Panera’s New Dinner Menu Is Making Us Hardcore Drool

Panera Bread has been a beacon of cozy pastries, soups, and sandos for me personally since I was in college, when buying a bowl of tomato soup that came with CROUTONS seemed literally too fancy to be believed (bear with me, I grew up in central Maine). But Panera has stayed a tried and true favorite since then. Whether they’re making innovations like introducing macaroni and cheese bars to their restaurants (their mac and cheese is *so* creamy), inventing the double bread bowl (give them an award!), removing artificial flavors and preservatives from their foods, or finally introducing a vegan soup so us lactose-intolerant vegetarians can finally enjoy Panera again, the chain has remained a fave. And now that they’re testing a new dinner menu, it looks like we’re going to stan even harder.

Panera Teriyaki Chicken Bowl
Image: Panera.

The new Panera dinner menu has a total of 10 new items in four different categories. Diners in Lexington, Kentucky can sample the new menu in July, while Providence, Rhode Island will get a chance in September. As for the rest of us…well, time will tell.

Customers at the testing locations can choose from Hot and Hearty Sandwiches, Dinner Bowls, Artisan Flatbreads, and Signature sides from 4:30pm-10pm, both in store, via delivery, or with the chain’s own Rapid Pickup service.

So, what can we expect?

There are two Dinner Bowls, the Teriyaki Chicken and Broccoli Bowl and the Pesto Chicken Bowl. Both bowls are served over brown rice and quinoa.

The flatbread options include a Margherita Artisan Flatbread, which has the same vibes as a classic pizza, Steak and Blue Cheese Artisan Flatbread that’s topped with fresh arugula and balsamic, and the Chipotle Chicken And Bacon Artisan Flatbread, a slightly more sophisticated take on the chicken, bacon, and ranch pizza craze.

Image: Panera.

For hot sandwiches, the chain is upping their game with new additions like Toasted Pastrami and a Toasted Tuscan Grilled Chicken Sandwich.

The side dishes are the perfect blend of fresh, nutritious, and cozy. You can choose from Parmesan broccoli, a tomato and cucumber salad with basil, or mashed sweet potatoes with roasted pecans and apple chips.

For now, the rest of us will have to content ourselves with bagels, wraps, and breakfast sandwiches, but if the testing goes well, hopefully soon we’ll all be feasting on artisan flatbreads in style.

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