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Bites Nearby: Panera Bread

Brighton's Panera Bread locations are great places to work and relax.

Being that I have a mobile office as Brighton Patch editor, I've become a regular fixture at Panera Bread. I go there at least twice a week, open my Patch-issued laptop and work amidst the rhythms and aromas of this always-busy coffee shop and bakery. My 'usual'? Coffee and a toasted asiago cheese bagel for breakfast. For lunch, the chopped chicken cobb salad and a large soda.

Other menu standouts include baked egg souffles and breakfast sandwiches, daily soups served in a sourdough bowl, cafe sandwiches (try the Bacon Turkey Bravo on tomato basil bread) and pastries. The Panera Kids menu includes mac & cheese, grilled cheese, peanut butter and jelly and simple deli sandwiches.

At the heart of every offering is Panera's handcrafted artisan breads.

Panera is a great place to work (if you can snag a table near a wall outlet), and Brighton is lucky enough to have two. The one on . is slightly smaller and busier, and you get kicked off free Wi-Fi after only an hour. The one on (technically in Green Oak Township) allows you to stay online as long as you want.

While many professionals set up shop at Panera with their computers, it's also a great place for getting together with colleagues, friends or family off-line. The community bulletin boards, filled with events and announcements, are testament to the national chain's ability to become part of the local scene.

Last Wednesday, my Patch "cluster," which includes Hartland, White Lake, Plymouth, Canton, Northville, Fenton, Dexter, Saline-Milan and Farmington-Farmington Hills Patches, met at the Lee Road Panera. We ordered nifty lunches off the catering menu, which come complete with 1/2 sandwich, soup, an apple and cookie, all neatly contained in a box and perfect for catered meetings.

If you have a real office, Panera will gladly deliver.

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