Panera Is Adding Pizza to Its Menu for the First Time Ever

Mamma mia! Beginning this week, Panera is rolling out a new menu category: flatbread pizza.

On Wednesday, the fast-causal chain announced the launch of three new pizzas coming to stores nationwide.

The new menu item will be available in three different flavors: plain cheese, Margherita and chipotle chicken-bacon. Prices for the pizzas will start at $7.99, according to a press release.

Panera's newly-appointed head chef Claes Petersson created the flatbreads with extra finely ground flour, similar to Italy's famous 00 flour, for a "delicate yet crisp crust." All three pies are finished on a pizza stone for extra crispness and are topped with fresh mozzarella and fresh herbs.

The Margherita pie is topped with tomato sauce, red grape tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and a blend of finely shredded fontina and mozzarella cheeses.

The chipotle chicken is made with garlic cream sauce, tomatoes, smoked pulled chicken breast, applewood smoked pork bacon and a blend of finely shredded fontina and mozzarella cheese. The pizza is finished with cilantro and a drizzle of chipotle aioli.

The most basic Flatbread option is the cheese pie, which is topped with market tomato sauce and a blend of finely shredded fontina and mozzarella cheeses.

"At Panera, baking is at the core of who we are and what we’re known for – we knew that we had all the elements to bring our delicious, hearty flatbreads to life,” Petersson, Panera's chief food and innovation officer said in the release.

According to Eduardo Luz, Panera Bread's brand and concept officer, guests have been asking for Panera to add pizza to its menu "for years."

“Our guests choose Panera because they want to eat delicious food, that they can feel great about eating. Flatbread Pizzas – done the Panera way – are the perfect offering for this moment and beyond,” Luz said. "We think Panera’s bread heritage and outstanding ingredients meet both the desire for high quality, crafted pizza as well as a growing customer off-premise behavior."

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