Panera Bread

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Sasaku
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2004/09/25 19:07:33 (permalink)

Panera Bread

Whats your opinion on the place?

I just ate there for the first time and I was dissapointed, I thought this chain would be a high quality deli style fast food place but instead it was very low class. The sandwichs they serve are so small and the bread isnt very good at all even though they seem to bake it. I had sourdough that was closer to white bread in flavor, no sour tangy goodness.
#1

39 Replies Related Threads

    Michael Hoffman
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    RE: Panera Bread 2004/09/25 20:19:06 (permalink)
    That's amazing. I've been buying bread at Panera for several years. The bread I get is very good. My favorite is the asiago cheese loaf -- the small version. I've never had a sandwich or soup there, but I've never run into anyone who was not pleased with what they ordered.
    #2
    Tony Bad
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    RE: Panera Bread 2004/09/25 22:00:43 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Sasaku

    Whats your opinion on the place?



    My parents have been eating there for a few years when they traveled to Florida and loved it. They just recently opened in NY and they went but were very disappointed. Another person I know said the same thing. I wonder if they are experiencing growing pains!
    #3
    Sasaku
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    RE: Panera Bread 2004/09/26 13:19:28 (permalink)
    Could be, bread I got was to airy and light, like the cheap white bread at supermarkets.
    #4
    Pwingsx
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    RE: Panera Bread 2004/09/26 13:54:42 (permalink)
    There were several of these here in northern Colorado, and we ate there quite often at lunch. I thought some of the breads were pretty good, and I'm not big on breads.

    But I thought their chicken and wild rice soup was fantastic.

    Unfortunately, due to mismanagement, they all shut down last winter.
    #5
    harriet1954
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    RE: Panera Bread 2004/09/26 18:20:14 (permalink)
    There is a Panera about 5 minutes from me in a very upscale shopping center. My daughter & I ate there a few times when it first opened, and thought it was the most wonderful, sophisticated little place. We loved the soup and half sandwich combo. Then we ate there a few times more and quickly got sick of a) the morons behind the counter and b) the sandwiches that are all bread and no filling with like one little thin piece of cheese. No wonder we were doing so well on Weight Watchers back then...we have a Great Harvest Bread Co. near us which is cheaper than Panera for fresh bread.
    #6
    forurlungsonly
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    RE: Panera Bread 2004/09/26 18:36:59 (permalink)
    I've eaten there twice and that was more than enough. I tried their supposedly awesome broccoli cheese soup, which tasted canned, and a few different panini sandwiches. Neither time were they actually hot enough to have melted the cheese, defeating the purpose of getting a panini. They try to be upscale but the food just was not good.
    #7
    Sundancer7
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    RE: Panera Bread 2004/09/26 18:47:32 (permalink)
    Panera has several locations in Knoxville and they seem to be better when they open early in the morning. I guess bread gets stale. The only thing I buy from them is their bagels and when I buy them early, they are always good.

    Here in Knoxville is not like being in NYC. What we got is what we got. To be truthful, I have never got anything bad in the sandwich way from Panera but neither have I ever got anything except bagels that were particularly exciting. Due to that, I cherry pick them and only buy what I know is good which is their bagels and I usually get their cream cheese flavored with whatever trips my trigger at the time.

    Regardless, nobody else in Knoxville knows how to make bagels anyway

    Paul E Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #8
    zataar
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    RE: Panera Bread 2004/09/26 23:25:56 (permalink)
    We are a family of people who have worked in the food world for a living for decades. My daughter worked for Panera while she was in high school and had only this to say: Be afraid, very afraid....
    #9
    TJ Jackson
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    RE: Panera Bread 2004/09/27 08:56:55 (permalink)
    The quality of the bagels when they first opened here in Cincinnati was excellent

    Since then, the quality has tailed off considerably, and the prices have risen considerably
    #10
    zataar
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    RE: Panera Bread 2004/09/27 09:24:22 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by zataar

    We are a family of people who have worked in the food world for a living for decades. My daughter worked for Panera while she was in high school and had only this to say: Be afraid, very afraid....

