It's not often that I get to tell friends in Brooklyn about a new place opening in their neighborhood. So you'll have to excuse me if I'm feeling a bit smug this morning.
Crain's broke the news yesterday that Panera is opening its first location in Brooklyn. The St. Louis-based chain still doesn't have a presence in Manhattan. I've been dining out for years at Panera in Kansas City, so I thought I'd offer Brooklynites some advice about what to buy and what to skip on the cafe's menu.
The first time you have Panera's soup in a bread bowl, you will think it is the greatest invention ever. Each subsequent time you order it, your joy will lessen. So spread out your orders -- otherwise, you'll be done in three weeks.
Bagels are on the menu. But you live in New York City, you shouldn't be going to Panera to get your bagels.
Everything will be one dollar more than you think it's worth.
The lemonade is the best chain lemonade, hands down. It's tart and not ruined with a bunch of sugar.
Breakfast will be a pleasant surprise. The baked egg souffles are tasty. Get the four-cheese or the spinach-and-artichoke; neither disappoints.
Good luck, Brooklyn. I'm sure you will have a perfectly happy and generic relationship with Panera. May you have many pleasant corporate lunches together. Kansas Citians are helpful folk. What else should Brooklynites know?
[Image via Flickr: stevendamron]