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Panera Bread - Upper State
3851 State St, Santa Barbara
Phone: (805) 687-7600


Reviews by the General Public

Smells gross in there
Reviewer: Justin from Santa Barbara, CA
I used to live in Colorado Springs and the Panera Bread there was amazing. I was excited to hear one opened in SB. When I first walked in the smell was horrible, that should have been a warning sign. I ordered some chicken bacon sandwich thing (recommended by the cashier) and the tomato bisque. I couldn't stay there with the smell so I took it home. Absolute worst soup and sandwich I have had from a Panera store. The soup was bland and could tell there was a thickening agent. The sandwich had no flavor and the bread was not tasting right. The apple that came with the food was dried up inside. You could shake it and hear the seeds. It's too bad, I used to crave that place.


Blah
Reviewer: Charlotte from Goleta
The service was efficient, the food....blah! Cheddar Broccoli soup tasted like pre-fab soup from Vons. The Thai salad was boring and just thoughtless, really. I got a cherry Danish to go for my kids to share, they both said it tasted old and cheap tasting! ( My kids are 8 and 11 years old!) but then, they are used to eating pastry from a real bakery.....Renaud's!


Reliable spot elsewhere, but not in SB
Reviewer: Sophia from Santa Barbara, CA
I travel for work a lot and when I am out of town, I find Panera Bread is a great place to grab a salad or relatively healthy meal. However, this SB location is not up to scratch compared with the other locations I have been to. The service is ok, but the place doesn't feel clean (despite just having opened) and I agree with the reviewer who noted a weird smell (eggs?) in the restaurant. This won't make my lunch spot rotation unless it gets REALLY freshened up, fast.


Wanted to like it...
Reviewer: GG from Santa Barbara, CA
I wanted to try the new Panera, the food looked so good online. But when I got there, the service was slow (waiting on just a few customers), the servers seemed unmotivated and the place just didn't smell clean. I couldn't get over how a new restaurant could smell so unclean---so I left.


Just sampled a few things
Reviewer: CB from Santa Barbara, CA
Wanted to see if Panera might rise above the stuff that passes itself off as pastries in Starbucks and what not. So, seeing the cinnamon buns, which looked big and like they were made from a yeast dough, I could not resist and found...they weren't very good. If I closed my eyes and ate it I wouldn't have known if it was any different from those Honey Buns you get at Vons that cost something like 6 for a dollar. I will say my son got a bagel and liked it and liked the choices of sides you can get with them. But my hunch is the baked sweets, over all, are going to be too similar to the ones out of the package that many places, like Starbucks or Coffee Bean get. The same sources, the same lack of quality even though they look like they would be so great. I will say the people working the counter were working hard and doing a good job.


I wanted to like it but...
Reviewer: Eric from Santa Barbara, CA
I got a turkey/bacon panini and waited longer than I felt I should have to. No biggie, sometimes things are busy behind the counter where I can't see what's going on. I got home with the sandwich and all I could think of was how it reminded me of Jack in the Box's deli sandwiches, only smaller. The bacon was paper thin and fattier than good quality bacon. There wasn't much turkey and the dressing they used tasted very sugary. The bread wasn't very impressive either. Guess I'll be sticking with South Coast Deli when I crave a top-notch sandwich.


Fast service, but with little personality... bleh sandwich.
Reviewer: Lorraine from Santa Barbara, CA
First time at a Panera Bread and it will be the last. It was mediocre at best. I got a panini and it was greasy, not crispy. I'll stick with South Coast Deli!


Good food - rude manager
Reviewer: Amanda from Santa Barbara, CA
I have always loved Panera, in fact my boyfriend used to work at one so I have eaten Panera a lot in the past. The food at this location is really good and totally up to par with existing Panera locations. I know that with any opening establishment, you have to give them time to figure out the kinks. However, today I had an experience with a manager that I thought was pretty rude. I work as a cashier in a retail store in town and whenever my manager needs to speak with me, he patiently waits until I am done with my customer before talking to me, because he is respectful of the customer. However today at Panera, I was in the middle of an order and the manager came over and completely interrupted my transaction to speak with the cashier. To be honest the cashier seemed embarrassed that it was happening. I couldn't believe he couldn't wait 30 more seconds until I was done ordering. It comes across as rude and disrespectful towards your customer. The manager did not even acknowledge my presence and did not acknowledge the fact that he was interrupting the transaction. Perhaps next time he will be more respectful towards his customers and follow the example of other managers out there such as my own.


a month later, service still terrible.
Reviewer: Andy from Santa Barbara, CA
ordered something simple, mac and cheese. absolutely no one waiting for to-go orders. 15 minute wait. I ordered a large. either they gave me a small (which is what I'm leaning towards, I'll get to why in a minute), or eight dollars for this thing is a bloody ripoff. I'm not being some fat American when I complain about that, I'm serious. the size of the container I received is TINY! I did catch that they gave me potato chips instead of a wheat baguette. I asked for my baguette and the girl didn't ask which kind I had ordered. she just handed me a French baguette assuming that's what I ordered. her demeanor was not very pleasent and seemed like she already hated her job. I was courteous with her so I don't get it.


Good Food/Service
Reviewer: Glenn from Buellton
Liked the stuff I had there. BBQ Chicken Salad was really good. Panini good. Pastry Ok. There are an army of workers there(mostly teenage to a bit older girls) so your order can come out quick like mine did. Apparently have wifi. Looks like they will expand a patio area in the summer. The decor was more like a Denny's than the nicer one I've been to up in Santa Maria and seemed small for the amount of people in a lunch rush they might get so an expanded patio will be nice. I think this place ranks with any of the nicer local sandwich shops in town and will grab some business from them, a good fit for the mall and plenty of parking in old bank parking lot. Servers were nice/helpful/patient.


Excellent
Reviewer: Chuck from Santa Barbara, CA
I really enjoyed Panera both times so far; I had the combination of tomato soup and (hot) steak sandwich, and both were delicious. I'll be back, for sure!


pleased with panera
Reviewer: Bob M. from Goleta, CA
There early enough to avoid a long line. We really enjoyed our meal. The bread is great. Took passtry to go.


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