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Panera Bread - A Restaurant Review

Updated on February 10, 2015
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Panera Bread Restaurant: A Real Treat!

Panera Bread is a bakery and cafe rolled into one.

The Bakery

At Panera Bread, they make their own bread every night so it will be fresh for their customers every day! The Panera Bread bakery creates fresh artisan breads, specialty breads, bagels, and pastries and sweets!

The Cafe

Panera Bread also has a varied cafe menu featuring fresh salads, sandwiches, panini, soups, and fruit.


On this page you'll find my personal review of Panera Bread. No, I'm not employed in any way by Panera Bread, but it is one of my favorite restaurants!

Breads - Loaf bread, baguettes, bagels, pastries, muffins, and yummy desserts at Panera Bread

Cinnamon Crunch Bagel
Cinnamon Crunch Bagel | Source

Freshly Made Breads

I counted 17 different types of bread on the Panera Bread menu, not counting their bagels, pastries, and desserts! These include:

  • Whole Grain
  • Ciabatta
  • Sesame Semolina
  • Focaccia (Sea Salt or Asiago Cheese)
  • Sourdough
  • Artisan French
  • Country Bread
  • Rye
  • Three Cheese Bread
  • Three Seed Bread
  • All Natural White
  • Cinnamon Raisin Swirl
  • Honey Wheat
  • Tomato Basil
  • Sourdough
  • Sprouted Whole Grain Roll
  • Dinner Roll

My favorite? Tomato basil! It's a sourdough bread with a sweet crust. It's really good!

I also enjoy Panera Bread's whole grain baguettes. Sometime I'll have to try their Asiago Cheese bread too, as I've had their Asiago Cheese croutons before and they're fabulous!

But their bakery doesn't stop with just loaf bread and baguettes! They have freshly baked muffins, bagels, scones, sweet rolls, bear claws, French Croissants, mini bundt cakes, cookies, brownies, and pastries. All of these are on a large display. Tempting? You bet!

Bagel
Bagel | Source

Sandwiches and Panini

Panera Bread has a variety of sandwiches and hot panini. Examples of the sandwiches include:

  • Napa Almond Chicken Salad Sandwich
  • Sierra Turkey Sandwich on Asiago Cheese Foccaccia
  • Steak and White Cheddar Panini
  • Chipotle Chicken Panini
  • Tomato and Mozzarella Panini
  • Roasted Turkey and Avocado BLT
  • Italian Combo
  • Fontina Grilled Cheese
  • and many others!

Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich
Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich | Source

The Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich

My favorite sandwich is the Mediterranean Veggie. It's made with that Tomato Basil bread I was telling you about earlier. Inside the Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich are peppers, feta cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, onions, cucumbers and cilantro hummus.

Salads and Soups - at Panera Bread

Strawberry Poppyseed Salad
Strawberry Poppyseed Salad | Source

Panera Bread also has several types of salads and soups. Their soup and salad menu has some year-round staples, as well as some seasonal items. Their salads include:

  • Chicken Cobb with Avocoda
  • Grilled Chicken Caesar
  • Greek
  • Thai Chicken Salad
  • BBQ Chicken Salad
  • Strawberry Poppyseed
  • fresh fruit cups
  • and more.

In the summer, my favorite salad is their Strawberry Poppyseed Salad! In addition to romaine lettuce, the salad has a variety of types of fruits, pecans, and low fat poppyseed dressing. My favorite salad in the winter is their Greek Salad.

Several types of soups are also on the menu. These include:

  • Vegetarian Black Bean
  • Vegetarian Garden Vegetable
  • Vegetarian Summer Corn Chowder
  • Broccoli Cheddar
  • New England Clam Chowder
  • Baked Potato
  • French Onion
  • Low Fat Chicken Noodle
  • Tomato Basil
  • and several others.

In the winter, my favorite soup is their Tomato Basil with Asiago Cheese Croutons. I don't have a favorite summer time soup, because in the summer I'm too busy eating their Strawberry Poppyseed salad!

You Pick Two

at Panera Bread

One of my favorite meals at Panera Bread is called, "You Pick Two." With this meal, you get to select any two of the following: a cup of soup, half a sandwich, or half of a salad. All meals also come with a side, which can be either a baguette, apple, or potato chips.

Although in the photo below I am having a salad and sandwich, I usually select a soup and salad.

