Au Bon Pain – Feinberg Pavillion
Sooooo, did not plan on going to Chicago this week. I found out a couple weeks ago my mom was going to have surgery at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in downtown Chicago. It was a pretty simple procedure, but I still wanted to be there. Fortunately, I have a job that understands and encouraged me to make the trip.
My parents aren’t really Chicago drivers. They go to Northwestern quite a bit, but they always take a train or have one of my cousins drive them. They can do it if they need to, but it’s just not something they like doing.
To add to that, my dad actually has a broken foot right now, so he can’t drive anyway…and my mom wouldn’t be able to drive home after surgery, so there was no way they could take a car. I offered to come all the way home and drive them. That meant leaving my job in Grand Rapids, driving to Kalamazoo to pick up my truck and an overnight bag, driving three hours to my parents house south of Chicago, resting and trying to sleep for two hours then making the hour and fifteen minute drive back in to the city. When it was all said and done, I was up for about 34 hours without getting to sleep.
After my mom was taken in to surgery, my dad and I got comfortable in the waiting room. Once we were told surgery had actually started, my dad asked if I would run down to the second floor and get him something to drink. He is in a walking cast, but he walks incredibly slow and struggles with it, so he really didn’t want to walk anymore than he had to. I wanted to get up anyway and get something for myself so I said yes.
I started to walk in to the cafeteria on the second floor of the Feinberg Pavillion, but I noticed a cafe just behind the escalators. I thought I might have more luck there getting a bottle of pop and thought about getting some baked goods for myself.
The cafe is Au Bon Pain and they actually have two cafe’s at Northwestern and one across the street at Lurie Children’s Hospital in addition to several hundred around the world. Most locations are in the north east as the chain is headquarted in Boston. There are over 20 locations in the Chicago area. There is one lone location in the state of Michigan at the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit.
When I walked in, I was able to spot a cooler with drinks in the back of the cafe. I saw a bunch of Coke products stacked next to it so I wasn’t hopeful there would be any Pepsi products. Lucky for me, they did have Pepsi and Diet Pepsi…but they didn’t have any Mt. Dew which is what my dad wanted. I grabbed two Pepsi’s hoping that would be good enough and started to walk towards the cashier when my eye was drawn to a small open air kitchen and a menu board hanging above.
I hadn’t eaten since about eight o’clock the night before so I decided to grab a sandwich or two. There are only five breakfast sandwiches on the menu…but of course, they had my favorite combo.
I ordered the 2 Eggs & Cheddar Sandwich with an add on of applewood smoked bacon. There’s a case of bagels in front of the counter and you get a choice of any of them for any of the sandwiches. I just chose the plain. The bagel was pulled out of the case then put on to a conveyor toaster oven to warm it up. Once finished, it was topped with the eggs, cheese, and bacon then sliced in half and wrapped up. I opted to get two of them figuring either my dad would take one or I would eat both.
I grabbed the two smoking hot sandwiches and headed over to the cashier. There is a small area to eat just past the cashiers, but I opted to head back up to the fifth floor waiting room to hang with my dad. The two sandwiches and two bottles of Pepsi cost just over twelve bucks.
When I got back upstairs, I unwrapped one of the sandwiches for myself. My dad wasn’t interested in the other so I stuck it in my coat pocket for later. The sandwich was pretty much what you would expect. The toasted bagel was really warm. The bacon, egg, and cheese really hit the spot. I was in dire need of breakfast and this was perfect.
Au Bon Pain did exactly what I needed it to. I needed breakfast and they provided a great, quick option inside a very busy hospital. I have never ran in to this chain before, but I was glad I found it when I did. They didn’t have the Mt. Dew my dad wanted, but that was the only downfall.