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Pret-a-Manger, An English Sandwich Franchise Opening Locations Throughout The City


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Kind of old news, but it sounds like Pret-a-Manger has plans to expand down here. Nothing too complicated, but everything very fresh, tasty and natural. Pret-a-Manger expansion

Their chicken salad with avocado and basil sandwiches were so good, especially for a poor student like me. Though I wonder if that sandwich made it in the transition across the Atlantic.

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That makes me so happy. I studied abroad in London years ago- but still crave a tuna mayo on baguette. I hope they are here soon!

Yea for Pret! I'm guessing that some of the sandwiches won't make the trip across the pond. I remember liking the crayfish and rocket.

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I'm excited that Pret is coming to DC (and around the corner from my office to boot!), but given the glut of decent lunch places around here it's not fantastic news. It will replace Potbelly as my I-only-have-5-minutes-and-really-want-a-sandwich option. I'm guessing they won't have Prawn and Rocket sandwiches, though :lol:

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I don't think any dates are mentioned on the signs. I suspect it will be fairly soon. Why? Well, because it's located right at the Metro entrance I use twice a day, five days a week. But that ends tomorrow; starting next week my office moves to the middle of nowhere, or at least as close to that as you can get while still technically in the heart of the city. The sooner it opens, the more it will hurt.

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I saw the sign for this the other day when getting off the metro and squealed with delight! Like several here, I studied in London a few years back and hit up Pret all the time for fresh, cheap sandwiches. Can't wait til this opens!

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Oh! This is exciting news. I ate my fare share of Pret's Chicken Tika sandwiches while I was a student living in London way back in '98. Yum, I just can't wait!

Interesting to note, in Pret's history on NYC: in 2003 Claudia Fleming, Gramercy Tavern's award winning pastry chef with accolades such as working with Gramercy Tavern's chef, Tom Colicchio; winning the James Beard Award for "Outstanding Pastry Chef" in 2000; winning the 2002 Best Pastry Chef of the Year from Bon Appetit, took the job as Pret A Manger's food director. I was living in NYC at the time and I remember the gasps that the NYC restaurant industry made when Claudia decided to make her move from pastry to sandwiches. I have lost track if Claudia is still the Food Director or has she moved on? Was this a successful move for her and/or Pret A Manger?

.hobbes

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Sounds like they're doing training and have a free lunch today (this is based off of the lady in the elevator just now-- I already had lunch, sadly [eta: which is why I can't confirm if it's free or not]). The location is right outside of Farragut West metro's 18th & I entrance, if anyone's interested.

When I came in this morning, the brown paper was off the windows & it looks like a decent space (****with very limited seating).

**Double ETA: According to the mgr (yes, I walked over -- too curious), the real opening is next Monday, and this week is the free lunch-test week. Flyers will be handed out between 8-9am every morning this week, to give away *300* lunches at 12:15pm every day this week. Turn in the flyer for a sandwich or salad + popcorn or brownie. Drinks not included. Good luck!

***there was something else about if you didn't a flyer, you can talk to the manager about getting a free lunch anyway, but assuming it's within the 300.

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As of 20 minutes ago, they were giving away free lunches. Plenty of people taking them up on the offer, so not sure if they have anything left at this point. As I'm typing I'm munching on a tasty chicken and mozzarella with arugala sandwich...

I stopped by yesterday afternoon and it looked as if it should have been open, but it wasn't. I actually spoke with the manager today and he told me the same thing...giving away free lunches at 12:15 on Thursday and Friday...flyers handed out at the metro. Although he said they are handed out 7am to 10am. If you miss the flyer handout knock on the door and ask them for one. Oh yeah, he added that the line started to form by 11:30 for the free lunch.

Grand opening is Monday.

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Just wanted to confirm that Pret a Manager is a solid option in this area. This is as good as I can imagine it gets for a "push" operation. Nice salads, sandwiches, and half sandwiches are in the cooler. There are a couple of hot wraps (the falafel has a nice kick to it). And the soups are very good, and not over-salted like APB's. This is what Organic-to-Go wants to be.