    The reason my daughter said to be afraid was NOT because of food safety or cleanliness. It was a very clean, well run location. It was because all of the food was frozen or canned, not very high quality and held at extremely high temperatures if hot and extremely low temperatures if cold, which can and does affect the quality of the food. If a soup is held very long at all above the recommended temperature, it's gonna die.
    #11
    brentk
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    RE: Panera Bread 2004/09/27 09:42:28 (permalink)
    Sundancer makes a very interesting point.

    While Panera may not be up to the standards of artisanal bakeries in metropolitan/cosmopolitan communities, in certain areas of the country it is a tremendous leap in sophistication.

    In Greenville, NC, which I visit from time to time, there just aren't any other places where you can buy the type of bread, pastries and sandwiches that Panera provides. For people in such locations, the chain does a nice job of filling a major market void.

    So while it is easy to cast stones at chains of any type, Panera would be at the top of my list of chain food places and, one of the few that I would frequent in communities where it is available.
    #12
    Route 11
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    RE: Panera Bread 2004/09/27 09:47:22 (permalink)
    I would rank Panera as ok. We're excited to get one in Charlottesville, but I doubt I'll be going much. I agree that they're overpriced. For what you pay the portions are pretty small.
    #13
    zataar
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    RE: Panera Bread 2004/09/27 09:51:03 (permalink)
    I totally agree with you Brent. But there are small ways that individual stores within a chain can raise the standards and still maintain the intent of the concept. Even though all of the units within a chain are serving the same food, there can be differences from location to location in quality and service.
    #14
    kland01s
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    RE: Panera Bread 2004/09/27 11:21:03 (permalink)
    When Panera opened in our area, we used to eat there maybe once every 2 weeks, usually while we were out shopping and it just happened to be next door. The food is good and basic but my biggest complaint is boredom, it's all the same, they never have anything new or a weekly "special". I prefer a place where I have some options as to what goes on my sammie as well as variety.
    #15
    Goose
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    RE: Panera Bread 2004/09/27 11:29:57 (permalink)
    I know I haven't been around here all that long, but haven't you guys had this very same discussion about every single chain in the USA?

    Chili's, Krispy Kreme, Panera, McDonalds, the list is endless. And every time it's the exact same discussion.

    Might it be time to give the chain talk a rest?
    #16
    chezkatie
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    RE: Panera Bread 2004/09/27 11:47:54 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Goose

    I know I haven't been around here all that long, but haven't you guys had this very same discussion about every single chain in the USA?

    Chili's, Krispy Kreme, Panera, McDonalds, the list is endless. And every time it's the exact same discussion.

    Might it be time to give the chain talk a rest?



    Hey! We have to talk about something.
    #17
    hawkeyejohn
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    RE: Panera Bread 2004/09/27 14:17:37 (permalink)
    The bread and soups and salads are good as is some of the pastries. The sandwiches are skimpy and the "bagels" are horrible.
    #18
    TJ Jackson
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    RE: Panera Bread 2004/09/27 14:25:05 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Goose

    Might it be time to give the chain talk a rest?
    Please check the following reviews posted on this site

    http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Overview.aspx?RefID=507
    http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Overview.aspx?RefID=564
    http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Overview.aspx?RefID=1501
    http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Writeup.aspx?ReviewID=416&RefID=416
    http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Overview.aspx?RefID=1647

    Tell me again how chain restaurants are offlimits here solely on the basis that they are chains?

    As an aside, I coulda sworn there was a entry for White Castle and one for Waffle House. Couldn't find them, tho. Must have been mistaken. I will say I generally don't hear comments like the one above when these two chains are discussed....
    #19
    Goose
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    RE: Panera Bread 2004/09/27 14:36:25 (permalink)
    Wow TJ, nice research.

