Potbelly Sandwich Shop announced Friday that Arkansas’ first shop, a franchise located in Little Rock, will open on Wednesday, October 1 in the Park Avenue shopping center at 314 S. University Avenue, in the Midtown area. The neighborhood hangout will feature its sandwiches, milkshakes, and live music.

Ryan Hamra, the new sandwich shop’s managing partner, is a Little Rock native and the operator of North Little Rock’s Blue Coast Burrito. Hamra opens the Potbelly with general manager and business partner, Mark Needler. 

“It’s been a fun ride getting Little Rock’s first Potbelly shop off the ground. This is going to be an Arkansas staple,” says Hamra. “I’ve run and opened restaurants in the past, but none of them have been quite like Potbelly.”

Hamra and Needler open the franchise sandwich shop to a community who has already come to know the brand during their travels outside of Arkansas. Regionally, Potbelly Sandwich Shops already operate in Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Kansas.

“Little Rock is an ideal home for a Potbelly shop. Our tight-knit community will be excited to have a brand new hangout where they can enjoy a warm, delicious meal and some fresh, local music,” adds Hamra. “I’m especially happy that folks no longer have to drive for hours outside of Little Rock for a Potbelly sandwich.”

Little Rock’s first Potbelly Sandwich Shop includes about 30 staff members, ranging from customer service to managers. The shop will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday.

“Ryan, Mark and their team are the perfect addition to the Potbelly family. The pair have the drive and determination needed to take their hop to the next level,” says Mike Walters, head of franchise development for Potbelly Sandwich Shop. “Every new sandwich shop is designed to resemble the community it resides in. Ryan and Mark have the deep-rooted community connections Potbelly looks for when choosing franchise partners.”

Potbelly Sandwich Shop first opened in Chicago in 1977, and now includes more than 300 shops across the United States. There are also 20-plus franchise shops in the United States and abroad, and the company is projecting more franchised shops to open in 2014.

News, Pizza, Sandwiches, Potbelly