What I really wanted to point out: the cashiers here are very upbeat, as good as you'll find at a Potbelly's. This is not meant to be faint praise. These folks genuinely seem to take pride in their job (unlike the Cosi on 17th and Penn), and this line moves as fast as anywhere in the area. My first choice for a non-local chain lunchspot, in its price range.

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Today was free lunch day (with vouchers handed out in the a.m.) at the new location at 19th and L next door to the Corner Bakery. I missed the voucher hand out, but managed to get a free lunch anyway. :) Had a very nice chicken and bacon half sandwich, with organic popcorn and a brownie, spring water, and a token lid to bring back for a free soup. Not a bad deal!

Hopefully this means they will be fully operational on Monday. I've been watching the space and it seemed to take forever to build out (although it probably wasn't even that long.) I think it will definitely pull from the Corner Bakery and Cosi lunch traffic. Pret can get a bit pricey, but now at least I don't have to walk a few blocks if I want to spend the cash.

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I am told the USA version of this outfit is not nearly as good as it is in London. I loved the one we tried while in London this past October. It was quite good -- fast *good* food.

People always say things like this... I think a huge element is people glamorizing their exotic abroad experiences more than anything. People also remember Wagamama being good from their abroad experience, til they go back a second time and realize it's mediocre.

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People always say things like this... I think a huge element is people glamorizing their exotic abroad experiences more than anything. People also remember Wagamama being good from their abroad experience, til they go back a second time and realize it's mediocre.

Hey chief...perhaps that is so, but in this case, for me, it was good. Your mileage may vary and your palate ain't the same as mine, so knock yourself out. Wagamama was not 'great' but good. I remember Wagamama more for the fact that my wife and I managed to get her mother to try something out of her comfort zone.

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...I think a huge element is people glamorizing their exotic abroad experiences more than anything...

Another possibility is that someone has been abroad enough to the point where it is neither glamorous nor exotic, simply a part of their experience. And sometimes, in this more jaundiced view, things really are better. I can well imagine a chain like this having better bread in its home country than here. In fact, bread anywhere else in Europe (even England!) is better than it is here. Generally speaking, of course.

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Another possibility is that someone has been abroad enough to the point where it is neither glamorous nor exotic, simply a part of their experience. And sometimes, in this more jaundiced view, things really are better. I can well imagine a chain like this having better bread in its home country than here. In fact, bread anywhere else in Europe (even England!) is better than it is here. Generally speaking, of course.

There's also a difference in menus between Pret - US and Pret - UK. No 'prawn and avocado' or 'mature cheddar and pickle' sandwiches stateside, for example - or anything with 'rocket' :) .

That said, in the US I've only been to locations in NYC and thought they were pretty good - not great, but good and interesting for ready-to-go sandwiches.

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Another possibility is that someone has been abroad enough to the point where it is neither glamorous nor exotic, simply a part of their experience.

Definitely true in my case. I lived in London for about a year, and Pret was the sandwich shop where I "treated" myself. There were a number of cheaper ones, such as Benjys, that were on my more usual lunch rounds.

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There's also a difference in menus between Pret - US and Pret - UK. No 'prawn and avocado' or 'mature cheddar and pickle' sandwiches stateside, for example - or anything with 'rocket' :)

No All Day Breakfast Sandwich in the US? No dice!!!

I also lived in England for a few years and enjoyed Pret to an extent. More for a quick cup of coffee and a pastry than for their sandwiches - I could see myself using the US locations for the same things (especially if Starbucks was an alternative). There are better neighborhood sandwich shops in London - and I concur with the thoughts above on bread being MUCH better in the UK than here.

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This is not really that interesting, but at The Don's request...

