Anyone who knows me well is well aware of my affinity for cooking. But I have to admit, from time to time, I love getting Panera's Rapid Pick-Up. Whether I'm diving headfirst into an egg and cheese sandwich before work, or if I'm simply snacking on one of their giant salads during my lunch break, the chain's hearty and colorful meals always manage to hit the spot. So, you could most likely imagine how thrilled I was when I heard that Panera's new dinner menu test items for 2019 were just released. They are seriously about to make for the dinner of my dreams
On Wednesday, June 19, Panera announced something that will change the lives of carb enthusiasts and mac and cheese lovers everywhere: The chain will now be testing a new 10-item dinner menu. Yes, you heard that correctly — Panera will be offering new items during dinnertime (between 4:30 p.m. local time until closing) in-store, via delivery, or with Rapid Pick-Up, according to the brand, and it's seriously about to change my post-work dinner game.
Between the hours I listed above, according to Panera, you will be able to dive into a variety of sizable Dinner Bowls, which cost $10.39 each; Artisanal Flatbreads, which cost between $9.19 and $9.39 each; Signature Sides, which go for $4.19 each; and Hot and Hearty Sandwiches, which cost between $6.99 and $11.39. And while the prices are moderate like the rest of the chain's menu, just wait until you hear the varieties within each category — they sound seriously drool-worthy.
First we have the Dinner Bowls, and IDK about you, but I have my eye on the Pesto Chicken Bowl. Per Panera, it features a warm helping of roasted chicken served over brown rice and quinoa, grape tomatoes, steamed broccoli, spinach, nut-free basil pesto, garlic cream sauce, and last but not least, parm and fresh lemon. There's also the Teriyaki Chicken & Broccoli bowl, however, if you're looking for something with a little more ~spice ~ to it.
I can't help myself around Artisanal Flatbreads, and the Steak and Blue Cheese Flatbread really spoke to me. According to Panera, it features grass-fed steak, caramelized onions, blue cheese, shredded fontina and mozzarella, garlic cream sauce, balsamic glaze, and fresh arugula. If that doesn't tickle your fancy, however, you can go with a classic Margherita Flatbread or one topped with chipotle chicken and bacon.
In terms of sides, the Parmesan Broccoli Side caught my eye — per the brand, it features steamed broccoli, garlic cream sauce, grated parm, salt, and pepper. You can also go with a Tomato Basil and Cucumber Side Salad or a Sweet Potato Mash that's topped with roasted pecans and crunchy apple chips, if you're in the mood for something extra hearty. Mmm.
Last but not least — in the Hot and Hearty Sandwiches category — the Toasted Pastrami Sandwich looks pretty unreal. According to the brand, it features Artisan Ciabatta, which is topped with grass fed pastrami, melted cheese, creamy mustard sauce, and caramelized onions.
There's no denying that Panera's dinner menu looks truly magical. But keep in mind that it will only be available for a limited amount of time (with no end date specified yet), and it'll only be available in select markets throughout Lexington, Kentucky, and in Providence, Rhode Island, as of September 2019, according to the brand. So, unless you live in one of those lucky AF cities, you'll have to wait until these items (hopefully) make it on to menus nationwide. Since it's bound to be delish, I definitely have high hopes for the possibility of its expansion.