Panera is usually always very consistent no matter which location you go to. While I usually don’t plan a trip to Panera for lunch days ahead, they are a solid spot to get fresh food fast.
The Deerfield Beach location has been open for a few years now and today I was running errands in the area and stopped in for lunch. This is your typical Panera location…same colors, woods and setup. It’s clean and the seating area is fairly large.
Rush hour can be very busy, but today it wasn’t too bad. They had 3 cashiers working so it kept the line moving. It looks like they are changing the menu and now offering almost every menu item as a ‘pick 2′. You pick the 2 you want and the price is different depending on which 2 items you pick (each is a half size). Of course you can still order a whole sandwich or salad.
I decided on the pick 2 – half Greek Salad with Shrimp / half Smoked Turkey on Country White Bread. The total came out to about $12 with no drink. They are really pushing their ‘My Panera’ card and when I said I didn’t have one, she swiped a new one and gave it to me to register later. I read somewhere that you will soon be able to add your customization preferences to this card and will speed the process up. For example…if you like your sandwich with no tomato, they will know it.
This location brings your order to the table if you choose to dine in. It’s a cool system and the electronic markers tell them which table you are at. To go orders are given out at the counter so it’s a stand and wait system. I didn’t have to wait too long and my name was called and I had my order in hand.
The half salads cone in a small cardboard container and the dressing is served on the side. I’m so glad they put it on the side because who likes soggy salad? The salad was fresh and the romaine crisp. The pitted whole black olives are one of my favorites and I took off the sliced red onion to spare any co-workers that might need to talk to me later. Feta cheese is crumbled and just the right amount but there could have been more tomato. I don’t really remember finding any cucumbers…so if they were there, they were either very small, or sparse. There were 4 nice sized shrimp, each cut in half. They were firm and fresh, but not bursting with flavor. The dressing was just the right portion size and one of my favorites. This is my ‘go-to’ salad here and it’s also one of the lower calorie options.
The half Smoked Turkey on Country White is one of my regular choices. It might sound rather plain to some, but it’s healthy and light. The bread was fresh and soft, but the toppings were laid in a bit sloppily. I had to ‘remake’ it to ensure there was more than just bread in each bite. I think they just rushed it a bit since they were pretty busy. The lettuce and tomato were fresh and the red onion was a little strong, but it was sliced thin. You might want to add mayo or another condiment as this sandwich comes plain. Mustard would do well along with a few dashes of hot sauce.
My lunch was typical Panera. Fast, fresh and a bit rushed…but tasted great. The hardest part of going here is not adding a cookie or pastry and I passes the test.
Quick Breakfast stop and review-
When I signed up for the Panera rewards program, I was notified that I had a ‘free pastry or sweets item’ waiting for me on my next visit. I’m not sure if everyone got this or if it’s just offered when you first sign up, but I was all over that offer! I read that they do send free items to your card on occasion so it sounds like a great program so far. I arrived just after 7 AM on a weekday and they usually are not too busy. There was only one person in line so the wait was very short. I ordered the Bacon Egg and Cheese on a ciabatta roll and I substituted egg white. For my free item I ordered a red velvet cupcake to go (Emily, my co-worker loves these…she will be so happy when she sees it waiting on her desk!). I filled my soda and took my seat. They do have free WiFi here, but my sandwich was dropped off very quickly and I didn’t have time to check it out.
While the breakfast sandwiches here might not look very exciting…I like them. They use only 2 strips of bacon, which doesn’t look like much, but it works. The bacon gives it just the extra smoky/salty kick. The white cheddar cheese is awesome and always gooey and a bit sharp making it one of my favorites on a breakfast sandwich. The bread was fresh and crisp from the Panini press. The egg whites were fresh and I think some of the best egg whites on the fast food (or fast casual) scene. I thought about trying one of their ‘low calorie’ power breakfasts on the ‘secret’ menu, but glad I splurged. I will be full until lunch.
The red velvet cupcake was $2.50 but today…for me….it was FREE! I would suggest you sign up for their rewards program and start saving.
Panera is located at 3720 W Hillsboro Blvd Deerfield Beach, FL