Panera has pizza now: good idea or who goes to Panera for pizza?

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I know this is a stupid story but I want to talk about Panera, which I enjoy for occupying that space just above Wendys yet beneath Ruby Tuesdays, although that’s arguable. Yes I eat at cheap chain restaurants. Every time I’ve gotten takeout from Panera from three different places they’ve screwed it up somehow, usually just by being slow or not bringing it out to my car like they’re supposed to. They’re surely suffering during the pandemic like a lot of restaurants. As such they’re introducing a new flatbread pizza, which isn’t a bad idea at all. I would eat it although we’ve already established that my standards are low. I checked and the pizza is already available to order.

Beginning this week, Panera is rolling out a new menu category: flatbread pizza.

On Wednesday, the fast-causal chain announced the launch of three new pizzas coming to stores nationwide.

The new menu item will be available in three different flavors: plain cheese, Margherita and chipotle chicken-bacon. Prices for the pizzas will start at $7.99, according to a press release.

Panera’s newly-appointed head chef Claes Petersson created the flatbreads with extra finely ground flour, similar to Italy’s famous 00 flour, for a “delicate yet crisp crust.” All three pies are finished on a pizza stone for extra crispness and are topped with fresh mozzarella and fresh herbs.

The most basic Flatbread option is the cheese pie, which is topped with market tomato sauce and a blend of finely shredded fontina and mozzarella cheeses.

“At Panera, baking is at the core of who we are and what we’re known for – we knew that we had all the elements to bring our delicious, hearty flatbreads to life,” Petersson, Panera’s chief food and innovation officer said in the release.

[From People]

Remember when Subway got pizza and it was such a big deal? That was in 2006, according to my extensive google research, and they’re still available at some Subways. It’s not like you go to Subway to get a pizza, you get a pizza at Subway because it’s all your picky kid will eat. I’m guessing that’s the same deal with Panera. Back when I could eat beef I would always get Panera’s French onion soup. I loved it, and of course a baguette. When I was feeling bold I got the whole bread bowl. They have the best bread I’ve been able to find in my area. (God I miss the bread in Germany.) Now I get a salad, usually their Asian sesame chicken salad.

The nearest Panera is 40 minutes away though or I would eat there more often. I’m kind of bummed by the lack of dining options in my town. There’s a place that has brick oven pizza but the past two times we’ve ordered it they’ve been undercooked. We still make a frozen pizza about once a week out of convenience. Maybe I should try to make a pizza from scratch. It can’t be that hard, right? If that fails there’s always Boboli.

Oh look Panera did one of those fancy grid things with their Instagram. The photos on their site don’t make the pizza look appetizing though.


This is not a paid post I just wanted to talk about Panera. I will be more enthusiastic for a gift card

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33 Responses to “Panera has pizza now: good idea or who goes to Panera for pizza?”

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  1. Christa says:

    I definitely miss the pasta from McDonalds from the 90s. I think there pizza from around the same time was acceptable to my teenager taste buds. Who else besides kids eat there? So yeah, I would probably try the Panera pizza, along with my Green Goddess salad which is delicious.

    • Celebitchy says:

      I don’t remember pasta from McDonalds! I remember pizza from McDonalds very vaguely. The one thing I really miss is the McDLT, that was awesome but so much packaging and it took forever. Also the Burger Bites from Burger King, remember those?

    • NotSoSocialButterfly says:

      That salad is my *favorite* Panera item. Love those pickled onions.

  2. Sarah says:

    As someone who used to spend a few weeks a year in the US for work (from the UK) and couldn’t be bothered with restaurant meals or room service day after day I was a big fan of theirs and would be all over this. Plus the staff in one in downtown Indianapolis were absolutely delightful when I went there a few times.

    Mmm pizza…..

  3. manda says:

    I would get it! (I love their breakfast stuff but have always been so-so on their other offerings)

  4. Jennifer says:

    You know you aren’t going to get that much cheese when you order it on site and flat bread pizza is cheap to make (used to work in a kitchen). I ordered pizza for the first time in a very long time in May and was soooo disappointed. It just didn’t taste as good as I remember delivery pizza tasting. Now I buy the already made cold dough (found in either the deli cheese section or dairy by Pillsbury dough) at the grocery store and make it however I want, cheaply too. It ranges from around $2-3.50 or so for the dough.

    • Kkat says:

      We make our own pizza a lot, we get the ready made dough in bags from our WinCo. It tastes pretty good.

      The take out pizza here that still tastes pretty decent is pizza hut, straw hat and dominos. I used to get papa john’s because they are super close, but I won’t support that racist asshole anymore.

  5. Ann says:

    I know Panera is not a bagel place but it’s a bakery so you’d think bagels are a safe choice. Worst bagel of my life and they served it with a little thing of pre-packaged cream cheese that was low-fat, therefore gross. A bakery that can’t get a bagel right is not to be trusted with pizza.

    • Becks1 says:

      The only bagels that are good at Panera are the super sweet ones – I used to get the cinnamon crunch bagel or whatever it was called. it was more like a dessert than a bagel and that was the point lol.

  6. Coco says:

    If you have a Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods near you, they sell fresh pizza dough you can use to make your own pizza. We usually make it a few times a month with whatever veggies we have that need to be used, really easy!

  7. BayTampaBay says:

    I know people love Panera but I hate it. I have only eaten there 3 times and each time it was awful and over-priced. The only reason I go there, which is not often, is to get an artisan loaf of bread for a dinner party.

    • Tom says:

      I hate Panera with a white-hot passion. If you want to review the food trends of 1998 as served in a moderately okaying hotel restaurant where you eat only because you’re in a time crunch, Panera is your restaurant.

