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Wildflower Bread Company?

amkirkland Jan 11, 2007 07:23 PM

What are your thoughts? I've been meaning to try it out. Sandwich places can really bite for the amount of money they cost. How does it compare with Panera Bread, News Cafe, Atlanta Bread or Paradise Bakery?

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  1. m
    Minx RE: amkirkland Jan 11, 2007 07:59 PM

    I eat there once a week at least..

    They have great salads, good soups (at least 4 varieties daily) and sandwiches. They also have some pasta dishes.

    Cost usually runs me about $10 including an iced tea.

    I prefer Wildflower to Paradise Bakery because I like the salads better..

    1. z
      ziggylu RE: amkirkland Jan 11, 2007 08:06 PM

      Before I took this job I used to have lunch at the Tempe one a lot(before my Trader Joe's shopping trips...helped keep the TJ's bill down if I'd had a good lunch first).

      I always get the same thing..Pick Two with soup and either the Caesar or Wildflower salad. I really like the soups. Some of my favorites are the Mushroom, the Pumpkin, the Aspargus, adn the Green Chili corn.

      The sandwiches don't do a lot for me but I'm more apt to order soup than sandwich to begin with so I may not be the best judge.

      Every once in a while we'll go on a Sat morning for breakfast. The lemon ricotta pancakes are pretty good.

      Of these types of places this is my favorite.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ziggylu
        d
        dustchick RE: ziggylu Jan 12, 2007 12:04 AM

        I also like the pancakes - the buttermilk, lemon ricotta, and banana pancakes are all good.

      2. Seth Chadwick RE: amkirkland Jan 11, 2007 08:07 PM

        I have eaten several meals at the one that recently opened at 44th Street and Indian School Road in Phoenix (review soonly).

        A few impressions:

        The breads are quite good and it has a great variety. They also have a wide range of meal options: sandwiches (both hot and cold), salads, soups (at least four to choose from a day), pasta, and breakfasts.

        I know the name is "bread company" but they go overboard with their use of it in their meals. If you order a sandwich and a cup of soup, you will get two hunks of bread with the soup, thick cut bread on your sandwich and a bread salad as a side dish. Zoiks!

        I have no complaints about the quality or freshness, and I do think they have a great selection no all levels (if you can't find something you like...). The kitchen can be very slow at peak times.

        Overall, a decent experience, and better than Panera or Paradise.

        1. Grey RE: amkirkland Jan 11, 2007 09:30 PM

          I agree with those sentiments--better than Panera/ Paradise Bakery. I'll also throw in Atlanta Bread Co. and Arizona Bread Co., too, for good measure (for the most part). From my own experiences, I do find Wildflower is more consistent overall.

          But yes, good sandwiches and great salads. Soup offerings are also always noticeably fresh tasting and flavorful.

          1. themis RE: amkirkland Jan 12, 2007 12:39 AM

            No love for the pasta?

            I will cop to -- sometimes there are those evenings you worked a ten hour day on top of a hellish commute and the thought of fast food is just nauseating and neither do you have any druthers to go out and chance a shite meal. You want to get home and make something mindless yet satisfying and you don't want a sodium coma and you don't want junk. Those evenings, I pick up a tub of their marinara and meatballs, and put a dollar in the kitty by the door and select a fresh rustic baguette, crusty and toothsome. I go home and slather that bad boy with some garlic butter and put it in the oven and boil some pasta. Dinner in fifteen and more than just adequate; darn tasty and comforting.

            Leftovers for lunch!

            (I make my own pasta sauces nine times of ten. I'm talking about when you're really exhausted.)

            1. b
              Baxterita RE: amkirkland Jan 12, 2007 10:00 PM

              I think I read somewhere that the guy who started Wildflower actually came from Panera? I've eaten at both and I think they're pretty similar, but Wildflower tends to be a little bit more sit-down. Fresh produce, meat, high quality everything. Potato cream cheese soup is on the menu everyday and it's addictive. Wonderful pastries as well. I've tried prob. 80% of their menu, incl. b'fast, and I think it's a good value. I prob. eat there 2-4x a month.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Baxterita
                amkirkland RE: Baxterita Jan 12, 2007 10:21 PM

                Wildflower is definitely based here, and Panera is definitely based in St. Louis. In fact in St. Louis, they're known as St. Louis Bread Company. Something strange could be going on, but I think you got duped.