Grabbed a coffee and sandwich at the 11th Street Pret a Manger today. The dark roast is STRONG (glad I accidentally poured in too much milk), and the cream cheese with tomatoes and basil on "baguette" (their word; I think it's actually a ficelle) is a great morning option. I prefer savory breakfasts, but eggs always make me feel ucky. Total cost: under $5. Good stuff.

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This is not really that interesting, but at The Don's request...

Grabbed a coffee and sandwich at the 11th Street Pret a Manger today. The dark roast is STRONG (glad I accidentally poured in too much milk), and the cream cheese with tomatoes and basil on "baguette" (their word; I think it's actually a ficelle) is a great morning option. I prefer savory breakfasts, but eggs always make me feel ucky. Total cost: under $5. Good stuff.

[it was interesting to me. :)]

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Prompted by a discussion over on the thread devoted to Brian Voltaggio's new Lunchbox sandwich spot, I wanted to share this NYT article from last year about Pret. Given all the discussions on dr.com about food versus the business of food, this is a pretty interesting look behind the curtain of a company that manages staff, money, customer experience and food quality in ways different from most. Lots to be learned or debated here to be sure.

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Prompted by a discussion over on the thread devoted to Brian Voltaggio's new Lunchbox sandwich spot, I wanted to share this NYT article from last year about Pret. Given all the discussions on dr.com about food versus the business of food, this is a pretty interesting look behind the curtain of a company that manages staff, money, customer experience and food quality in ways different from most. Lots to be learned or debated here to be sure.

Reading it, I can't help but think of WalMart - in a good way - the way that WalMart differentiated itself through employee and customer satisfaction. While WalMart had other plusses and minuses, their approach in this department is the stuff of legend.

I'm all for this, I think this approach can be taught, replicated and scaled; and I think the investment is a wise one.

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I've been to the Pret at Farragut North a bunch -- their workers have definitely been cheerful and helpful and keep everything moving fast. And the food is excellent! I am partial to the chicken w/balsamic avocado sandwich and the egg salad -- I usually get a "Slim Pret" (half sandwich) and a soup, as the soups are very good (Moroccan lentil, butternut squash, curried chicken have all been good -- I didn't think the chicken noodle was anything special). The baked goods are all a notch above what you get at other fast food places (really tasty and light muffins, rich and delicious cookies), and I love the fizzy ginger beer.

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I need to get down there to try it and compare to the UK outposts. Sounds very promising from Genevieve's and others' experience.

BTW--for a mod--the subtitle on this thread is out of date. They now have 5 DC locations including Union Station. Also, I'm not sure if places can only be listed under one category for dining guide (?) but this one is listed a bit counterintuitively (under "breakfast and lunch" versus sandwiches).

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Had a spicy shrimp wrap Friday. It was good, except for the cilantro, but I just don't like cilantro and Hubby forgot that. It is so nice to have a really fresh sandwich, you could taste that it was fresh. And it was pretty healthy too which was nice.

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I've been to the Pret at Farragut North a bunch -- their workers have definitely been cheerful and helpful and keep everything moving fast. And the food is excellent! I am partial to the chicken w/balsamic avocado sandwich and the egg salad -- I usually get a "Slim Pret" (half sandwich) and a soup, as the soups are very good (Moroccan lentil, butternut squash, curried chicken have all been good -- I didn't think the chicken noodle was anything special). The baked goods are all a notch above what you get at other fast food places (really tasty and light muffins, rich and delicious cookies), and I love the fizzy ginger beer.

I tried the newish Pret at 15th and K today. The chicken banh mi baguette was very good. The baked goods looked really good, esp. the almond croissant. And I definitely will be trying their highly touted coffee.

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I started taking a new bus route several months ago that drops me off in front of Pret a Manger on 11th and F every morning, so, weak soul that I am, I've gotten to know their breakfast offerings quite well. (Actually, I get off a stop earlier than I need to in order to go to Pret, but I digress...)