Strawberry Poppyseed Salad and Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich with a whole grain baguette

You Pick Two
You Pick Two | Source

Other Panera Bread menu items?

I've mentioned most of the things that I have tried and particularly enjoyed, but I don't want to leave you with the impression that I've mentioned everything they have! Panera has many other menu items too.

For example, above you can see a Frozen Lemonade that my children and I had the delightful experience of devouring yesterday! So cold and sweet, with a delightful lemon flavor! Yum!!

Official Panera Bread Website

Low-Carb options?

Panera Bread has a "Hidden menu" with several low carb entrees.

Did you know that Panera Bread has a secret menu from which you can order low carb meals? The hidden menu contains the following meals:

  • Egg White Bowl with Roasted Turkey
  • Egg Bowl with Steak
  • Mediterranean Chicken Salad
  • Mediterranean Roasted Turkey Salad
  • Steak Lettuce Wraps
  • Chicken Hummus Bowl

You can find photos and a list of what's in each one on their Hidden Menu.

To order one of these meals, just let the cashier know you are ordering from the hidden menu!

Are you a fan of Panera Bread Restaurant?

Do you enjoy eating at Panera Bread? (Please only vote if you've actually eaten there at least once.)

See results

What menu items do you prefer?

What do you like at Panera Bread?

See results

Panera Bread Is A Common Meeting Place For Groups

Free Wi-Fi too!

Panera Bread is also a popular meeting place for small groups, from high school or college kids gathering for a study session, to adults meeting for business or fun. There is a meeting room available, but groups also often just push several tables together.

They have free wi-fi there as well, and when I go, I often see people sitting at a table with a cup of coffee and a bagel or danish, typing away on their computers.

My Panera Card - Pick up a My Panera card at the restaurant and then register it!

Be sure and pick up a "My Panera" card when you visit Panera Bread! Panera Bread puts "surprises" on the card for you from time to time! For example, I recently received both a free drink (hot tea, soda, etc) as well as a free pastry!

My Overall Impression of Panera Bread

Superb!

I do have two tiny complaints. One is that, at least in my area, they close at 8 in the evening. So many times we've wanted to go there after that, and had to go somewhere else instead.

UPDATE: Many Panera Bread restaurants are staying open later now. The one closest to me now stays open until 9, and another one in town is open until 10!

My second tiny complaint is that because they bake all their own bread the night before, when they run out of a particular type, they won't be getting any more until the next day. Sometimes they run out of some of the more popular soups too. Okay, this isn't that big of a deal, as there are so many other things on the menu I enjoy too. Having freshly made breads, delicious homemade soups, and fresh, tasty salads is surely worth a little flexibility on my part!

My overall impression of Panera Bread? FANTASTIC! I love Panera Bread!!

Panera Bread Cookbook - Discover Panera Bread's Breadmaking Tips and Recipes

The Panera Bread Cookbook: Breadmaking Essentials and Recipes from America's Favorite Bakery-Cafe
The Panera Bread Cookbook: Breadmaking Essentials and Recipes from America's Favorite Bakery-Cafe

In addition to bread-making tips and recipes, you'll find quite a few (over 120) recipes that use homemade breads.

 

Zojirushi Home Bakery Bread Machine - Wake up to fresh baked bread, or serve it for dinner!

Zojirushi BB-HAC10 Home Bakery 1-Pound-Loaf Programmable Mini Breadmaker
Zojirushi BB-HAC10 Home Bakery 1-Pound-Loaf Programmable Mini Breadmaker

Enjoy homemade bread made with ease! This breadmaker makes 1 lb loaves. In addition to making bread, you can use this machine to make cookie dough, pizza dough, pasta, rolls, jams, and more!

 

Thanks for visiting my Panera Bread Restaurant Review! Have you ever been to Panera Bread? If so, what's your favorite menu item? I'd love to here from you!!

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    • profile image

      anonymous 3 years ago

      Panera is good eating. Very cool review.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Their bread loaves are SO good....and at $4.30, basically only a dollar and a half more than the sliced bread sold in groceries around my area, I would much rather spend the extra to get their fresh bread :).

    • joancol lm profile image

      joancol lm 4 years ago

      I'm not a huge fan of Paneera bread but my husband is. He will love this!

