sit about and listen to music,but the food is stellar. Oddly, I order a combination I frequently make at home Turkey and Corned Beef on Rye with Russian Dressing and Coleslaw. At home I add a a few pickled peppers and a slice of NY Deli Pickles. It was almost as good as the ones I make at home. Lenny's is like NY and if you can get past the ordering system that is intially confusing and almost adverserial you have found a gem.
I am going to have to get around to Pret a Manger, Cosi and the very hyped Earl of Sandwich. Sadly the places that need Lennys are the least likely to have one. I probably would have lived in the place if they had one in Burlington. It is like a slice of real NY even with the attitude.
The question of where I rank Lennys vs Potbelly. Lenny's food wins hands down, but if I am unwinding Potbelly is fine. I still have never found a reason to enter a Subway other than convenience or an advertised special.