We have patronized Panera at the Willows Shopping Center in Concord, CA, ever since they opened and we have usually been pleased with the variety of soups, salads, and paninis. Our favorite is the Thai Chicken Salad, with generous portions of chicken, edamame beans, greens, and a spicy light dressing. Potato soup is wonderful but seems to be on the menu only on Saturdays. A few weeks ago, we invited our good friends to have a light dinner there and sadly, we were all very disappointed. My turkey artichoke panini was scorched on the bottom with very little filling and my husband's soup bowl was only half full and barely warm. Our friends commented on the small portions and lack of flavor for the soups. Restaurant is upscale in appearance but the temperature was really cold, air conditioners blowing on a cold night. We changed tables because the back of the restaurant was freezing cold. When we commented to the server, he dismissed our discomfort by saying that it was always cold back there. Prices are a little high for soup/salad/sandwich fare but the hot mochas are great and excellent variety of baked goods are tempting. Panera needs more quality control of their menu items.
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