Panera Bread
6300 Georgetown Boulevard
Eldersburg, MD 21784
Phone: (410) 552-4137
Fax: (410) 552-4139

panera-001Alicia McCarty
August 8, 2008

Everyone loves bread, or at least should after trying a fresh baguette from Panera. Made fresh everyday, their bread, bagels, and sandwiches are hard to surpass.

Although rather crowded come lunch time, the wait was not very long. The employee who took our order was friendly and attentive. Quickly rattling off what we wanted, we wondered if our order would be correct. Sure enough, it was. No mistakes.

We opted for the “pick two” option costing $7.50 with half an asiago roast beef sandwich and a tomato and mozzarella salad. We also ordered a bowl of the new summer corn chowder soup for $3.30, a toasted everything bagel with plain cream cheese for $2.30, a $3.60 frozen caramel coffee drink and a $3.30 parfait.

panera-002In less than five minutes our order number was called and we took a seat at one of the booths. My guest pulled out his laptop and within seconds was connected to the free wireless internet provided by Panera, which left us entertained while we ate.

The salad is a new addition to the Panera menu, made up of nothing but diced tomato and mozzarella chucks, a few onions, and dressing. Served with two small pieces of bread handy for soaking up the flavorful juices, the salad was a delicious departure from everyday greens.

panera-003Next we tried the sandwich, and were less than impressed. Although the asiago bread was good, the rest of the sandwich was sub-par, and nothing that couldn’t be made at home. It was however very filling.

With its unique blend of spices the everything bagel is a Panera must-have. Baked fresh everyday, the everything bagel is the perfect addition to any meal or the perfect snack. The cream cheese was also good, served cool and creamy.

The soup was filled with various spices, and went perfectly with the fresh baguette with which it was served. The parfait was a nice addition to the meal, as was the apple that came as a side with the sandwich and salad.

panera-005While finishing up the frozen caramel coffee, we decided to try some dessert to top off our meals. We got a shortbread cookie, which was rather dry but went perfect with the coffee drink, and a pastry, topped with lemon and cherries that was very satisfying. The total for the two desserts was about $3.

Although the fresh food is a definite draw to the restaurant, the atmosphere is the biggest marketing ploy. The inside has a somewhat modern feel to it, housing many different seating arrangements including booths, bars, and tables. They even have a small fireplace and outdoor patio.

Despite being a bit pricy, the warm, inviting atmosphere, coupled with modern design, soft music, and a large menu, makes for an enjoyable visit every time.

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