Potbelly’s prepares for National Chili Day

Julia Hettiger, Staff Reporter

Potbelly Sandwich Shop is celebrating National Chili Day by serving UTEP students free chili on Feb. 26. They will be serving free six-ounce cups of chili from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. at both of their El Paso locations, 2900 N. Mesa St. and 1373 George Dieter Dr.

Famous for their subs, soups and chili, Potbelly has more than 280 restaurants in the United States.

Potbelly promises that all of their meats, vegetables and breads are fresh and hand-sliced by their employees. They guarantee friendly service at all of their restaurants.

Potbelly was first opened on Lincoln Avenue in Chicago during the mid-‘70s as an antique store. The antique store received good business for their first couple of years as solely an antique store, but the owners knew they could improve it somehow, so they began to sell sandwiches.

Within days, their new business flourished, with lines of customers waiting for hours to get their hands on one of their sandwiches. In 1996, Bryant Keil, an entrepreneur, bought Potbelly.

Katharine Nichols, senior accounts coordinator at the All Points public relations office, said the purpose of the free chili is to attract the attention of students in the area.

“We’ve been working with the Potbelly home office on it, and being in Texas we thought it was a natural fit,” Nichols said. “With a location so close to the campus, we thought it would be the best thing.”

The first-ever chili cook off took place in Texas in the 1950s, and Nichols and her team thought it would work out perfectly.

“We have one type of chili,” Nichols said. “It contains ground beef, kidney beans, onions, bell peppers, and is sweetened with molasses and guests receive cheese and oyster crackers to put on top.”

Potbelly is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Every Thursday they have live music from noon until 2 p.m. For more information, call 915-542-2600.

Julia Hettiger may be reached at [email protected]