Let’s review Panera Bread!
Panera Bread is a fast-casual chain that serves as a bakery/cafe. Panera offers a wide array of pastries and baked goods, such as bagels, brownies, cookies, croissants, muffins, and scones. On top of the pastries, they serve artisan breads, soups, sandwiches and an assortment of coffee, espresso, drinks, smoothies, etc.
Founded in 1987 in Kirkwood, MO, there are now over 2,000 locations in the United States and Canada. Six can be found here in the Wichita area with half of them in east Wichita. For the purposes of this review we stopped by their South Ridge Road location.
Panera Bread is one of the kids favorite restaurants. So it’s a common stop on our rotation of “What do you kids want to eat today” list.
On the most recent visit, we ordered a full turkey sandwich on white bread, their chicken tortilla soup, the Baja mac & cheese and a cinnamon crunch bagel.
I feel it’s a crime to not get a bagel at Panera. The cinnamon crunch bagel is probably my favorite of the bagels found there. It’s a freshly baked bagel made with cinnamon and vanilla flavored chips to flavor the dough and topped with a sweet, crunchy shell of cinnamon and sugar. The crunchy shell gives it an added texture along with a blast of flavors to liven up the bagel. I’m not much of a bagel eater but when I do, it has to be something different from a normal regular bagel.
The full turkey sandwich is always ordered on every visit to Panera. While I’ve never had it, one of the kids believes its necessary for her survival. We probably get it twice a month. Meanwhile, the chicken tortilla soup was a little bland as far as that type of soup goes. It just felt watered down with not much to it.
Mac and cheese lovers ought to try the Baja mac & cheese. It includes a blend of cheese like their Vermont white cheddar cheese sauce, topped with salsa verde, tomatoes, avocado, and cilantro. It’s a very good creamy mix that offers a tangy aftertaste.
While the staff there has always been very friendly, one of the key issues we have is the drive thru. Countless times we have ordered sandwiches and the order was wrong even after repeating it through the PA speaker. It’s to the point we have to open up our bags upon receiving them to confirm the order is right which we necessarily shouldn’t have to do on every trip. This has happened probably 3 out of our last 7 trips….. highly annoying.
And aside from the soup, most of the food there is good. It’s not amazing but it’s certainly good and satisfying. With that, there are so many other sandwich shops around town and comparatively speaking Panera Bread is on the pricier side of the spectrum. For some perspective, the bagel, a small soup, a simple sandwich and the small mac and cheese was roughly $25. Price is a very subjective topic but from someone who does eat out a lot, I found it to be a little amount of food for what we paid. But then again, others may see it differently.
For me I’m pretty indifferent on Panera Bread. It’s not exactly my cup of tea but for others in the family it is and with that I’ll tag along out of convenience.
To nominate your restaurant or event to be considered for a review, please email us with your restaurant information. We are always open to suggestions.
Want to help support the continuing content of Wichita By E.B.?