While I don't think that all restaurants should have to do it, I like being able to see calorie counts that they list on every offering in the cooler. It's frankly smart of Pret and places like it--I'm going to eat there more often knowing that I can get a range of breakfast options that aren't going to break the calorie bank (280? deal!).

The breakfast egg sandwiches are made with egg salad rather than an omelet-ish thing, which I prefer. In my mind, the usually dull, uninteresting omelet is a useless addition to a morning sandwich when you're eating it more than once a week, and their egg salad is pretty darn good. Used to be better though; a few months ago it was markedly peppery, but it's gotten bland. The egg and bacon is okay, but I find their bacon to be kind of flabby and chewy; the egg and tomato is terrific, with roasted, acid-y tomatoes playing nicely with the ficelle and eggs.

They sell some of their "Pret Slim" sandwiches (half of their normal wholes) in the morning--chicken and bacon, chicken club, chicken balsamic. Preferring savory to sweet in the morning, I really like all these and find that they keep me full well past noon and get those taste buds to wake up much earlier than they would otherwise.

Croissant is okay. Probably not worth the calories posted because they certainly don't keep you full, but they scratch the itch and are significantly better than the ones next door at Crumbs.

I think their drip coffee is pretty good; I just got my first latte there and really liked it.

But most important, and the thing that keeps me getting off the bus one stop early: the service is outstanding. Truly. I cannot say enough for the service. Every day, every single day, each and every employee is a pleasure. They say good morning when they make eye contact but aren't those awful Gap workers who surround you and pelt you with "Hi! Can I help you!" "Hi! Can I help you!""Hi! Can I help you!""Hi! Can I help you!"until you want to scratch your eyes out and run screaming from the premesis. If there's more than one person in line, someone will jump in and open up another register to ring you up and then honestly--honestly-- wish you a good day when you're done. (Note: They did this even before I started coming regularly and they recognized me.) (Also: this is just breakfast; I don't know how this location handles lunch.)

One day, I worked from home in the morning and went in just before noon to pick up lunch to bring to the office. It was during the worst of the early pollen, and I was not happy. I grabbed a sandwich (chicken banh mi: if you don't go into it wanting an actual banh mi, it's a decent sandwich) and bag of chips, and went to check out. When the manager rang me up, he asked how I was. I just grunted "allergies" and handed him my money. "Oh, I know. Here," he said, "I hope the day starts to improve." And he dropped a big chocolate espresso cookie into my bag.

Now that's just cool. Classy. Smart.

If they didn't have good food, I wouldn't go back. But their food is solid. And because they have such exceptional service, I will go back--several times a week. There are few places in the world where I can go and get treated so well for the cost of a cup of coffee and 280-calorie egg sandwich.

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I started taking a new bus route several months ago that drops me off in front of Pret a Manger on 11th and F every morning, so, weak soul that I am, I've gotten to know their breakfast offerings quite well. (Actually, I get off a stop earlier than I need to in order to go to Pret, but I digress...)

While I don't think that all restaurants should have to do it, I like being able to see calorie counts that they list on every offering in the cooler. It's frankly smart of Pret and places like it--I'm going to eat there more often knowing that I can get a range of breakfast options that aren't going to break the calorie bank (280? deal!).

The breakfast egg sandwiches are made with egg salad rather than an omelet-ish thing, which I prefer. In my mind, the usually dull, uninteresting omelet is a useless addition to a morning sandwich when you're eating it more than once a week, and their egg salad is pretty darn good. Used to be better though; a few months ago it was markedly peppery, but it's gotten bland. The egg and bacon is okay, but I find their bacon to be kind of flabby and chewy; the egg and tomato is terrific, with roasted, acid-y tomatoes playing nicely with the ficelle and eggs.

They sell some of their "Pret Slim" sandwiches (half of their normal wholes) in the morning--chicken and bacon, chicken club, chicken balsamic. Preferring savory to sweet in the morning, I really like all these and find that they keep me full well past noon and get those taste buds to wake up much earlier than they would otherwise.