    • JumpinJake profile image

      JumpinJake 4 years ago

      yummy sandwiches, enjoyed stopping by your blog this morning.

    • profile image

      AlexanderMontanez 4 years ago

      I really love Panera Bread especially love to eat Sandwich.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      We love Panera Bread too! We especially love the "You Pick Two" Deal! Soups and sandwiches are our favorite with the strawberry poppy seed salad high on our list.

    • profile image

      Torrs13 4 years ago

      I enjoy Panera Bread...especially their Baked Potato Soup!

    • JanieceTobey profile image
      Author

      JanieceTobey 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Hi Trudy, Thanks for writing! I'm not affiliated with Panera Bread in any way. I simply wrote a review about them. Here is the official Panera Bread website: http://www.panerabread.com/

    • OurFoodRecipes LM profile image

      OurFoodRecipes LM 4 years ago

      great lens and great info of Panera Bread..Cool !

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      My husband and I love eating at Panera Restaurant but I have a small problem. I am gluten intolerent and can't have any food that contains wheat.

      I was wondering if you could add baked potatoes to your menu. That way

      people like me could enjoy a nice Panera meal.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I love Panera Bread sandwiches and salads. However, the new Turkey Cranberry Paninni is not great and certainly not worth the price. A lot of bread with barely any meat, spinach or anything else in between. Very disappointed in this sandwich.

    • profile image

      GabrielaFargasch 5 years ago

      I love to eat breakfast in Panera Bread! It is my favorite breakfast place! I usually have that delicious chocolate pastry, cheese soufle and asiago cheese bread with their dark bold coffee!

    • bushaex profile image

      Stephen Bush 5 years ago from Ohio

      SquidAngel blessings. I enjoy most of their breakfast pastries and their raisin bread is usually exceptional.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      There is one right up the street from us and I have never been there, I definitely should try it out.

    • Gayle Mclaughlin profile image

      Gayle 5 years ago from McLaughlin

      Love your review! I also enjoy many of the items you featured here!

    • elizabethknows lm profile image

      elizabethknows lm 5 years ago

      Love Panera Bread.

    • BlueObsidian profile image

      Kimberly 5 years ago from Oregon

      I used to live around the corner from a Panera and I miss it so much! The nearest one is two hours away from where I live now. Great lens!

    • Blackspaniel1 profile image

      Blackspaniel1 5 years ago

      Nice lens

    • ChrissLJ profile image

      ChrissLJ 5 years ago

      I love going to my local Panaras. As a vegetarian, I appreciate that they don't skimp on flavor for their Mediterranean Veggie. However I do wish they would bring back the Portabello Panani as I find the Tomato Mozzarella Panani less than favorable.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      good lookin' piece of food indeed!

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 5 years ago from Land of Aloha

      The first Panera Bread restaurant I ate at was in Missouri quite a few years back while visiting on the mainland. I was really impressed!

    • Countryluthier profile image

      E L Seaton 5 years ago from Virginia

      I had a great sandwich there very recently and was surprised to run across your review. So far squid epicurean, we agree, the food is great and they do run out, but I digress. Great job!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Stopping back with a mouth watering blessing for your panera bread restaurant review!

    • profile image

      seosmm 5 years ago

      Love Panera bread. Great review and nice lens!

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 5 years ago from Southampton, UK

      Nice review of Panera. I used to go there at times when I lived in Indiana for Bagels and Coffee on a Sunday morning. They have some good breakfast food, especially if you like breads, and I am a bread-a-holic. Nicely done, blessed.

    • Mary Crowther profile image

      Mary Crowther 5 years ago from Havre de Grace

      I like the "You Pick Two" option since it gives you more yummy things to try! Also, their breads are delish!

    • profile image

      KarenCookieJar 5 years ago

      I was addicted to their Fuji Apple chicken salad, but then I found that they sell their salad dressing at some grocery stores, so I make it myself.

    • profile image

      restaurantboy 5 years ago

      Great lens here.. I don't know of Panera bread, but it sure makes me feel like lunch!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I have always liked panera bread for their greAt food . But have been disappointed for first time with their customer service. I guess they need to get a better on that.

    • Northwestphotos profile image

      Northwestphotos 5 years ago

      Panera Bread is my favorite place to eat!

