My new favorite fast-food restaurant is Panera Bread. I've driven past numerous Panera's and just thought, "Huh! They probably just have dried up American-style supposedly French bread that is fake and disgusting." So we never stopped. Then when we were in Alabama we kind of had to go to one because everything else was too expensive in the area where we were. So, we tried it and fell in love!
Inside, the colors are all harvest sorts of colors with muted oranges, yellows, greens, and purples. The walls are all different colors. It sounds strange, but it works. The chairs are real wood and there are easy chairs and coffee tables where you can sit, too. It's a place that invites you to bring in your computer, do internet on their free wireless, sip a cup of your favorite beverage and stay awhile. If you're lucky enough you may get a seat by the gas fireplace. The food is served on glass plates and bowls with real silverware.
Best of all is the food. My favorite right now, I suppose because it is cold out, is the soup and 1/2 sandwich deal. With that you get a bowl of soup, a slice of baguette (I always ask for the whole-grain baguette, which even has millet in it), and a 1/2 a sandwich (which looks like a full sandwich to me!). The soup menu varies from day to day, but some soups are served every day. The best is the broccoli-cheese soup. I don't suppose it's very diet friendly, though! But if you are on a diet, there are soups and sandwiches marked as "low fat". The black bean soup is delicious, very filling, and good for you. If you are a vegetarian there is plenty to choose from. I'm not vegetarian, but my favorite sandwich happens to be a vegetarian one. It's the Mediterranean Veggie sandwich. I wonder if in the summer I will switch from trying their soups to trying their salads? And I still haven't tried any of their breakfast menu items or any of their bakery items.
And the cost? Well, I guess I could eat at McDonald's more cheaply because I usually just have a cheeseburger, small fries, and a small drink. So if you buy a larger sandwich, larger fries, larger drink, it ends up not being any cheaper than Panera. And Panera has a better choice of healthy stuff. So I'll take Panera any day!
(All pictures on this post were taken from the internet.)