Written by Jessie Newburn, Guest writer
I have a bit of a bias about and against Pot Belly in Columbia: my bias is that it occupies the space of my once-favorite hangout spot in Columbia, a place simply and often called Dobbin Starbucks. Yes, there is still a Dobbin Starbucks; it’s just across the street in a different space and with, as it were, a different vibe.
So, it was with a bit of prejudice that I agreed to meet a friend for lunch at Pot Belly. When I arrived around 1 p.m., the place was packed and I counted myself lucky to get not just a spot, but a great place with bright afternoon sun shining in. Even better, the table was very close to an acoustic guitar player/singer (Ryan Etherton). I didn’t know Pot Belly had live music; that was a surprise.
For me, everything about this young man and his singing was perfect and perfect to the space. I think that often bands and musicians don’t understand how to modulate their performance into the space (physical structure, energetic vibe and so on), yet listening to this particular musician was a Goldilocks-like experience for me.
Apparently, Pot Belly has live music most every day around lunch. The singers and their schedules vary, e.g. you might find one playing 11:30 am – 1:30 pm one day and another playing from 1:00 – 3:00 pm the next. Though I think you can count on a lunchtime “concert” most weekdays.
While Pot Belly in Columbia will never be Dobbin Starbucks with its amazing mix of technologists, unofficial coworkers, and business and community leaders, the vibe, the music and the not-bad sandwich served all won me over and my pre-judices are now put aside and replaced with a good experience.