Subway vs. Panera Bread

Yesterday I got an email from Subway informing me that they had come out with a new sandwich called Orchard Chicken Salad. I love chicken salad sandwiches. I love them so much that I had chicken salad sandwiches at the baby shower for my daughter several years ago, and they were delicious. Now, I was skeptical about Subway’s interpretation of a good chicken salad because Panera Bread already has one, and it’s fucking delicious!

The Napa Almond Chicken Salad sandwich at Panera is outstanding. It’s on this amazing sesame semolina bread, and it’s simple. There is the chicken salad mixture, some green leaf lettuce, and they normally put tomatoes on but I always ask for them off. Either way, for almost a year now, whenever I go to a Panera Bread, that is a sandwich I have to get. Last night Chris and I went to do a couple of errands (we desperately needed some weed killer FYI) so we went to the Target north of town at the River Park shopping center. After that I had to make a decision. Either go with something I already knew was outstanding, or try the new Subway sandwich and make it a true gamble. Since I had a $15.00 coupon for Borders, and Borders is right around the corner from Subway (whereas the Panera Bread location would warrant moving parking spaces), I decided on Subway.

I ordered their Orchard Chicken Salad sandwich as a footlong, since it’s one of their special $5.00 ones, and I had it on 9 grain wheat bread. Already the Subway version was inferior to Panera because they lacked the delish sesame semolina bread. Anyways, the guy behind the counter looked puzzled as I requested only the chicken salad and lettuce to be on the sandwich. That’s the way that I get it from Panera, so that is how I was going to have it at Subway. I didn’t think that black olives, cucumbers, oil, salt, pepper, and pickles would be appropriate for my sandwich.

Some of the main differences are ingredients. The Napa Almond Chicken Salad mixture has red grapes, celery, chicken, almonds, and their special dressing, which is actually a light olive oil base compared to the standard mayo. The Orchard Chicken Salad mixture has cranberries, golden raisins, diced red apples, celery, diced chicken, and the mayo dressing. While the golden raisins were nice, I really missed the grapes. To me, it made a big difference. Also, I found the apples in the Orchard Chicken Salad sandwich to be really blah, like they lacked the proper flavor, and had almost a softened water chestnut texture. Not appealing.

As I opened the wrapping to my sandwich, I noticed that there wasn’t a lot between the bread, which was sad because the bread to filling ratio at Panera is wonderful. When I got a few bites in, I knew right then that the Subway sandwich came nowhere close to the deliciousness I wanted. The chicken salad was a little bland. It lacked the proper salty and sweet. The lettuce was iceberg and shredded, giving no flavor and a strange texture, and the bread just didn’t fit. Next time I go to Subway, I will just stick to what I normally get – a turkey sandwich. There are just certain things a company shouldn’t try, and for Subway, it’s attempting to create a chicken salad. Just say no. You’ll thank me later.

And the winner (as if you should even have to ask) is:

– Me

  • deaf_omega

    This is a really great review!
    I always get the chicken breast, I’m not a fan of lunch meat
    I make a chicken salad that is just awesome

    • There was this one time we went to a local Subway and I saw this girl take a piece of the chicken breast out of the container, place the chicken breast on top of a container lid, that wasn’t properly sanitized, and then she did something with it… we didn’t eat there.

      I like lunch meat. I used to always get the meatball subs but I can’t have too much red sauce because of my acid reflux. I also am skeptical of their tuna so I don’t get that anymore. Trusty ol’ turkey! lol

      Glad you liked it 🙂 Hopefully there is a Panera Bread near you so you can try their sandwich. It truly is amazing.

      • Generally the only meat I’ll get on a sandwich from Subway is bacon. All of their meats come pre-sliced and packaged. Quizno’s is the same, but I’ve found that their meat is of higher quality than Subway.

  • You bring up a good point, and one I have learned the hard way: Never order something that clearly is not a restaurants specialty. Example would be getting sushi at a Chinese buffet. It’s probably not going to be that good. I haven’t had Subway’s chicken salad, and thanks to this post, I think I will stick to what they know best: lunch meat.

    As for Panera’s chicken salad…It’s not my favorite. But then again, I’m not a huge chicken salad person. I prefer the Sierra Turkey from Panera.

    • Lindsey

      Thanks for checking this out! I know I was taking a risk when getting that Subway chicken salad sandwich, but I wanted to see how it compared to Panera since, at the time, there was only one location here in my town but on the opposite end of where I lived.

      I have yet to try the Sierra Turkey but I’ll definitely give it a shot next time I go there 🙂

  • You bring up a good point, and one I have learned the hard way: Never order something that clearly is not a restaurants specialty. Example would be getting sushi at a Chinese buffet. It’s probably not going to be that good. I haven’t had Subway’s chicken salad, and thanks to this post, I think I will stick to what they know best: lunch meat.

    As for Panera’s chicken salad…It’s not my favorite. But then again, I’m not a huge chicken salad person. I prefer the Sierra Turkey from Panera.

    • Lindsey

      Thanks for checking this out! I know I was taking a risk when getting that Subway chicken salad sandwich, but I wanted to see how it compared to Panera since, at the time, there was only one location here in my town but on the opposite end of where I lived.

      I have yet to try the Sierra Turkey but I’ll definitely give it a shot next time I go there 🙂

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