3851 State Street,
Santa Barbara, CA
(State Stree entrance to La Cumbre Place)
The national chain with more than 1,500 locations opened in Santa Barbara on March 3, bringing its commitment to “antibiotic-free chicken, whole grain bread, select organic and all-natural ingredients, and a menu with zero grams added trans-fat” plus an ownership group headed by ex-NFLer Keyshawn Johnson, who evidently now says shut up and just give me the damn sandwich.
Panera does, on nine artisan breads and six specialty breads (ah, the Asiago), serving up everything from a Napa almond chicken salad to a Mediterranean veggie. You can salad, too (the Thai chopped chicken is zesty), or, damn the calories, go for the baked sweets, including toffee nut cookies and cobblestones: cinnamon raisin bread dough mixed with chunks of apples and spices, topped with streusel and white icing. (-- George Yatchisin)
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