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Potbelly Sandwich Shop Coming to Downtown Little Rock

2 min read

Ryan Hamra, owner of the Potbelly Sandwich Shop in Little Rock, is opening his second location in the Lyon Building downtown at 410 W. Capitol Ave. 

Hamra hopes the new restaurant will be open as soon as mid-June.

Hamra signed franchise contract with Potbelly allows him to open at least five stores in the state, which would make him the exclusive franchisee in central and northwest Arkansas. 

Hamra, who opened the first Potbelly’s on University Avenue in 2014, has his sights set expanding to west Little Rock, Conway and several possible locations in northwest Arkansas.

Potbelly has more than 400 stores, and only a few of those are franchised, Hamra said. 

“I love how selective they are about franchising,” he said. “There’s only about 30 franchises out of 400 stores.”

Hamra was introduced to Potbelly when he lived in Chicago, where it originated and where it’s based, and always thought it would be a good addition to Little Rock.

“The main reason I wanted to open Potbelly is that it’s the best sandwich I’ve ever had,” Hamra said. “It’s something Little Rock needs and deserves.”

Downtown Little Rock proved to be the perfect fit for Hamra’s next Potbelly location because the restaurant is so heavily focused on lunch. He said he expects the location to be great for catering opportunities and walk-up traffic because the Lyon building is in such a heavily populated section of downtown.

Hamra’s first location on University Avenue offers a variety of toasted sandwiches that are all served hot, as well as soups, salads and hand-dipped milkshakes. The restaurant also offers live music during lunch. Hamra says many of the musicians who’ve played at the University Avenue location are students at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

The restaurant business is not new to Ryan Hamra. His father, Jerry, was founder of the 34-store Wendy’s of Little Rock franchise, one of the most successful in the nation. Jerry Hamra died in 1995.

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