Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Panera Bread (Forest Park, OH)

It took me a couple of years to finally visit Panera Bread.  I didn’t really have any reservations about it, so it wasn’t that I was avoiding the place.  For the uninitiated, I’d say it’s a quality place, which bridges the gap between fast food and quality dining.  The clientele tends to be more upscale, but the atmosphere is generally casual inside.  I think the interior design is structured to accommodate comfortable conversation.

In terms of food, they’re most well known for sandwiches, soups, and salads.  They have a combo where you can choose any two of the aforementioned items, which is very popular, especially during lunch for people on the move.  They’ve also got a bakery, too.  Filled with dozens of delectable desserts, ranging from scones to cookies and beyond, there’s sure to be something for anyone with a sweet tooth.  Lastly, besides the regular soda fountain, you can purchase bottled beverages, including drinks from Jones Soda Co., and Panera Bread also offers a variety of fresh coffees daily.

Here we are enjoying our lunch together.  As far as salads go, they have a number of different choices, but by far my personal favorite is what Molly ordered here, the Asian salad with chicken, sesame seeds, almonds, and a delicious ginger based dressing.  As far as soups go, each and every day they serve at least six or seven varieties, and you can pick up a schedule if you’re so inclined.  I prefer the French onion, myself, although this day I had creamy potato soup.  They have dozens of different sandwiches, so surely you’ll find something that fits your personal tastes.  I’d recommend chicken or tuna salad, or roast beef as ideal picks.  This day I had a vegetarian sandwich that was kind of blasé.  Plus, you receive a piece of bread with each order!

In closing, I’d like to say I’m glad Molly introduced me to this place, and would recommend it wholeheartedly.  The prices aren’t bad, if you order wisely, and the food is almost always above average in terms of quantity and quality.  I’ve ate at least 5 different Panera Bread locations, and been satisfied with all of them.  Panera Bread offers a comfortable environment and a healthy alternative.  They provide free Wi-Fi Internet access inside, as well as local and national newspapers to customers.  If you visit one and would like to put a touch of RTW on your meal, throw some fresh lemons in your Pepsi!  Enjoy.

Overall Grade: B+ 

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