Croissant is okay. Probably not worth the calories posted because they certainly don't keep you full, but they scratch the itch and are significantly better than the ones next door at Crumbs.

I think their drip coffee is pretty good; I just got my first latte there and really liked it.

But most important, and the thing that keeps me getting off the bus one stop early: the service is outstanding. Truly. I cannot say enough for the service. Every day, every single day, each and every employee is a pleasure. They say good morning when they make eye contact but aren't those awful Gap workers who surround you and pelt you with "Hi! Can I help you!" "Hi! Can I help you!""Hi! Can I help you!""Hi! Can I help you!"until you want to scratch your eyes out and run screaming from the premesis. If there's more than one person in line, someone will jump in and open up another register to ring you up and then honestly--honestly-- wish you a good day when you're done. (Note: They did this even before I started coming regularly and they recognized me.) (Also: this is just breakfast; I don't know how this location handles lunch.)

One day, I worked from home in the morning and went in just before noon to pick up lunch to bring to the office. It was during the worst of the early pollen, and I was not happy. I grabbed a sandwich (chicken banh mi: if you don't go into it wanting an actual banh mi, it's a decent sandwich) and bag of chips, and went to check out. When the manager rang me up, he asked how I was. I just grunted "allergies" and handed him my money. "Oh, I know. Here," he said, "I hope the day starts to improve." And he dropped a big chocolate espresso cookie into my bag.

Now that's just cool. Classy. Smart.

If they didn't have good food, I wouldn't go back. But their food is solid. And because they have such exceptional service, I will go back--several times a week. There are few places in the world where I can go and get treated so well for the cost of a cup of coffee and 280-calorie egg sandwich.

Great post!!!!  I am sorry that it took me so long to read it.  Sincerely appreciated.

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While I don't think that all restaurants should have to do it, I like being able to see calorie counts that they list on every offering in the cooler. It's frankly smart of Pret and places like it--I'm going to eat there more often knowing that I can get a range of breakfast options that aren't going to break the calorie bank (280? deal!).

Too bad they don't list their sodium counts...many of their offerings are in the 700-1,000 mg range.  Some are obvious, like you would expect a sandwich containing bacon to be high in sodium or the BBQ Pork wrap (1210mg).  Others, like the falafel and red pepper wrap (980mg) or balsamic chicken and avocado sandwich (800mg) are not so obvious.

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Too bad they don't list their sodium counts...many of their offerings are in the 700-1,000 mg range.  Some are obvious, like you would expect a sandwich containing bacon to be high in sodium or the BBQ Pork wrap (1210mg).  Others, like the falafel and red pepper wrap (980mg) or balsamic chicken and avocado sandwich (800mg) are not so obvious. 

Sodium counts are listed at the 19th & L location so I'm pretty sure they must show it at all locations. Their decaf drip is the best I've found. Really. Customer service is great and the line goes very quickly.

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Sodium counts are listed at the 19th & L location so I'm pretty sure they must show it at all locations. Their decaf drip is the best I've found. Really. Customer service is great and the line goes very quickly.

I was out running errands one day recently, hadn't eaten and really needed something, so I decided the Pret in Union Station was probably the healthiest food bet there.  I looked around for nutritional information and didn't see any posted.  The space is pretty small.  It might be that they would have had sheets behind the counter if I asked, or could have directed me to where it might have been posted, but I didn't inquire.  Service was very friendly and efficient.

I had an egg salad and arugula sandwich on whole grain bread, which I guessed was 400 calories and a not insane amount of sodium.  I checked on my computer when I got home, and it was 420 calories and 500-something mg sodium.  That was more sodium than I would have liked, but not bad at all for that kind of prepared food.  The sandwich I almost bought was the veggie hummus, and that was about the same number of calories but in the 400's sodium-wise.

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