              2. c
                crsin RE: amkirkland Jun 28, 2007 08:35 PM

                Thought I would reply to this old post in case anyone (like myself) does a search.

                I've been going to the Wildflower Scottsdale location on the 101 and FLW (possibly their original?) since they opened, and it's always been a favorite. I'm partial to their great sandwiches, although some of their salads are quite tasty, but I think are slightly more of an acquired taste for some compared to places such as Paradise Bakery (Wildflower tends to have slightly more interesting combinations and ingredient e.g., the use of lavendar which provides a pretty strong albeit delicious flavor to the Wildflower salad). The Oriental Chicken is by far my favorite of their salad offerings that I've tried, and undoubtedly one of the best oriental chicken salads I've had.

                The sandwiches are always really good, a few of my favorites being the Chicken Continenal, Pesto and feta, roast beef/gorgenzola, mixed grill (although not my most frequent), and the Sweet Potato (slices of sweet potatoes, mozarella, a fig jelly/compote, balsamic, sauteed lentil, tomato, arugula on thick/generous cuts of focaccia--really interesting and tasty,although you'de obviously need to be a fan of the ingredients).

                A few of the more standard sandwiches I've never tried (chicken salad, etc.), although I've heard those are all done very well. A few never appeal to me and I stear clear of (chicken parm, etc.), but everything is always fresh, and I think a good value (sandwiches and salads usually around $6, all of pretty good portions). I also love the bread salad (often my favorite part of the meal), although I know quite a few people, including some on this board, aren't fans.

                of the above listed sandwich places that I've tried, Wildflower >>>Paradise Bakery >> Atlanta

                and an interesting aside: a friend of mine has worked at wildflower for quite some time and still eats it pretty often--a testament to enjoyability of their products as well as the cleanliness/freshness of the place (I worked at a popular fine dining restaurant in Scottsdale for about a year and really almost never had much of a desire to actually sit down and eat there).

                1. j
                  jewel4352 RE: amkirkland Jun 29, 2007 11:40 AM

                  I go to the Litchfield Park location at least once a week, sometimes two or three times. They have great salads and soups. I haven't tried many of the sandwiches, but they all look delicious. I agree that the bread theme can be overkill sometimes, but the bread for the most part is quite good.

                  I am not a fan of the bread salad, but I have a friend who LOVES it. I think it has too much vinegar taste and the bread is mushy. I prefer a bread salad that is less soggy.

                  My favorite salad is the Emerald Spinach salad. There is so much flavor in the salad itself, I often do not need any dressing. (I always order my salads with dressing on the side.) That salad features bacon, bleu cheese crumbles, orange sections, strawberrries, grapes and spinach. It's a great combination of sweet and savory. I also agree with a previous poster about the Oriental Chicken Salad...truly great. Also the hummus salad is a good choice, too.

                  I haven't had a soup there that I didn't like, although I wish their split pea with ham was thicker in texture. On Tuesday I had the Chicken Coconut Curry soup and it was pretty good. I also like the mushroom soup, asparagus soup, green chile corn, french onion and many others.

                  I have also tried several of their pasta dishes and for the price they are ok. Sometimes the pasta is a bit over al dente for my taste, but the sauces are pretty tasty. The Butternut Squash Ravioli is quite good, if you like the sweet/savory comination.

                  I've also visited for breakfast and I really enjoy the roasted vegetable fritata. I'm not a huge fan of the breakfast sandwiches because the ciabatta is sometimes too tough to bite through and your sandwich ends up falling apart or you play tug-of-war with it...not fun. The pancakes are pretty good, too.

                  The coffee is pretty good and the iced tea is really terrific.

                  I have been disappointed with the pastries and desserts. Sometimes they are dry or too sweet, especially the cakes and cupcakes. I would recommend a plain croissant or chocolate croissant, though. But the lemon bar was weird, brownie was dry. The cookies have been fine.

