There are a few signs that summer is officially here. The sun peeks out, all drinks magically turn into some kind of icy slush in your hand, your legs start to see the outside world for the first time, and straight dudes all seem to put on the exact same pair of shorts and blue polos. But more than that — more than any of that — there's a true celebration of summer at hand. And I'm talking about the Panera summer 2019 menu. It's officially dropped and it looks absolutely fantastic.
Whether you want a sweet, coffee-based delight, a sparkly summer salad, or you'd prefer having some lobster because you think you're a Kennedy or something, Panera has you covered. The big debuts are the Strawberry Caprese Summer Salad — which should be a hit with the Strawberry Poppyseed Salad lovers among you — and the Frozen Cold Brew, available in both Mocha and Caramel options. Now, do a Strawberry Caprese Summer Salad and a sweet, sweet cold brew sound like the makings of a perfect summer day? Add in eight or ten bread rolls and I think they do, I think they really do. New Panera menu items are almost always a hit, so expect to see a lot of love for these two offerings.
What's in the Strawberry Caprese Summer Salad? Well, according to the website it looks about as fancy as you can get. "Romaine and arugula drizzled with olive oil, grape tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, salt, and pepper, topped with strawberries and balsamic glaze," the website explains — which is basically like you're on some kind of Italian holiday where you discover a thousand unique little vineyards but also, in another way, you might just find that you discover yourself. (Starring Jennifer Aniston.) You can get is a half offering or as a whole offering, depending on how hungry you are or how many bread rolls you want to pair it with.
If you happen to live in New England, you have even more surprises coming your way, because two lobster specials are coming to select Northeastern cafes from Memorial Day through Labor Day Weekend.
Firstly, Panera will have a straight-up Lobster Roll which is stuffed with knuckle and claw meat and served in a lemon tarragon mayonnaise dressing. Now, die-hard New Englanders will know that a proper lobster roll is served with only butter or plain mayo and maybe some lettuce if you're trying to be modern, but I'm sure the fancy mayo will add a little kick. But the most exciting addition is probably the Lobster Mac & Cheese, which is their classic mac you know and love all topped off with buttered knuckle and claw meat and seasoned bread crumbs. Not too shabby at all.
Panera is no stranger to new and exciting offerings. Last year it introduced custom Mac & Cheese bowls, which is maybe the single most inspiring innovation of our lifetime. Panera also introduced a vegan Panera soup with 10 different veggies. Most recently, it upped its combination game with the "You Mix 2" option, which combines some Panera faves into the same freaking meal. There are no limits to what Panera can do to carbs, salads, and soups — if you dream it, Panera will make it a reality.
There are a lot of summer menu offerings coming down the pipelines, but Panera's has to be one of the snazziest. Caprese salads, delicious cold brews, and lobster for days? You're spoiling us, Panera. I'll take one of each — in a bread bowl.