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Eh. Panera Bread. - moved from New England board

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What are your thoughts on this place?

I went in a few years ago and wasn't impressed. Hey, for a bakery and pastry place they didn't even have "chocolate chip muffins" they have these goofy "muffies" or "muffin tops. LOL.

Someone dragged me in there a few weeks ago and I tried 2 soups and thougth they were really good. Not amazing but decent. Not exactly worth 4.49 each either..But it was good. It was around 7pm too and it seemed freshly made.

Anyway, its cold and I was in the mood for soup so I stopped in a different Panera Bread at another location. Yuck. The same soup and this place must've had leftovers that were reheated and sitting out for days. The noodles were mushy and gross like they get when sitting around for so long. I went around 11am when it should have been fresh you would think. Yuck.

Bagels are mediocore. The Cinamon Crunch is really cinamon-y though. You don't see that anymore with bagels. But it was soggy and the shape was all scrunched.

Maybe it's just this particular location that sucked. (Route 2, Warwick RI) Although you couldn't tell by all the cars in and out of that place.

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  1. I just got soup and a sandwich there last week, the East Greenwich location. I hate to say it but I thought it was a bit fast foody. Soup was very salty, sandwich oily. I thought it would be fresh and maybe like homemade, eh.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Alica

      I avoid the place because the food usually doesn't make up for the chaotic atmosphere and gridlock feeling of the layout. However, I was outnumbered the other day and had to go in for lunch with a couple of friends. It was a chilly day so I ordered the chicken soup. It was almost inedibly salty and the noodles so mushy I was sure it was from a can. The salad was OK but not worth the trouble.

      1. re: Alica

        This is absolutely a fast food place in my book, just like Quizno's or Subway. I've only had their food once and it was at a corporate meeting where they brought in Panera sandwiches. The sandwiches were fine (ham and cheese, chicken salad); although the chicken salad was runny with so much mayo. Pickles, potato chips. Definitely not a place I need to make a visit to anytime soon since its just not the kind of food I eat these days.

        1. re: Alica

          For what it's worth, I regularly hit up three different Panera: West Leb, NH, Keene, NH, and East Greenwich, RI.

          None are stellar, but the first two are noticeably better in food quality and management than the East Greenwich one. I get sloppier salads and sandwiches there, stale bread, and long, long waits.

          Panera is "high end fast food". As long as that's your expectation, it's generally not too bad if you go to a well-managed location.

          1. re: Alica

            lol..that was the FIRST one I ever went in. I was disappointed that they didn't have "normal" bagels you'd find anywhere else. No Cinnamon Raisin and to make it worse they were out of the Cinnamon Crunch so I didn't try it until my recent visit.

          2. I had a bowl of brocolli cheese soup at a Panera in Bowie near DC last weekend and it was delicious. It was served with a baguette that was warm and crusty and perfect. My husband said his chicken caesar sandwich was good too. We shared a brownie that was just okay. We brought home a loaf of their bread and loved it for toast.
            The place was packed. We were not familiar with the area and it was nice to find a familiar place for lunch on our route.

            1. I think that they can be hit or miss,, Agree w/ Bri,, They are fast food but really struggle on a consistence products store to store,, On the soups make sure they have at least more than half or more in the insert or its been sitting for a while...Sandwiches can be decent,,Tomatoe pesto was nice for me @Marlboro Mass store The bread is the winner by far

              1. Tried it once. Salty, gummy chicken soup and an incredibly dry and bland turkey sandwich. For a place that's supposed to have great bread, it was pretty flavorless.

                1. I keep trying it hoping to like it but there's just very little that I like there. I got a bowl of soup and the children's peanut butter sandwich recently. The soup was not just overly salty, but so overseasoned I couldn't even eat it, it was awful (it was a tomato soup). The whole sandwich had, I'm not kidding, maybe one TEASPOON of p butter on it, spread across the bread. You could barely even detect that there was something on it, it was awful.