The Awesome Guide to Springfield, MO

The Viral Vegan: Panera Bread

Going veg in SGF isn’t as impossible as it seems. Look for vegan tips, reviews and more every Tuesday from the Viral Vegan.

PANERA The Viral Vegan: Panera BreadBy Alex Stocksdale for

Vegan (vee-guh n). Webster’s defines it as “a vegetarian that omits all animal products from the diet”. I simply define it as a cruelty-free way of life. Although the word often conjures up thoughts of a drastic lifestyle change, living on a commune wearing clothing made from only hemp, and generally a self-imposed exile from mainstream society, my mission is to change these notions. has been so gracious as to allow me a forum to demonstrate how one can live and eat as a vegan, in Springfield, alongside omnivorous friends and family. My hope is that you too
will challenge yourself to broaden your horizons and try eating for your body and the environment.

To start out I picked an easily accessible restaurant for everyone- PaneraBread (STL Bread Company for our friends from the east). Offering 7 vegan bread options (ciabatta, country, focaccia, sesame semolina, sourdough, rye, & three seed), 2 vegan soups (low-fat Black Bean & low-fat Garden Vegetable), and a plethora of salads and sandwiches that are easily amended to be vegan. The staff almost always seems genuinely concerned with accommodating your dietary restrictions and go out of their way to provide pertinent ingredient information- something that can’t be said for many “chain” restaurants.

PANERA2 250x166 The Viral Vegan: Panera BreadOn this particular outing my dining partner/roommate Elizabeth and I visited the (near) campus location at 500 S. National. Per usual we were greeted with patience as we customized our orders to vegan perfection. We both went with the “you-pick-two”; I went with a half Mediterranean Veggie sandwich, sans the feta cheese, on ciabatta bread (the tomato-basil bread that’s standard is made with honey) and a cup of Garden Vegetable soup (it comes with a ‘dollop’ of basil pesto, which contains cheese, so it needs to be made clear that you want it left off), while Elizabeth opted for the same half sandwich on sesame semolina and the Orchard Harvest salad without chicken or gorgonzola. My sandwich held up to the standard in which I’ve grown accustomed to at
Panera; lots of veggies(and cilantro Jalapeno hummus!) on fresh-baked bread. The soup, albeit a little less than piping hot, was flavorful. Elizabeth’s sandwich was also good (I may have copped a bite or two when she went to get napkins), even with the bread seeming a tad stale. Her salad definitely seemed fresh, although I’m not a huge fan of fruit on a salad (it has dried cherries and pears topped with a cherry-balsamic vinaigrette).

Coming in at just under $15 it was maybe a little pricey for the portion size, but not having a wait staff to tip saved $5. All things considered this was a tasty, fresh meal. Certainly a viable option for a vegan on the go.

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