South Windsor, Connecticut.

Write-Up & Photos by Jacqueline Bennett newsandviewsjb.com


It has become tradition for my sisters and me to celebrate the January 12 anniversary of our mother’s birthday by picking a restaurant where we meet for lunch on that day. This year we could not think of a more perfect spot than the new Panera Bread Cafe in our South Windsor, Connecticut ‘neighborhood’ where we added to the celebration by using Christmas gift cards to Panera from our nieces Katie and Sofia.




Located on the edge of Evergreen Walk along Buckland Road, this is a busy place. A few features set it apart from other Panera cafes that I have been to, such as a popular drive thru window, self-ordering kioshs, an inside pick-up window and rapid pick-up cubbies. A fireplace separates two interior dining areas.



Self-ordering kioshes.

Rapid pick-up cubbies.

Rapid pick-up cubbies.

A fireplace separates two dining areas.

A fireplace separates two dining areas.











The Panera motto is “100 percent of our food is 100 percent clean.” On this day high marks for taste were given to their Roasted Turkey, Apple & Cheddar sandwich. Served on Whole Grain Cranberry Walnut bread with roasted turkey “raised without antibiotics”, Vermont white cheddar – oh that Vermont white cheddar – “freshly made” apple and cabbage slaw with a hint of arugula and mustard horseradish. The Pick Two combo comes with one’s choice of a half sandwich and either soup or salad. Both the Bistro French Onion soup and Seasonal Greens Salad tossed with reduced -fat balsamic vinaigrette dressing, also got high marks.


015In that this luncheon was a birthday party of sorts, we decided to splurge and each ordered a dessert item. A nationwide chain, Panera is well known for its baked goods. A few bites of the Cinnamon Crumb Coffee Cake for me & the rest came home in the ever so cute mini bakery box in which it was served; and a brownie and raspberry almond thumbprint cookie for my sisters. All were thoroughly enjoyed!


In addition I want to mention the pleasant young women taking orders, Marie, and Tami who patiently answered questions about ingredients in the crumb cake and whether or not the thumbprint cookie had actual almonds or almond flavoring. She even checked the Panera handbook. Large picture windows looking out onto the bustling Buckland Road is another part of the appeal of this cafe. I anticipate a return visit. Go to http://www.PaneraBread.com for more information about the menu.



Thank you Katie! Thank you Sofia!

Sofia, then age 3, helps Mom.Nana open her birthday gifts in 2010.

Sofia  and my sister Candy help Mom/Nana open her birthday gifts at what Mom called “the big time” we held for her in 2010.

Myself and Katie holding Mom/Nana's hand.

Myself, and Katie holding Mom/Nana’s hand.

Sofia and Dixie play a game at Mom/Nana's birthday party.

Sofia and my sister Dixie play a game at Mom/Nana’s birthday party.


Happy Birthday Mom/Nana!