8085 Sudley Road
Manassas, VA 20109
Panera has always been a great place to get a hearty lunch or light dinner for me – and apparently, I’m not the only one since this restaurant has been springing up all over Northern Virginia with locations in Manassas, Woodbridge, Gainesville, Fairfax, and even inside Tyson’s Corner.
One thing that makes Panera so successful is its fresh bread availability. All the breads are baked onsite and include crisp and chewy baguettes, hearty three cheese bread, and flavorful focaccia. The best part about having bread baked onsite? Being able to include it on the sandwhiches. I’ve never been a huge fan of bagels, but Panera’s bagels are a real hit with the customers. Even I found a variety I enjoy: the asiago cheese with sun-dried tomato cream cheese. Other popular varieties include cinnamon crunch and French toast.
The reason Panera is such a great lunch place is the typically wide expanse dining room, so you’re not eating on top of each other like at some fast food places, and the cozy atmosphere which makes you feel like you’re eating at somebody’s house, as opposed to the sometimes sterile to a fault fast food restaurants. Panera attracts the working crowd and college students with its free Wi-fi and large seating area and quick but high quality food and service.
I always recommend getting their U-pick two option will allows you to pick two option from half a salad, half a sandwhich, or a cup of soup; and is served with a side (include a slice of baguette, apple, or chips). Always a hit for me is their French Onion soup, but check their menu on different days as their soup rotation is different daily. For sandwiches try the chipotle chicken or asiago roast beef which both bring a lot of flavor to the table. If you’re looking for a salad make it a point to try their seasonal options. My favorite is the summer Fandango salad (I always add chicken and wonton crunchies) which is a standard salad finished with mandarin orange wedges and raspberry vinegarette. As for now, try their brand new salmon salads which could prove to be another big hit.
That’s another reason Panera is so successful. While most places are stagnant or only rotate one or two options, on a yearly basis I might add, Panera is always bringing in new items and seasonal items and seasonal favorites. You could have a great meal one week at Panera and two weeks later the menu could be drastically different giving you new items to try. If you’re lucky you might get to try some of their ever present test market products like their once popular flatbreads. Though they are no longer available make sure to keep your eyes peeled for test products like these as I’ve always found them to be tasty – and miss them dearly when they’re gone!
It’s hard to imagine anyone not trying Panera but if you’re one of them make sure to give Panera a try at lunch. I promise you won’t be disappointed.