    • profile image

      Anderotin 5 years ago

      Panera is a great restaurant, all I advise to visit.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      My town doesn't have a Panera Bread. The nearest one is 50 miles away in Montgomery, Alabama. Whenever my brother or I are in Montgomery, we pick up a couple of loaves of Panera wheat bread. Nice lens!

    • profile image

      RobinDM 5 years ago

      I eat there every week with a dear friend! Love the Pick Two option. That way I always get to try two things when I go. I love their summer salad with strawberries and their Black Bean soup.

    • JK Sterling profile image

      Jim Sterling 5 years ago from Franklin, Tennessee

      Greta lens, thank you. I visit Panera at least 4 times a week.

    • food monkey profile image

      food monkey 5 years ago

      I love Panera! nice lens!

    • profile image

      blanckj 6 years ago

      Thanks for sharing the lovely photos. I'm getting hungry now.

    • JanieceTobey profile image
      Author

      JanieceTobey 6 years ago

      @Mickie Gee: Thanks for the blessing! And yes, I purchased some food from Panera Bread and then took photos of it before eating it and sharing it with my family. Panera is one of my favorite restaurants!

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Goad 6 years ago

      If Panera has their black bean soup on the menu, I always order it.

      Blessed this lens because it has successfully made me crave a Panera bowl of soup--even on a hot summer morning.

      Did you take the photos?

    • anticloud profile image

      anticloud 6 years ago

      Panera is so delicious. But I think they are a tad overpriced at times. I love their shortbread cookies and iced chai lattes. Yum!

    • profile image

      little_diddle 6 years ago

      I love panera! I am a carbo-holic, so it is a good place for me. The only thing I would change is their prices, which can be a little steep sometimes....Love the lens! :-)

    • WorldVisionary3 profile image

      WorldVisionary3 6 years ago

      I always love going to Panera. Thumbs up!

    • JanieceTobey profile image
      Author

      JanieceTobey 6 years ago

      @TreasuresBrenda: Hi Brenda,

      It's a chain in the US. I remember Anthony saying he'd been to one in Canada too. Thanks for stopping by this lens!

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 6 years ago from Canada

      Looks delicious. Other people always make such great sandwiches!

      P.S. Where is Panera located? Did I miss that?

    • efriedman profile image

      efriedman 6 years ago

      Yes I like their food and the access to free wi-fi. When out of town (or across town) I have made the choice to eat at a Panera so that I could check email or read a document etc. It's a good chain and I liked your review of it and photographs very much. Well done!

    • profile image

      blanckj 6 years ago

      Panera always looks so good. Unfortunately, most of their menu contains some form of corn which I am allergic to. Their paninis are the only thing that doesn't have corn. I do like that they keep a binder at the register with a list of ingredients for every menu item so anyone can check for food allergies for a customer. They have a great business reputation with me but not a very wide scope of options. I do like them.

    • profile image

      JoshK47 6 years ago

      I very much enjoy Panera - always pretty easy to get a fairly healthy, affordable meal.

    • Mistalina profile image

      Mistalina 6 years ago

      A great review! I am a fan of Panera Bread as well.

    • TabbyCakes profile image

      TabbyCakes 6 years ago

      Love Panera Bread! Blessed!

    • tiff0315 profile image

      tiff0315 6 years ago

      I would love to go! My sister came back from a vacation raving about the Panera Bread, my mouth has been watering ever since. I wish they had it in my little town :(

    • Faye Rutledge profile image

      Faye Rutledge 6 years ago from Concord VA

      I love eating at Panera Bread. Very yummy!! :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      love the colorful photos making me hungry :) adding to blog roll, blessed by squid angel :)

    • profile image

      KellyMariaClark 6 years ago

      @MJSchrader: Hey, I think you are talking about me! ;) Thanks for showing me this lens.

    • profile image

      KellyMariaClark 6 years ago

      I am totally hooked on Panera... not only the food, but there is no pressure to get you out in a hurry. In fact, I am at one right now working on my Squidoo lens! :)

    • MJSchrader profile image

      MJSchrader 6 years ago

      Wow My friend goes there all the time to work! Now I see why. Just wish there was one closer to where I live so I could experience it.

    • Zen Automat profile image

      Zen Automat 6 years ago

      Panera is great, good coffee, bread and free WiFi... I could almost live there..

    • profile image

      KDimmick 6 years ago

      Never heard of frozen lemonade - that looks good!

