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Corner Bakery or Panera?

Of course these two places are the competitors of one another, but which is better? I have both almost within walking distance of my place in Orange County and frequent both a lot for lunch. Some things I have noticed is that Panera is more expensive. I have ordered a Tomato Basil soup Bread Bowl from CB and its HUGE. However, go to Panera and order a similar and its a lot smaller and costs about a dollar more.

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  1. I only Paneras nearby and have eaten at CB once. I found both to be similar but CB has a larger menu. I have seen that Panera is expanding theirs. All in all they are a nice change from fast food.

    1. Personally I tried the Panera in Marina Del Rey a few times and found the "pizza" tasty but the service utterly horrific. I guess that depends on the franchise.

      But I like CB's salads, personally.

      1. I used to live in Chicago and ate lunch at Corner Bakery often. LOVED it for the variety and (perceived?) freshness. I moved to Columbus, OH where they have Panera but no CB. While I like Panera occasionally it doesn't hold a candle to CB. Oh Great....now I'm craving the CB chicken salad. ;-)

        1 Reply
        1. re: HungryLetsEat

          Hungry, I too lived in the Chicago area for almost 20 years and LOVED CB. I live near a Panera here in Bexley and while they are OK for lunch (better than Mickey D's!), I crave the great deli and other terific food from Chicago.

        2. Ive eaten both prety regularly, and personally, I just think the food tastes better at CB. Their soups are much better and their sandwiches totally blow Panera's out of the water. I do love Panera's lemonade, though.

          1. Oooh good question!

            My opinion has definitely changed over the years but I think I'm going to have to go with Panera. Corner Bakery skimmed their menu down a bit a few years ago and I haven't liked it as much since.

            At Panera, I like the Asian Sesame Chicken Salad with a bowl of Broccoli Cheddar Soup. At Corner Bakery, I always just get the cavatappi pasta with marinara sauce - so it's nothing notable.


            1. Just a note of clarification for those of you in St. Louis: When these folks speak of "Panera," that's the not-in-St.-Louis name for the chain YOU call "St. Louis Bread Company." My daughter, who graduated from Wash.U and continued to live in St. L for 3 years after that, loved BreadCo -- but now that she's living here in southern CA again, she prefers Corner Bakery over Panera.

              1 Reply
              1. re: ozhead

                I knew that, but we don't have a Corner Bakery in STL. One of the reasons that I like BreadCo/Panera is that if you'd like to try something- you can ask them to cut one up for sampling and if they aren't too busy, they will. They'll mix up a drink, give you a little sample of a soup, make a sandwich, let you taste a dressing, cheese, meat, etc. We were there the other day when our kids went back to school and wanted to try a new pastry (Strawberry citrus.... don't bother, IMO) They cut one up for us to sample at no charge.

              2. Depends if you are looking for more brunchy fod or an all-around menu. Panera definitely has bigger menu...

                1. We looked up the nutritional values for some of our favorite Panera salads and soups and were a little shocked. We haven't put CB under the same scrutiny and probably won't (so as not to spoil it). Everything at CB tastes better to me and the smaller menu makes it easier for me to order (since I like everything they offer). I also perceive fresher food there. I get the feeling that the soups at Panera are mass-produced and delivered.