Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Pret A Manger vs. Panera Bread

Pret A Manger: Definitely No Panera

 I miss Panera Bread.

I used to eat at the one in Springfield with my coworkers almost every week, and I'd nearly always order the same thing: french onion soup and a cobblestone muffin. Sometimes I could even convince Paul to go to the Panera at the Mall at Tuttle Crossing in Columbus. I'd order the same thing there, of course. I'm nothing if not consistent. Or monotonous, perhaps.

I've never once passed a Panera in New York, although I was told they exist. Panera's cafe locator tells me there's one in Staten Island and two in Queens. What that really tells me is that there is a limit to my love: I miss Panera, but I'm not willing to commute an hour to get to one.

Of course, New York has no shortage of cafes -- just not within walking distance of my work. There's an Au Bon Pain that I've visited a couple of times. And a Pret A Manger opened a few months ago; I finally tried it out just recently.

It looks like a bakery, but looks can be deceiving. Pret's specialties are soups and pre-packaged sandwiches. The bakery selections are slim: a couple of muffins, a couple of croissants, and a cookie or two. Half of a chicken-avocado sandwich and a chocolate croissant came out to about $6.

The sandwich was delicious; I just needed about three to fill me up. The chocolate croissant was good but nothing special. (Why is that always the case with chocolate croissants? Yet I regularly crave them, knowing I'll be disappointed.)

Like the croissant, Pret was good but nothing special.

I miss Panera Bread.

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