Fact: you can say you love mac and cheese, but you truly have no idea the scope of what this dish can aspire to until you have tried Panera's iconic Mac & Cheese. But rather than write a novel about how I would swap all of my friends and family out for a Panera dish if it ever became a sentient human being, I will bestow upon you some news that will rock your fast casual restaurant-loving heart: Panera has Bacon Mac & Cheese at long, long last. In other words, the Best Thing our planet has to offer just somehow, impossibly, got even better.
A note of caution, though, before you start thanking the Panera gods for your good fortune — like most good things in life, this won't last forever. In fact, Panera is only offering the Bacon Mac & Cheese between June 6 and June 26 — and you can only get it via delivery. In other words, a good many of us are about to get concerned calls from our credit card providers about unusual patterns of activity when we order Panera every night for 20 days in a row, but Panera has left us with no other choice.
For true Panera stans, this limited time offering may not be surprising in the least — as Panera notes in its press release, the customer demands for Bacon Mac & Cheese over the years have not gone unnoticed. Today, though, they are at last rewarded, with what Panera describes as "perfectly cooked pasta drenched in creamy Vermont white cheddar sauce and topped with crunchy, thick-cut bacon."
Behold this menu offering, in all of its majesty:
And the good news only gets better, if you happen to be a MyPanera rewards member. (If you're not, then please, for the love of Panera's Pumpkin Muffies, get yourself one. They sometimes give you free bagels all month long!) MyPanera customers who use the app to order Bacon Mac & Cheese may also be surprised by "MyPanera rewards and tailored content specifically for them," per Panera's press release. I struggle to think of anything on this Earth that could top the glory of Bacon Mac & Cheese itself, but I won't close my heart to it, either, y'all.
As for the delivery caveat — if you were sleeping on this life-changing news, Panera announced nationwide delivery on May 9. It may not be attached to your regular haunts like Seamless and Grubhub, but it's surprisingly easy to do — and with delivery available via Panera's app and website in participating restaurants in 43 different states, odds are you are in the window of Humans Who Can Get Bacon Mac & Cheese Delivered To Their Door This Week.
“Panera delivery gives our guests the option of enjoying our craveable indulgences right in their own home or workplace,” said Blaine Hurst, Panera CEO, in a press release. “Mac & Cheese is a classic at Panera — an iconic menu item people continue to celebrate. We think bacon makes it even better. For us, there is no better way to extend our Panera warmth from the cafe to the home or office than by combining the two for delivery.”
Anyway, all this is to say: you no longer have to put on shoes to eat your Panera Mac & Cheese, and for a limited time, you no longer have to tweet at their corporate account asking for bacon on it, either. Here's hoping that it'll create enough of a splash that it gets consideration for the permanent menu — in the meantime I'm going to need all of you to avoid eye contact with me while I order it in a sourdough bread bowl, the way I assume nature intended.