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Panera Bread ... any good?

Panera Bread is a newcomer to the neighborhood and I was wondering if they're worthy of a visit. Does anyone have a Panera Bread location nearby and have any recommendations?

Link: http://www.panera.com/

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    1. Panera is to bread what Starbucks is to coffee. Opinions depend on how strongly one obsesses about bread, or coffee. I am not a Pantera fan, at all.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Professor Salt

        I'm not a pantera fan either, except their song "cemetary gates," it rocked.

        1. re: amkirkland

          ha-ha-ha just too funny - really not sure why I am so amused!

            1. re: amkirkland

              OMG I'm so going to get in trouble for laughing so much @ work.

          1. The original comment has been removed
            1. It's the kind of place that people feel the need to compare to an artisanal bakery, but they lose sight of the benefits. The bread isn't the absolute best, but it's far better than good grocery store bakeries. Few places can put so many pieces together. Good bakeries don't necessarily make good sandwiches. good coffee shops don't necessarily have good pastries. No, not everything is incredible or healthy, but they have very good food, for a reasonable price, fast. Add to that good coffee, wi-fi and friendly service in my experience.

              1. Not a huge fan. It hurts to say that, since the chain began as a STL homespun business but it's really gone downhill.

                I hate what passes for french onion soup: salty, oleaginous slop with boxed croutons and cheap shaved parmesan on top. For pete's sake, even Applesleaze can do a reasonably edible FOS.

                Their salads are much worse than they used to be.

                Bagels: I'm not a NYer, so they are fine for me; in fact, that's all I'll get there these days.

                Sandwiches: I don't eat hunks of meat, so I can't attest to most of the offerings. However, their vegetarian sandwiches are really insubstantial. Even Subway is better for sandiwches, though Panera wins on the bread side of things.

                Bread in general: meh, not so bad, I guess. But local bakeries definitely produce better.

                Again, it pains me to say these things. I want to love Panera but I just can't anymore.

                3 Replies
                1. re: IndyGirl

                  I've had french onion soup at Appleby's & it was just about inedible. Blehhh.

                  1. re: flourgirl

                    I know, that's my point. I despise Applesleaze! But even it was better than what I got at panera last time. Very unfortunately.

                  2. re: IndyGirl

                    I loved Panera when it first opened up in S. CA and I'd go miles out of my way for lunch or dinner. Then they opened one near my home in northern San Diego County. Boy, was I excited when the constructions signs went up. I was ther on opening day last fall. But over the past 6 months the place has really deteriorated. The salads use dried apples (even though they provide real apples for a side), the lettuce is often brown at the edges, and the tables are often dirty and unbussed. I had bought some stock in the company and tried calling them to report the problems, but there was no way to talk to anyone via the web and they never answered the form I filled out and sent in. Since then I've sold the stock and no longer go there. Very disappointing and goind downhill fast.