Food News: Panera Rolls Out New Menu Items

Yes, when I was in high school I was one of “those” kids. You know who I’m talking about. The kind of somewhat pretentious but mostly trying to be cool private schooler who passed up the wonders of fast food in exchange for the assumed virtues of the fast casual experience. And while I’m much more likely to visit McDonald’s and grab an order of fries these days, I still enjoy the occasional visit to Panera Bread. Recently the QSR chain announced several new menu items. Have a gander:

Cuban Chicken Panini

All-natural, antibiotic-free chicken, smoked, lean ham, sweet & spicy pickle chips, Swiss, chipotle mayo & sun-dried tomato ale mustard on our Focaccia.

Salmon Club Croissant (no picture available)

Chilled salmon filet, Applewood-smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato and our zesty tomato aioli served on a freshly baked croissant.

Mediterranean Salmon Salad

Chilled salmon filet served on a bed of field greens and romaine, with baby Kalamata olives, feta cheese, Mandarin oranges, sliced almonds and red onions all tossed in our new honey tangerine vinaigrette dressing.

Signature Jalapeño & Cheddar Bagel (Also availible in breakfast sandwich form)

Chopped jalapeños, sharp cheddar cheese and a blend of salsa spices mixed in roasted corn flour dough.

Some enticing options there if you ask me, although I’m not sure I could fully enjoy their Cuban Chicken Panini. At least not after a recent visit to Victoria Gastro Pub, where one of Maryland’s most foodie-friendly kitchen’s churns out a deliciously savory-sweet version of the Miami classic with real pulled pork, fresh mango salsa, and buttery gruyere cheese. Now it’s your chance to sound off. Yea or neigh on Panera, and will you be checking out any of these new menu items?

11 comments on “Food News: Panera Rolls Out New Menu Items

  1. Justin says:

    The kids who claimed they wouldn’t eat fast food never bothered me; the ones I wanted to bully were the kids who hung out at Starbucks and let everyone know it, but didn’t drink coffee (because they didn’t like it) so they would have lemonade or water.

  2. ALLGOOD says:

    None of this when I was a kid. Drive-thru’s didn’t even exist, and everyone took the school bus to high school and back home. (and we had to walk 10 miles uphill after getting off the bus :)

    Seriously though, these new additions don’t look half bad. Now, if only Panera would come out with something a little more manly, maybe my husband would agree to eat there.

  3. Keith says:

    You know what, I love Panera Bread – in my town, there isn’t a single decent bakery. And being from New York, that kind of sucks. Panera has finally fulfilled a need – their bagels aren’t New York bagels, but they’re as good as I can get. Their sandwiches are a much better option than greasy fast food too.

    I’m excited about the jalepeno cheddar bagels… the breakfast sandwiches they make are phenomenal.

  4. Crusader says:

    Wow, that Mediterranean Salmon Salad actually looks good and healthy! I’d eat that for sure. Keep your triple-bacon cheeseburgers away from me!

  5. Kevin says:

    just had the cuban chicken panini. pretty good. havent had a real cuban for comparision though.

  6. Raiders757 says:

    We have a Panera Bread right up the road from me. It’s been there for years and have yet to even try the place out. not sure why either.

    Of course I’m not sure I can eat somewhere that can’t just give you mustard on their recreated Cuban influenced sandwich, and instead has to give you a pretentious sounding chipotle mayo & sun-dried tomato ale mustard. What the hell is that and why?

  7. Adam says:

    Sorry Crusader. Have never had a “triple-bacon cheeseburger” so I can’t indulge you with one of those reviews, as much as I’m sure you’d love to spam it.

    @Keith, I think they’re bagels are pretty good, but I’m an EBB man myelf.

    The thing about Panera which I’ve grown to dislike is their lack of creativity with condiments. It’s always some wanna be fancy aioli or mayo, and I’m not a mayo guy. That’s why I like cubans with a chutney or salsa approach. I also think they could have been more creative in their cheese, although I understand the limits of the fast casual environment.

  8. JC says:

    LOL, I work there. I’ve been a Panera Trainer for 3+ years in a small East TN market. I do love my store (they were fantastic while I was in college and let me work minimum hours now that I’m a teaching assistant), and these new items are pretty fresh. I am glad to see the cheddar jalapeño bagel, although I wish we could offer jalapeños to add to the sandwiches. I love the Cuban, but like many items, it’s got a scary cal count. I wish our soups got more advertisements- the black bean is so good. I love the Grub Grade and I love seeing mentions of my beloved PB. Just be good to Mother Bread (The female figure on the Panera merchandise) or she’ll hunt you down with a day-old baguette. Trust me, there’s been stories of baguette baseball at nearby stores. God loves preservative-free breads, lol.

  9. Amy says:

    The Cuban Chicken Panini is looking like it wants to be my friend right now. I’ve only been to one local Cuban place to even have an authentic comparison; so it will most likely not be too hard to disappoint or impress me.

  10. ChrisLad says:

    The Salad looks pretty good. I like the push with salmon. It is really healthy and filling and adds a nice variety to the Panera menu.

    Putting Mayo on a Cuban sandwich doesn’t make any sense at all. I guess you could just ask for it without it. Sweet and spicy pickle? What is wrong with a regular kosher deli pickle? I enjoyed a couple of these when I was in South Flordia and they were always made with simple ingredients.

  11. Liz says:

    My parents came to America from Cuba so my entire life has been delicious Cuban sandwiches. While Panera’s twist is far, far from traditional (chicken instead of pork, mayo instead of mustard), I have to say it is delicious. And it is what they say it is — a Cuban-style chicken sandwich. I went to Panera today to get it and it was taken off the board to my dismay. :(

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