Always seeking great coffee experiences, I had the pleasure of visiting Panera Bread, a chain becoming extremely popular across the US. I am probably one of the few in the area who have not been there. My experience was, well, can you say “wonderful”?
313 Merrick Road
Rockville Centre, NY
Living in New York is not all about Manhattan. We have the outer boroughs of Brooklyn, Bronx, Staten Island and Queens and we are in close proximity to Long Island. I ventured a few miles out to Long Island to a town called Rockville Centre, located conveniently in the midst of banks, shops, plenty of parking as well as public transportation
-Large with an open feel
-Lots of seating
-Inviting loungy feel
Posters donning walls told you to, “Put the world on hold; one amazing cup at a time.” Also, “Pour a cup, pull up a chair, Enjoy the pause.” Soothing music playing and yet not loud enough to be intrusive.
Panera Bread is known for its artisan breads, pastries and the like. Trust me, if I were not back on the diet wagon, I surely would have had to order up a few items because everything looked and smelled fresh. Panera Bread says, “…baked fresh right here every day.” They also have soups, salads and sandwiches, but you know I came for the coffee.
I ordered a caramel latte and when asked if I wanted whipped cream—what, you think I am going to say no? I was truly surprised to receive a huge, with a capital H, ceramic cup with a real spoon—no plastic here or worse a wooden stirrer. While I did not get a saucer, my coffee was served on a small round tray with a doily and a napkin.
Considering the size of the cup, the tray could technically pass as a saucer. At any rate, it was just lovely. I reigned myself in by coming back to reality and, as delicious as it was, not drinking the entire cup. Check Panera Bread’s website for nutrition information and plan your visit better than I, and if you come across the contents of my caramel latte, please keep it to yourself. I really don’t want to know right now. You can be a better person than I and get your order custom made with skim and the like.
The service was wonderful with everyone being warm and friendly and you never felt rushed. All orders were served up quickly. A self-service coffee bar was available with a choice of roast types and a microwave available if you wanted to heat up anything.
FREE WiFi is available. This will surely be my home-away-from-home work location when I need a change of scenery or when my own connection is down—heck, I really don’t need an excuse. It is worth doing any time.