WIFI & Hot Bread With Friendship
Panera produces great tasting healthful food of the highest quality in a friendly and comfortable atmosphere. Bread is their passion and expertise. They bake it fresh every day using natural ingredients and have won national and local awards, especially for their sourdoughs.
They also seem to have ongoing relationships with their customers and the community, with people coming in that treat the place like an oasis to relax for "time out." It's the kind of bread palace that some use for informal meetings, or a gathering place for friends; sort of a lifestyle enhanced by bread! The place is large, with a patio, coffee machine, and yards of breads. It's like being on your own with friendly people to help you.
To show how bread can be an important part of lives, the owners educate through demonstrations, recipes, samplings and newsletters. They also sell shelf items such as jams, jellies, oils, and coffees.
In addition, many people come in for a bowl of soup, salad, or sandwich, or just the joy of being welcomed and play with the WIFI. The bakery is also charitable through their "Operation DoughNation" program. The owners, along with their highly skilled bakers, end each day by giving bread and baked goods to community organizations in need. The food is excellent, highlighted by free range chickens, whole grain breads, select organic and all-natural ingredients in a menu free of man-made trans fat. They also have a special children's menu featuring Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches; Organic American Cheese & choice of turkey breast, smoked ham or Roast Beef; and a choice of organic milk, chocolate milk, or apple juice.
The system is to give your order and pay at the front, ($7-$7.50) for either a cup of soup and 1/2 café salad or 1/2 of a sandwhich. Your order is delivered to the table. These are not ordinary sandwiches, and half is comparable to a double; mine was the greatest and most unforgettable. The ingredients were melted with Mozzarella cheese on "Focaccia" bread, and portobello mushrooms, caramelized onions also fresh chopped basil. I wasn't hungry at the time so the manager wrapped my sandwich to go. While I was driving on my way home, I took a small bite, and by the time I got home I finished it because I couldn't stop! I did the same thing with my cinnamon roll, just wasn't able to save it, (so delicious!).
There are Italian Combo sandwiches on Ciabatta, with Bacon Turkey and regular with Chicken Caesar, Tuna, Smoked ham & Swiss, Turkey Artichoke and the list is endless in combinations.
You can also get Fruit Smoothies, Espresso bar drinks, and a soup schedule for every day of the week. In addition you can have loads of baked goods, including breakfast items and bagels, plus every kind of bread, about 16 varieties.
There are many of these marvelous Panera bakeries in various locations where folks can feel at home at all times of the day. They are also the largest provider of free WIFI in the country, and one is welcome to stay as long as you like.
Besides finding freshly baked breads, ($3-$7) egg souffles, pastries, and hand tossed salads, new items are added often.
Nutritional information about the menu items is available at the participating bakery-cafes. For the most update-to-date information, you are invited to call or visit your nearest bakery-cafe to speak with a manager.
Hours are Monday-Friday from 6:30am; Sat & Sunday from 7:00am. Coffee is $1.70.
Locations are: Carson, Located at the South Bay Pavillion, 20700 Avalon Blvd., Suite 380,; (310) 436-1545; Los Angeles, located between Mervyn's & Trader Joe's, 8647 S. Sepulveda LA; (310) 641-9200; Torrance, at PCH & Crenshaw, 2733A Pacific Coast Highway; (310)517-0324; Santa Monica, 501 Wilshire Blvd; (310)566-3080; Marina del Rey, Corner of Lincoln & Mindanao; (310) 823-3860. Street parking & Panera Parking.
PS (message from owners) "We believe that the universal spirit of bread is sharing. That's why we're committed to ensuring that every purchase at Panera Bread feeds back into the community through cash donations made in our bakery cafes; also unsold bread is donated at the day's end to local hunger relief agencies; and we regularly donate our products and gift certificates to benefit a wide range of charitable organization and causes.