It was not an ordinary walk-in visit to Panera at its South Barrington Cafe, 100 W. Higgins Rd, South Barrington IL 60010.

Lunch hour was pretty busy as expected. Loyal customers trust Panera for hearty, nutritious, freshly-made and delicious foodbites everytime and Panera always delivers.

Marketing Director Eve Metheny greeted us at the door, then ushered us to a meeting room. Demo table was already set up and in an instant was covered with bowls of mouth-watering greens and fruits and dressing. We love Panera’s crusty french baguette, so yes Eve, show off that display board.

Spotlight #1 – Fresh Strawberry Poppy Seed Salad

A big bowl consists of shreds of romaine lettuce leaves, blueberries, slices of fresh and ripe strawberries, pineapple tidbits, mandarin orange slices. Add slices of nicely-grilled All-natural, antibiotic-free chicken and pecans. And for the salad dressing — reduced sugar, fat-free poppyseed dressing…FABULOUS! And this is served with freshly baked bageutte bread.

Spotlight #2 – French Baguette Bread

Panera’s Expert Baker (Manuel Figueroa) was in full uniform and ready to take us through the making of a French Baguette Bread that bread lovers just couldn’t get enough of. Real bread doughs were displayed, and my eyes right away focused on the small knife which is used to make gentle slashes on top of the risen bread dough. I don’t remember seeing a knife to do these slits; it was always a clean gilette razor blade.

Glenn took shots of the kitchen area — really huge commercial digital ovens are used to make sure only fresh breads are baked daily.

And from Panera’s website,

Everyone enjoys choices, especially when they’re fresh, fun and spontaneous. Right now at Panera Bread, there are plenty of tempting selections to captivate, tantalize and energize your bread-lover’s soul as we celebrate variety, choices and a hearty new soup.Our salads are hand-tossed and made to order using only the freshest ingredients, like vine-ripened tomatoes and crisp field greens. We pride ourselves on the unique flavor combinations of our salads.”

I always order Broccoli Cheddar soup in a bread bowl from Panera. The pairing of soup with visible broccoli bits and shredded carrots in a velvety smooth cheese sauce and freshly-baked bread is the perfect combination. And so happy to know that my favorite soup is available and served daily.

And you may not know this…

***Panera Bread® continue to sponsor special events to the neighborhood and participate in charitable events as well.

***Unsold bakery products are packaged at the end of each day and donated to local food banks and charities.

Panera, I’m coming back for more!




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