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Panera for lunch -- NEVER AGAIN!

Saturday I was in a hurry, so against my better judgment I hit Panera at the Leesburg Corner (VA) Factory Outlets for lunch. I tried the new Napa Chicken Salad Sandwich. The Napa Chicken Salad has almonds and sounded good.

For $6.89 I got a puny sandwich and a small bag of chips. The chicken salad was fine, but the value was utterly lacking.

Once again, Panera promises more than it delivers. They must want you to be so hungry that you'll buy a pastry.

BTW, this Panera is part of a "murderer's row" that also includes Bob Evans and TGIFridays. If there are three worse choices for non-breakfast, I'd like to see them.

And for those who might find themselves at the outlets, the food court in the outlets is even worse. Try the Blue Ridge Grill, which is just a few minutes away.

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  1. Bob - while I greatly respect your opinions, and by no means am I a fan of Panera, but you cant walk out of Burger King or McDonalds for less than $7 and Im guessing the food quality at Panera is much higher.

    A dollar just doesnt go as far as it used to

    3 Replies
    1. re: joe777cool

      In my experience, good food quality at Panera is a thing of the past.

      1. re: joe777cool

        Joe -- I was more miffed with the quantity than the quality. The sandwich was just too skimpy.

        For half the price I could have had two McDoubles, and a Value Fries at McD's and been at least as satisfied.

      2. thanks for the heads up on blue ridge grill. since i looked it up, i thought others might like to see the place's site: http://www.brgrill.com/index.html

        bob, what are the prices like -- say, for a burger at lunch?

        1 Reply
        1. re: alkapal

          alka -- for a good lunch, burger or salad, say, roughly $8-12. The burgers are very good -- I usually get the royale with cheese (Pulp Piction fans take note) but my favorite item is the Brentwood Salad, which comes with several sizeable chunks of lightly fried chicken.

        2. I used to like going to the Panera in Williamsburg. This was last year. They had a good deal on half a big sandwich, plus soup and chips or fruit. Do they still do deals like that? Never had anything I didn't like there. Have also tried Panera in California, Illinois and Washington State. The free wi-fi is a bonus.

          1. It's a fast food joint. It's only a bad value if there's a better deal nearby, otherwise it's no worse than any other option.

            5 Replies
            1. re: ferret

              I've only been to Panera once and that was about 3 years ago. I didn't like it then and couldn't understand what all the hype was about. Glad I haven't been back.

              1. re: jesoda

                I've never eaten at a Bob Evans.

                -cb-

                1. re: jesoda

                  i ate at a panera a few years ago. it was awful. it was 10 mintues before closing so i guess they just gave me cold sandwiches. i think they were ice cold too.

                  btw to people saying you cant eat at mcdonalds or wendys for cheap..yo ucan get 3 double cheeseburgers and a frosty for 4 dollars. if youre feeling like more desert get 3 more cookies for a total of 5dollars and twenty five cent.

                  1. re: RCTRIPLEFRESH5

                    I will do that! Three double cheeseburgers and a frosty then three cookies for $5.25! What a deal!

              2. Panera is ok for what it is - sandwiches on various breads, some of which are reasonably tasty for fast food. I do not eat there frequently, but there are times I do not want the grease of burger & fries when I am looking for a quick bite on the run. My kids are fans of the big chocolate chip cookies, although that is not much of an endorsement, since they are fans of just about any cookies.