photo courtesy bing.com

Maureen Compoli '11, STAFF WRITER

Are you thinking what I’m thinking? I knew it! You want a really nice cup of hot coffee…and a cherry cheese danish. Do you know where you can come to possess these things? PANERA BREAD.

I love Panera Bread Restaurants. I even have the customer tag on my key ring so I can score free stuff like said cherry cheese danish. There are four Panera Bread in our immediate area: Destiny USA; Erie Boulevard (3409 Erie Blvd.); Fayetteville Towne Center; and West Genesee Street (3401 W. Genesee St.).

What I love about Panera amounts to several things but my top three reasons are accessibility; taste/variety; and whenever I say “hey you wanna meet at Panera?” they say “Sure!” It’s that easy. No hemming and hawing about where we should go or worrying if there’s something on the menu you’d like. There is definitely something there for everyone. Even my fourteen-year-old nephew who won’t eat anything but taquitos and frozen pizza loves it there.

There are two caveats to this establishment though. One, some teachers from my high school alma mater meet there every Saturday. I won’t tell you which one they meet at but keep an eye out for seven or eight fellas with their sweatshirts tucked into their sweatpants talking super loud at each other. The other issue for me is prices. They aren’t exactly inexpensive to put it politely.  However, I’ve never had bad service or bad food there for that matter. I’ve come to the conclusion that meeting up with my people and having good coffee and good conversation trumps expenditures.

Some of my favorite items on the menu are the cherry cheese danish (I think I forgot to mention that item earlier), freshly brewed unsweetened iced tea, paninis and their bread bowl soups. At Christmastime they had these fantastically large sugar cookies as big as your head like the kind you see at the Fair in the Dairy Building. They’re a sugar cookie with a shmear of confectioner’s sugar icing with pretty Christmas colors. I should have gotten a bunch and hid them in the freezer from my husband but I wasn’t thinking on my feet obviously.

I will wind this up now and end on the cookies. If you have any suggestions for places you’d like me to try out and report on, email me care of the Dolphin at [email protected]! Next week: Beer Belly Deli!