Corner Bakery Cafe – Oak Lawn
When it’s time to wrap our trips to Chicago, we try not to leave town without getting one last meal from all those great restaurants we just don’t have in this part of the country. We also try to time it with L’s nap.
Just before noon on the last day of our most recent trip, we started talking about lunch. The name “Panera” came up, but we get that all the time here in Kalamazoo. There’s a restaurant not far from J’s parents that actually pretty similar to Panera and one that I, somehow, have never eaten at.
The Corner Bakery Cafe is a Dallas based chain with 147 restaurants nationwide….although I couldn’t find any in Michigan…but their website wasn’t working right when I tried to look, so I could be wrong about that. I know there are none in West or Southwest Michigan though.
The Oak Lawn location is on Cicero Avenue just to the south of busy intersection with 95th Street. It’s a standalone outbuilding in a shopping center complex.
J came up with the idea to go to the corner bakery and pulled the website up on her phone. She noticed on the website they did online ordering so we all got on our smartphones to look up a menu while J complied the order.
I got volunteered to go pick up the order which took about a half hour to put together. Going in to the store gave me the chance to see what the chain looked like since I’ve never actually been in one. It was pretty much what I expected. Lots of baked goods on display.
There’s a sign for pick up orders at the second cash register and I headed over there to pick up our order. I gave the lady my name and she turned around to grab a large paper bag with the three meals in it. I paid the bill which was a little over $21 with cash.
The ladies were waiting for me when I got home, so we unpacked the bag and started in on lunch before J, L, and I had to hop in the car and make the two hour drive home.
I looked over the menu for a while before something really sounded good to me. There were a lot of sandwiches that sounded alright, but I kind of felt like I was settling. I finally noticed the Sliced Meatball on Sourdough. This grilled panini is sliced all-beef meatballs with provolone and marinara sauce. I liked this sandwich because it was simple. Meat. Cheese. Sauce. Bread. No extra veggies in there to much it up. Just all the good stuff I like.
The sandwich came with a bag of kettle chips. There’s a story on the bag about how they’re all made in small batches special for the store.
J ordered a cup of soup and a half sandwich. She opted for the Roasted Tomato Basil Soup and the Ham on Pretzel Signature Sandwich. The pretzel roll is stuffed with smoked ham, red onions, tomatoes, caraway Havarati cheese, and a stoneground mustard-mayo. J likes anything with a pretzel roll and after she got rid of the onions and tomatoes, she seemed to really like this sandwich. As for the soup, it’s topped with “signature homemade spicy croutons.” She ate about half of this then closed it back up and put in the fridge for her parents for later.
J’s mom ordered the Three Lentil Vegetable Soup. This soup is made with green, red, and brown lentils that are simmered in a vegetable broth with spinach, mushrooms, carrots, and celery. She was pretty busy trying to feed L while we were eating, so she didn’t really say anything about her soup to me, but she ate the whole bowl, so I’d take that as an endorsement.
When it comes down to it, Corner Bakery Cafe is similar to Panera Bread, but just enough different to make it a great alternative (or vice versa).