There’s no ego with these bakery-restaurant chains. They’re not trying to concoct the next edgy recipe using the rarest of ingredients. What they serve is comfort on a plate — comfort like meatloaf, chicken potpies and boysenberry pies with that perfect crystal sugar on top. Here are 10 great bakery-restaurant chains for comfort food.
House of Bread has franchises all over the U.S. including Arkansas, New Mexico, Nevada and California. The bread menu changes daily, but some masterpieces have included pumpkin swirl, apricot walnut, pesto focaccia, oatmeal applesauce and jalapeno corn cheddar. The bread is made in house . What else do you need to know?
The Corner Bakery Café is a California franchise, but it has the feel of your neighborhood café. It’s known for a long list of nourishing, homemade soups like mom’s chicken noodle, a generous chili bread bowl, or a creamy cheddar broccoli soup. It’s also great for wholesome breakfasts like a farmer’s scrambler filled with fresh vegetables.
You can find Panera Bread throughout California and most of the Midwest and East Coast. It serves up dependable, nutritious comfort dishes with a little bistro-style twist at affordable prices. It’s great for a half sandwich and a bowl of soup, and you can find its soup calendar online featuring favorites like French onion, autumn squash, vegetarian black bean and low-fat chicken noodle.
Coco’s is a California chain and you may have passed it up because, well, you see it everywhere. But it’s everywhere for a reason! You can always count on it for nostalgic dishes such as country ham dinner with mashed potatoes and apple slices, or the roasted turkey dinner, or a good old-fashioned Reuben.
Perkins is in almost every state in the Midwest and East Coast and is known for its mammoth muffins in classic flavors such as apple cinnamon, banana nut, blueberry and in the fall, pumpkin cream cheese. As for the entrees, they make a home-style potroast and a fresh baked chicken pot pie, plus every other American classic dish you could want.
If you’re craving a little rustic French chic, grab some of the signature French baked treats and entrees, made fresh daily but easy to grab and go at Au Bon Pain. Most items are à la carte, and highlights include hearty hot sandwiches such as turkey and cheddar on nine-grain cranberry ciabatta, or Tuscan grilled cheese with three cheeses and a tasty tomato spread. Most baked goods are made in house.
The Kolache Factory is a California franchise that serves up classic Czech and other Eastern European dishes. The food tastes like a babushka is in the kitchen making it. A kolach is a Czech pastry that usually has some sort of fruit or cream filling inside a pillowy pastry. Naturally, the factory makes delicious kolaches like heavenly walnut filled with brown sugar and nuts. But it also has a special meal-in-one menu that stuffs your favorite items such as sausage, egg and cheese or pepperoni and mushroom inside delicious, doughy pastries. You’ll want to put everything inside those pastries.
During the fall they have pumpkin bagels and pumpkin walnut crunch, but all year round they serve up delicious, New York-style bagels in classic flavors such as pumpernickel, poppy seed and pretzel. They also have delicious gourmet-topped bagels such as spinach Florentine or the six cheese bagel.
Bruegger’s was founded in New York and now has headquarters in Vermont. Its menu boasts New York-style bagels with a menu that is a hybrid of Jewish deli favorites such as chicken spaetzle (dumpling) soup, some Asian-inspired dishes such as tarragon chicken salad or Thai peanut chicken, and some hefty sandwiches and paninis.
Paradise has locations in Texas, Arizona, Utah, Nebraska, Colorado and Indianapolis. It’s known for its giant cookies, about the size of a cake, but also has artisan breads, power smoothies, and an extensive pasta and soup menu.