I don’t like Au Bon Pain. When I walk past it and look at the people eating inside, they always look sad. There’s a reason they look sad: the food is not good. I’m not against fast food–I enjoy Wendy’s, In-N-Out Burger; I also enjoy sandwichey fast food places that are in the same genre as Au Bon Pain, places like Panera Bread. Do I love Panera Bread? No, I don’t. But do I hate it as much as I hate Au Bon Pain? Not even close.
Why do I hate it so much? Maybe it’s because I associate it with airports. When I fly to Florida from LaGuardia, the only food options are Au Bon Pain or that sticky, expensive pretzel place. Who wants to eat a sticky, expensive pretzel before sitting on a plane for four hours? I don’t! And that leaves Au Bon Pain. The sandwiches are pre-made, wrapped in plastic. You unwrap them and you feel like you’re on a chaperoned tour of London with “lunch included” and, suddenly, the chaperone, who also drives the bus, opens a giant cooler and passes out pre-wrapped sandwiches that smell kind of funky. That’s what Au Bon Pain tastes like to me. And I hate the design: the colors, the lighting. Who wants to eat in a room with flourescent lights and yellow and white colored walls? I don’t!
Hey, if you like Au Bon Pain, I don’t want you to feel bad. This is all subjective. But, believe me when I say: I hate it. I really do. I really don’t like going there. Please let’s not go there when we meet for lunch, ok? Oh you didn’t know we were meeting for lunch? Never mind then, you like Au Bon Pain and we probably won’t get along. You’ll probably pick your nose and say “oooh, this sandwich is so good, isn’t it?” and I’ll sit there uncomfortably. It won’t be fun, trust me. But I’m not judging you, I respect you. I really do, really.