Monday, February 18, 2013

Panera Bread + Chili's = Happy Hour Success!

This month the vote went to Panera Bread. But since they don't have "happy hour drinks", we went to the Chili's next door for our drink. It worked well. So this month we have separate reviews for lunch and for drinks.
French Onion Soup

Restaurant: Panera Bread
Location: 26 Mile Rd, Shelby Twp, MI

Panera Bread is, at heart, a soup and sandwich cafe. They have great bread. I've never had a bad bread at Panera. The paninis and sandwiches are made well and the soups are delicious. I know from previous experience that they do a wonderful salad as well.

We did decide that we prefer restaurants with table service. Not that we didn't have a good experience with Panera, we have just become used to and enjoy the table service more. Though we all did agree that Panera could do with busing staff at least. We really didn't like having to clear our own dishes. Maybe we're just spoiled from the sit down places we've been to so far. 

The only other drawback is that Panera has made it so comfy inside. Combined with the free wifi, many students and business professionals come for lunch and stay a long time. With their laptops. And take up at least one full table per person sometimes two. We were hard pressed to find a table for all five of us and in the end we had to steal a chair from a table and add it to our booth. Panera is definitely not a "Large Party" type eatery.


Surprise!!Surprise Whipped Cream! - Jeri ordered a Cafe Mocha and when she opened the lid there was whipped cream and chocolate drizzled on the top! Surprise chocolate is always good in our books. The Cafe Mocha itself was pretty tasty. and only $3.80, which is pretty reasonable 

Mustard! Mustard Everywhere!
Spicy Mustard - Mustard again. I hate mustard myself. But Susie and Jeri love the stuff. And Panera has some good brown spicy mustard that they really enjoyed. I'm not sure what it is with those two and their mustard, but I blame it on that greasy spoon diner in Dayton, Ohio we went to back in the late eighties. Cheeseburgers and Waffles. I'm just sayin'. 

Atmosphere - The general atmosphere of Panera Bread is really good. They have comfortable seats (when you can find one), free wifi, and nice background music. It's a pleasant place to spend your lunch hour or meet with the girls.

The Ratings: On a Scale From 1 to 5

There wasn't really waitstaff in the traditional sense of the word. Really, we just had the cashier. But we, being us, decided to rate and JUDGE! her anyway. Go figure. 

Mom - 4
Jeri - 5; "She tried, like, a hundred different phone numbers for my Panera card"
Terra - 4; She was kind of annoying and kept pushing the baked items, even though we repeatedly said no. I know they have to up-sell items, but after the third "no", give it a rest. 
Susie - 4
Marti - 4; She had a nasally voice.

Food Quality
Broccoli Cheddar Soup and Frontega Chicken Panini
Mom - Alfredo Tortellini and Roasted Turkey & Avocado BLT; 4; The sandwich was bland, which is surprising considering the type of sandwich it was.
Jeri - French Onion Soup and Chipolte Chicken Panini on the Demi Asiago bread; 5; The soup was delish!
Terra - Broccoli Cheddar Soup and Frontega Chicken Panini; 5; The best broccoli cheddar soup I've ever had. Not to mention the bread they give you to dip in your soup. I love it.
Susie - Broccoli Cheddar Soup and Sierra Turkey sandwich; 5; Love, love, love the bread that comes with the soup!
Marti - Broccoli Cheddar Soup and Sierra Turkey sandwich; 5; The soup is the best and the sandwich was really tasty!

Food Value
Jeri's Choice
Mom - $10.04; No, it wasn't really worth it. The tortellini portion was smaller than I expected.
Jeri - $7.79 for the food; No. The sandwich was quite small.
Terra - $7.79 for the food; Yes. The panini was very nice size and the soup portion was almost too much for me to eat in one sitting.
Susie - $6.79 for the food; Yes. The portions were quite large.
Marti - $6.79 for the food; Yes. It was well worth what was paid.

What bathroom? Seriously though. It was hard to find. It was okay as far as bathrooms go. Mostly clean. We liked the shelf that they had to set your purse on by the sink. I really hate when I'm forced to put my purse on the floor in a bathroom. There was some paper trash on the floor and the paper towel dispenser was malfunctioning. It got an average of 3 1/2 out of 5 from those of us that used the restroom.

Susie and Marti's choice
Mom - 4; I prefer table service and I hated busing my own table. But the food was tasty for the most part.
Jeri - 4; It was pretty good, but my sandwich was small.
Terra - 4; I too prefer table service. But the quality of the food was there.
Susie - 4; The background music was nice and the food tasty. I don't like having to buss my own table.
Marti - 4; The table was kinda small and the bread was the best.

Bar: Chili's
Location: 26 Mile Rd, Shelby Twp, MI

 After lunch we decided we needed to get our "happy" part of the happy hour. So we went next door to Chili's ("Wait. Where are we? Chipolte's?" - Terra).

We told the host that we were there to "Get Happy!", so he sat us right at the bar. Jeri did NOT want a frickin' Martini. But that's what she got.

Mom - El Nino; 10; Herradura Reposado Tequila (100% Blue Agave), GranGala, PatrĂ³n CitrĂ³nge orange liqueur and fresh orange juice.; It was HUGE!
Jeri - Tropical Sunrise; 2; Hornitos Reposado Tequila (100% Blue Agave), DeKuyper melon liqueur, pineapple juice & a splash of grenadine.; It was too tequila-y tasting
Terra - Tropical Sunrise; 10; It was so pretty and tasty. The way the liquids were put in the glass made a rainbow!
Susie - Tropical Sunrise; 10; "It's a rainbow!"
Marti - Sex on the Beach; 9; It was okay, but I was jealous of the other drinks when they came.

The drinks averaged $8.00 and were mostly worth it. We enjoyed ourselves so much that we decided that next month's lunch will be at Chili's!



Tropical Sunrise
El Nino

Sex on the Beach


  1. I love all the pictures Terra!! See the size of my sandwich? The slice of tomato is bigger! Lol

  2. I know!! It was a really small sandwich. I'm glad the pics turned out. Even if my camera is crappy. We should make Marti bring her fancy one. LOL

  3. Awesome. The pics are great. This made me laugh. Great commentary terra :)

  4. I feel like i didn't really say any of that lol