      Sadly, I have to go to a local Panera every now and then. There’s a meeting area we can use. I usually just get an iced tea and I’m someone who loves to eat.

      • Sankay says:

        Also don’t care for Panera. Would stop to get a large iced tea which was usually fresh and some times a bagel. Their bagels are more chewy bread than actual bagels and I found them to be okay. Their sandwiches are all bread with no meat or anything else, and their soups are powdered or at least taste like it.

  8. paranormalgirl says:

    I have a great recipe for a no knead pizza dough that rises overnight. It makes a great pizza. I also do pizza dough in my bread machine.

  9. Becks1 says:

    I love Panera. To me its the ultimate comfort food. I think this comes from college, when freshman and sophomore year I didn’t have a car on campus and Panera was one of the few places within walking distance. it was our go-to after a late night, lol.

    My husband hates it so I rarely get it anymore (he says “that’s not a meal!” when he saw their sandwiches for the first time, lol) but I did order it on Monday for the kids and me because it was so gross and icky here. Pick 2, frontega chicken and either cream of chicken and wild rice or French onion (no croutons.)

    That said, I don’t know how I feel about this pizza. Maybe it would be okay-ish? IDK.

    Celebitchy – homemade pizza dough is a CINCH to make, I use the Pioneer Woman’s recipe which I’m sure she got from someone else lol, and I’m sure there are much more authentic recipes out there, but this is a good starter and is SO easy in the KA mixer!

    • Tiffany :) says:

      I was on a road trip once and got a flat tire that needed to be completely replaced, and the repair shop was 5 minutes from closing, and it was so stressful. After the repairs, my dad and I ended up getting the Broccoli Cheese Soup in a bread bowl as an easy meal before we checked in to our hotel. It was really, really soothing to have the soup after all the stress, and I will be forever grateful.

  10. Kkat says:

    I live 2 minutes from my Panara (Lakewood, Ca)
    I have the monthly coffee subscription for 9$ so I’m getting curbside 1-3 times a day 😂
    Yay hazelnut coffee!

    My Panara is pretty good, since I’m always there getting free coffee I’m buying food a lot too. I adore the cinnamon crunch bagel or the jalapeno cheddar one, I usually get it for.99 paired with my coffee.

    I really like thier salads and thier protein bowls. Some of the sandwiches are good.
    I love the french onion soup.
    I can see getting the flat bread pizza as an add on.

    During the height of the lockdown when the stores were empty, Panara had it so you could get milk, eggs, bread, cheese, vegtables and fruit. You could order it and they would bring it out to your car.
    That meant a lot when you literally couldn’t find bread, milk, eggs ect by going to 6 stores.

    They also have a family meal that I get 4 sandwiches, big thing of mac and cheese, big salad and a big baguette for 29$ I’ve gotten that a couple times (delivered) when we were sick. It fed my two boys (15 and 24) and my husband and I, and we aren’t skinny. I was impressed the 5 times I ordered delivery I got it in under 15 minutes. (Their delivery, not Uber or postmates)

    The people there are quick, nice and get the orders correct so I’m pretty happy with them.
    I wanted to give my review of them since I’m there literally every day 😁

  11. raptor says:

    This is at least the second (but possibly the third) time Panera has done flatbread pizzas; I remember when I worked there in college, people would try to order them from my store, but we didn’t make them because we didn’t have enough space. The one about a mile up the road did make them, though. I have no idea whether they were any good or not.

  12. SamC says:

    Yeah, big no from me but I also grew up just outside NYC so VERY particular about pizza and bagels. The only time I eat Panera is if I’m traveling for work and need WiFi, and 99% of the time it’s not good and/or wrong.

  13. LightPurple says:

    Stories like this make me remember how fortunate I am to live in the Northeast. My niece just moved to Texas and before she left, I took her out for pizza . I told her she would thank me for giving pizza as her last Boston meal. Two weeks later, she texted me to complain about the “pizza” her boyfriend had just had delivered.

  14. Kkat says:

    Dang it, now I’m hungry 😜

    I do like Corner Bakery better than Panara, they have much bigger and better salads and portion sizes for the same or lower price.
    They however don’t have a coffee subscription or convient curbside delivery, so Panara it is

  15. Peanutbuttr says:

    I was always meh about Panera (Cosi is the only one I can eat without feeling like shit afterwards). However, my dislike kicked up a notch when this one blogger kept whining about how the new restaurants in our neighborhood were all ethnic and that our neighborhood needed a Panera to complete its gentrification.

    • SamC says:

      We have a few of those in my town. Whenever a shop becomes available in our small downtown, which has several very good, local restaurants, someone suggests Panera, Starbucks, etc.

  16. Ky says:

    I honestly wish they would attempt to expand their vegan offerings instead. Would probably even be better for business given that there aren’t a ton of fast food places that have good vegan options.

    • JanetDR says:

      It seems like they could come up with something vegan that was also gluten free. That would generate a lot of business!

  17. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    I make pita pizzas and naan pizzas all the time. Everyone gets to choose their toppings and when you use a variety of pestos, shrooms, capers and olives, Italian cheeses (fresh sliced or pearls mozzarella, goat, feta, parm, gouda, gruyere, etc.), sundried peppers and/or tomatoes, fresh herbs like basil, onions or shallots and of course the different meats for the guys, nobody wants to order anymore lol.

  18. TheOriginalMia says:

    I was at Subway yesterday. Their pizzas are good. And the pepperoni is “fresh”. I would try the Panera one. Sometimes you just want a personal pizza for lunch. It’s a little more than a slice and less than a whole pie. Though, if I’m honest, Sam’s Club has the best pizza for on the go.