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 6 years ago

      I saw a Panera restaurant recently, but haven't tried it yet. From your photos, I can see that it's my kind of place. Thanks for the review!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      The breads look fresh and delicious, I can inhale the aroma from the pictures.

    • DallasNicole LM profile image

      DallasNicole LM 6 years ago

      This is great. I also love Panera... I am in love with their new Chili Recipe! Its delicious. Great lens.

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 6 years ago

      Great review of one of my favorite restaurants! I like their soups best, but with their fabulous bread. I often stop on snowy days and get a bowl of soup to take home. Lovely photos!

    • Adriana Daniela profile image

      Adriana 6 years ago from New Market

      Panera Bread is one of my favorite places to go. I absolutely love the Frontega Chicken Sandwich! YUM!

    • jasminesphotogr profile image

      jasminesphotogr 6 years ago

      I love Panera. In fact, I think I'm going to get a You Pick Two chicken Caesar salad and broccoli cheddar soup for lunch.

    • Joycevoice profile image

      Joycevoice 6 years ago

      Panera Bread is fantastic. It was voted one of the healthiest fast food places around. I didn't realize that they had a cookbook. Thanks for sharing this information.

    • profile image

      WriterBuzz 6 years ago

      This is a great lens. Thanks for making it. Very informative. I gave you a thumbs up

      cause I like your lens.

    • profile image

      jbarnhart41 6 years ago

      Any place that will give me sourdough bread is a great place in my book. They did refuse to heat up my sandwich one day but I'll let that slide. Overall, they are a great place to eat.

    • profile image

      Joan4 7 years ago

      That Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich looks good. I think I will have to give Panera Bread another try.

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 7 years ago from New Zealand

      Panera Bread looks great. I would have a tough time deciding between the delicious looking salad and a sandwich made on fresh bread.

    • GramaBarb profile image

      GramaBarb 7 years ago from Vancouver

      Thanks for introducing me to Panera Bread! Everything looks sooo good!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      where can you buy Panera Bread Poppy Seed dressing? Can one order it online?

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I love Panera bread...I also like the fact that you can buy their breads...I recreated the tomato & mozarella panini using their ciabatta bread...the whole loaf of ciabatta was $2.27 or something like that, WHAT A DEAL! The panini tasted just like the one they make in the cafe :) Great place, great food, great atmosphere. I also love their rewards program as well.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Panera Bread looks and sounds wonderful. Now, I will have to fix myself some lunch because I just got very hungry. I love this lens, you did a great job creating it!

      Susie

    • Louis Wery profile image

      Louis Wery 7 years ago from Sarasota, Florida USA

      I love Panera Bread. I've tried several locations in Florida. Your photos make me want to stop by Panera soon!

    • Kiwisoutback profile image

      Kiwisoutback 7 years ago from Massachusetts

      Panera Bread has grown pretty quickly in New England, they're everywhere. They're also consistently good - but also have pretty long lines. Their paninis always make for a good lunch. Nice work!

    • Tiddledeewinks LM profile image

      Tiddledeewinks LM 8 years ago

      Don't know if they have one in my area. I'd love to take my kids. I'll look it up. Thanks for the review (now I'm hungry).

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 8 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      I haven't eaten at a Panera Bread in awhile and actually had forgotten about how good it is so thank you for the heads up.

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 8 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      I love Panera bread...only here in St. Louis it's called St. Louis Bread Company. The Strawberry Poppyseed Salad is my favorite. They have great chicken salad too and there soup bread bowls are fantastic! Great review...I'm featuring it on my Wine Country Gardens restaurant review lens.

    • profile image

      bdkz 8 years ago

      I LOVE Panera!

    • LakeMom profile image

      LakeMom 8 years ago

      I love Panera also! I love their Asiago Bread/Bagels! I also love that they give back to the community! Great restaurant!

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 8 years ago from USA

      sounds delicious!

    • CherylsArt profile image

      Cheryl Paton 8 years ago from West Virginia

      We have a Panera Bread near us and enjoy it too. : )

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Nicely done!

    • ajgodinho profile image

      Anthony Godinho 8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Hi, this is a nice and honest review of Panera Bread. I've visited the place in Mississauga, ON and I liked the sandwich and soup I had (can't remember which one though). I think north of the border they stay opened a little later ; )

      Oh yeah and I like their free wi-fi hot spots too!

      Great review!