                  Also, this is a great place for vegetarians and vegans, with many options.

                  It's true that you can get a pretty good meal there for about $10.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: jewel4352
                    h
                    hollyeve RE: jewel4352 Jun 29, 2007 08:03 PM

                    Apparently I am the only one who can't stand Wildflower =P It just seems dirty to me, and the food isn't that good. I also do not like Paradise, because they never seem to make my sandwich right. What is so hard about no mayo?? And those greasy chocolate chip cookies just disgust me. I am a huge fan of Panera. Love the soups, sandwiches, and pastries, salads not so much. I was told by a Panera exec that they purchased Paradise, but they will continue to opperate independently. So, no Panera in PHX for the forseeable future. I should disclose that I am a St.Louis native, so I might be a little biased!!

                    1. re: hollyeve
                      j
                      jewel4352 RE: hollyeve Jun 30, 2007 09:40 AM

                      Certinaly not everyone is going to like the same places...that would be boring!

                      Anyway, I agree that Paradise is no good. They can't make a "special" request to save their lives...How about no mustard on a sandwich? Also, their cookies are too sweet and too greasy. Because of a rather negative incident at Paradise in Avondale, my husband and I have boycotted the entire chain. Never again will we eat at Paradise Bakery!

                    2. re: jewel4352
                      c
                      crsin RE: jewel4352 Jun 30, 2007 01:34 AM

                      Never tried the Emerald salad, but I've heard good things (never been big on strawberries in salad). I also don't usually go for the soups, although their french onion is quite tasty, as is their cream cheese/potato.

                      I agree with the pasta. From what I've tried, they are good, and I really enjoy the butternut squash pasta (really nice, warm flavors), although I almost exclusively go for the sandwiches/salads.

                      I think that their baked items are a bit hit-or-miss. They have phenomenal carrot cake, and many of their cookies are really delicious (a favorite being the chocolate almond, which is always nicely baked, being both crisy and very soft, with a good, heavy almond flavor). However, recently tried the lemon bar which was really not very good, and certainly not what a lemon bar should be (I think it was overcooked, so had the same consistency asd the crust throughout, wasn't very lemony).

                      Agree that the breakfast is always tasty, and provides a nice, quick outlet for a casual breakfast.

                      To hollyeve: I've never experienced anything but ideal clenliness at the Scottsdale location. It's always very well kept, has a very comftorable, casual cafe/bakery atmosphere, and is always spotless (which is impressive considering the amount of traffic experienced around a given lunch rush). However, different locations will obviously be run differently, and perhaps the bussers or runners that work at the location you've gone to (there's usually only one or two at most) were overwhelmed or just slacked a bit on that date.

                      As a side note, can someone tell me where Panera is located? No AZ listings are given on their website. Thanks.

                      1. re: crsin
                        johnseberg RE: crsin Jun 30, 2007 08:33 AM

                        I've never seen a Panera in AZ. The website is probably correct.

                        1. re: johnseberg
                          ciaogal RE: johnseberg Jun 30, 2007 08:48 AM

                          I thought I saw a Panera @ the Corner of Mayo Blvd and Scottsdale Rd....now it appears to be gone....
                          When I google it the address comes up as : 7000 E Mayo Blvd.....but I don't think it exists......Did it ever?

                          1. re: johnseberg
                            silverbear RE: johnseberg Jun 30, 2007 09:27 AM

                            I've shopped at a Panera in Prescott, but it's been a while. Now, I can't find it via Google Maps. I wonder if something happened to the Arizona stores.

                            1. re: silverbear
                              c
                              crsin RE: silverbear Jun 30, 2007 11:01 AM

                              Okay, I was under the impression that there was a Panera in AZ, as I've seen conversations in several threads regarding lunch places (topic originally starts out in AZ, at least) in which posters mention the place on its own or in comparisson. I guess that doesn't necessary mean there has to be one in the state, but I just assumed. It also seemed kind of strange to me that they would own over half of Paradise without having any of their original restaurants in the area (but this may be common practice, I don't know...). But thanks for the heads-up.

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