8 Best Bakery Chains That Serve Bread, Pastries, and More

You know that feeling when you’re walking down the street, and you suddenly catch a whiff of something delicious? Your stomach starts growling, and your mouth starts watering before you even know what it is. 

Portrait of a young business owner standing in her bakery.

Well, that’s how I feel every time I walk past a bakery cafe. I can’t resist stopping in for a quick snack, especially if they’re offering something fresh out of the oven. 

And let’s be honest, who can resist the smell of freshly baked bread or pastries wafting through the air? If you’re like me, then you’ll understand why I always make sure to have a few bakery cafes on my regular rotation.

Fortunately, there are plenty of great places to choose from, and they don’t all have to be local, boutique-style cafes either. 

Whether you’re looking for a quick breakfast before work or a leisurely afternoon pick-me-up during a road trip, there’s bound to be a bakery cafe chain that’s just right for you. And if you’re not sure there is, then take a look at this list of the eight best bakery cafe chains around to change your mind.

Panera Bread

There are many reasons why Panera Bread is one of the best bakery chains. First, the company uses high-quality ingredients to make its products.

This includes using organic flour in its loaves of bread and pastries. The company’s commitment to quality means that its products taste great and are also nutritious. 

Second, Panera offers a wide variety of items on its menu. This includes both sweet and savory options and vegan and gluten-free choices.

And third, the chain has a warm and inviting atmosphere. The bakery cafes are bright and welcoming, and the staff is always friendly.

Einstein Bros. Bagels

I love Einstein Bros. Bagels for so many reasons. For starters, they have a great selection of both sweet and savory options.

I’m a big fan of their breakfast bagels, but their lunchtime sandwiches are pretty amazing too.

And no matter what time of day you visit, there’s always a fresh batch of bagels coming out of the oven, so the inside of the bakery cafes always smell delicious.

But what sets Einstein Bros. apart from other bakeries is their commitment to quality. All of their ingredients are top-notch, and you can taste the difference in their bagels.

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They also offer a wide range of choices for those with dietary restrictions, which is something I appreciate as someone with food allergies.

Au Bon Pain

Few places compare to Au Bon Pain when it comes to baked goods.

Whether you’re looking for a delicious breakfast pastry or a freshly-baked baguette, Au Bon Pain has something to satisfy your craving.

The chain is known for its high-quality ingredients and tantalizing flavor combinations.

Au Bon Pain is my go-to spot for a quick snack or light meal. It has a delicious selection of soups that rotates daily. I usually get tomato soup, but the mushroom bisque is also scrumptious.

Pair your soup with one of their bakery sandwiches, like the ABP Original Chicken Salad, and you’ve got yourself a satisfying meal.

Corner Bakery Café

While maybe not as commonly known as Panera of Einstein’s, the Corner Bakery Cafe is one of the best bakery cafe chains in the US.

The menu includes many breakfast items, sandwiches, salads, soups, pasta, and desserts. The cafes also offer a selection of coffee, tea, and wine. 

Corner Bakery Café focuses on fresh, made-to-order food. All of the café’s dishes are prepared using only the freshest ingredients, and customers can see their food being prepared right in front of them.

This commitment to quality has helped to make Corner Bakery Café one of the most popular bakery cafe chains in the country.

Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons is one of the best bakery cafe chains in the United States and Canada for several reasons. First and foremost, the coffee is excellent.

The beans are roasted to perfection, and the baristas are well-trained in making various coffee drinks. In addition, Tim Hortons offers a wide range of baked goods, including muffins, cookies, and croissants. 

The bakery items are all made fresh daily, and they are delicious. Another selling point of Tim Hortons is that it is open early in the morning and stays open late at night.

The hours make it convenient for people who work long hours or have early morning classes.

Le Pain Quotidien

There are plenty of reasons to love Le Pain Quotidien. For one, the food is consistently excellent, whether you’re grabbing a quick bite or sitting down for a leisurely meal.

The menu features both classic cafe fare and more unique dishes inspired by the chain’s Belgian roots, and there’s something to suit every taste. 

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The bakery is also top-notch, with an impressive selection of bread, pastries, and desserts. And, of course, the coffee is delicious.

But what sets Le Pain Quotidien apart is the atmosphere. The cafes are always warm and inviting, with a relaxed yet chic vibe that makes them perfect for catching up with friends or spending a few hours working on your laptop. 

Bruegger’s Bagels

If you love fresh, delicious bagels, you need to check out Bruegger’s Bagels.

They have locations across the United States, so it’s easy to find one near you. And trust me, their bagels are worth seeking out.

In addition to their delicious bagels, Bruegger’s also offers a wide selection of lunch and breakfast items.

Bruegger’s makes the sandwiches with freshly-baked bread and offers various soups, salads, and sides. And of course, you can’t visit Bruegger’s without trying one of their famous cream cheeses.

Pret a Manger

There are many reasons why Pret a Manger is one of the best bakery cafe chains in the US.

First, the cafe makes all of the food fresh daily, using only natural ingredients. Second, they offer a wide variety of sweet and savory options, so there’s an option for whatever you might be in the mood for. 

Plus, Pret a Manger’s prices are very reasonable, especially considering the quality of their food.

So it’s a good choice for those who might be tight on cash but have a hectic schedule and want a quick bite.

And finally, the cafes are always clean and welcoming, with friendly staff who are more than happy to accommodate you. 

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian attended West Virginia University, then started his career in the IT industry before following his passion for marketing and hospitality. He has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and bar industry.

As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.

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