Reminder: I do not have Celiac disease – sometimes I might be willing to take a risk on a place that someone else maybe shouldn’t, and it’s up to you to decide for yourself.
I’ve eaten at Panera a handful of times since going off gluten. It’s not my top choice, because there’s a lot o’ flour floatin’ around that place, but sometimes social occasions make it easier to just go along, and so far, no adverse reactions. I always ask, the staff seems to have a menu they can access to check, and there are a few soups that have had no gluten ingredients. I have chips as the side, and apple would be fine as well (you have to specify your side, or you automatically get bread). Last time I went I had the Autumn Squash soup and it was delicious, and I was fine afterward. I’m probably overly oriented to treats, and there are no bakery treats that are safe at Panera, so that’s an emotional barrier to really wanting to go there.
Now, as far as the consumer being able to view an allergen menu, it’s pretty tough. Panera does not list a gluten free menu on their website, though if you Google you’ll get many blog posts (like this one) passing along their gluten free menu that they’ll e-mail out. I have submitted a request for a current copy. This is frustrating (and I told them so). Frankly, I’m surprised because as a result they’ve left it up to the interwebs – a wild west that they cannot control – to fill this information need.
If I get a response about the menu, I’ll add it here. Until then, I wanted to share my experience dining at Panera, since this blog is all about documenting choices.