    #20
    Danmel
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    RE: Panera Bread 2004/09/27 22:33:23 (permalink)
    I've eaten at Panera a few times but I think they soups are way too salty and processed tasting. The bread isn't that great (OK, I'm in the NY metro area, so I'm picky about bread.) But a lot of people seem to like it- probably the same folks who fill up Olive Gardens in the Italian restaurant capital of the Western Hemisphere.
    #21
    hungovergourmet
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    RE: Panera Bread 2004/09/28 00:03:45 (permalink)
    A client picked up sandwiches there one day and brought them to the office for a meeting. The turkey sandwich was okay, but I thought the roast beef on the cheese bread was worth going back for. Though I haven't gone back. So maybe that's saying something.
    #22
    lamertz
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    RE: Panera Bread 2004/09/28 12:36:56 (permalink)
    This place is fine if you are in the Boonies and this is the only sort of "upscale" or "gourmet" place available. What I think Pannera's is,is a McDonalds for grown-ups. Hey,isn't this place owned by McD's??? I'm not putting down the Chains (much) because they can be handy when you are in a hurry or with kids, but as a Roadfooder I will always travel a little further down the road for real food.
    #23
    redtressed
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    RE: Panera Bread 2004/09/28 13:19:07 (permalink)
    My first experience with Panera came on one of my many trips across the Ohio turnpike. at one of the Turnpike rest areas. I was pretty tickled with it at the time. It was a nice change from the usual BK/McD/PizzaHut/TacoBell/OscarMeyer offerings that such bear. I would always stop, also on the way home and grab some bagels and pastries. We now have Panera in the Morgantown area and I still like it. I agree that the soups are not the best, but I don't think they're the pits either and still a better alternative than soups at some other chain places. I enjoy their salads, especially the Oriental one. They also do a large catering business here and it usually beats the warmed over pastas and soggy Asian of other places oft used. Their baked goods and breads are not my Mama's calibre or a good bakery's but most often better than that of the groceries.
    #24
    meowzart
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    RE: Panera Bread 2004/09/28 15:05:31 (permalink)
    Chain talk is certainly not off limits, goose and TJ. But a good many people populate these boards because Roadfood's stated goals are about restaurants that are "non-franchised" and have food made by "culinary folk artists". So you will come across lots on these boards who will try to sway you from the chains and franchises. Just know this before you profess love of a chain, and be prepared for some pretty vociferous posts opposite your viewpoint. The chain/anti-chain talk on these boards will never go away, hopefully. I like the differing viewpoints.

    We are never all going to agree on a topic. As long as we disagree with each other nicely, that is the important thing.
    #25
    Tony Bad
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    RE: Panera Bread 2004/09/28 15:06:08 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Brent Kulman

    Sundancer makes a very interesting point.

    While Panera may not be up to the standards of artisanal bakeries in metropolitan/cosmopolitan communities, in certain areas of the country it is a tremendous leap in sophistication.

    ...

    So while it is easy to cast stones at chains of any type, Panera would be at the top of my list of chain food places and, one of the few that I would frequent in communities where it is available.


    I didn't mean for my comments to be a knock about Panera vs. other things available in the urban area in which I live. What I meant to say was that my folks thought enough of the food when they went while in Florida to go back when they came to NY, despite the fact there are many other options. Sadly, they indicated the quality of NY panera vs. Florida Panera was dramatically different.
    #26
    beerbattersausage
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    RE: Panera Bread 2006/06/27 19:07:15 (permalink)
    I worked for Panera for about a year, it is quite the operation. All bread is baked on site but all dough is made at a commissary, all soup is frozen, all bagels are frozen and just baked off. They have done a good job at covering up the real operation but, I wouldn't eat there!!!!
    #27
    shortchef
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    RE: Panera Bread 2006/06/28 17:07:31 (permalink)
    My family is crazy about Panera. The sandwiches are very disappointing and the soup is so-so; the only thing I have found to be really good is the Asiago bagel. And the only Panera where I found the good ones is in Frederick, MD where they really pile on the cheese. This place could be really good if they didn't skimp on their sandwich fillings.
    #28
    Sundancer7
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    RE: Panera Bread 2006/06/28 17:36:36 (permalink)
    The best thing about Panera is their bread when it is fresh and that goes for their sweet stuff also. All the rest is just average. I suppose that they have to have that to satisfy other needs.

    I do not go there often but when I do, it is early and their fresh bread or sweets is good with coffee.

    I think they try to do too much but I guess you have to if you have the real estate and pay rent on it 360 days a year.

    I truly enjoy their hot bagels with their various cream cheeses and a cup of their medium roast and cream.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #29
    WVHillbilly
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    RE: Panera Bread 2006/06/28 18:28:43 (permalink)
    Ate there once. Checked the place out thoroughly as everyone around town was raving about the place.
    To be kind, I'll say it was "very mediocre." Southern WV doesn't have a lot of great bakeries, so I guess "Panera" made an impression on some. The breads at Krogers are just as good if not better.
    #30
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