Imagine a paradise where the sun streams in on all sides, the greatest hits of the late 90’s plays softly in the background, and it always smell likes toast. Where could you possibly find such a magical place? The answer lies on the corner of Thayer Street and Fones Alley. Yes Brunonians, this paradise is Au Bon Pain.
I know what you’re thinking: Au Bon Pain? That grimy yellow awning across from Starbucks that’s pretending to be fancy and French? When I saw it, I was scared too. Then one fateful day, I decided to give it the good-old-fashioned college try. Here’s why ABP is the best place on college hill:
1. The Soundtrack
The first thing I love about ABP is the soundtrack. The greatest hits of the late 90’s/early 2000’s will leave you feeling mellow as can be. Sugar Ray, No Doubt, Sheryl Crow, Feist, the song Gotta Keep Your Head Up (on constant loop). None of this hipster esotericism: you will recognize every song. And ABP doesn’t play from a radio station; they have their own CD. It’s given to them by the company. CHRISTMAS WISH LIST!
2. The coffee
ABP is one of the few places where you can mix and match roasts. It’s fill-your-own-cup style coffee. And they have a wide selection of pre-chilled iced coffee, meaning you can control your ice.
3. The food
The food at ABP is a mix of hearty soupy, healthy salads, toasty sandwiches and flaky, delicious pastries. Their food is the all-American comfort food that will satisfy your cravings at any meal. A cookie lover through and through, I’m drawn to their chocolate chip cookies. Other standouts include the egg-white and avocado breakfast sandwich and the (seasonal) roast beef and goat cheese on rosemary focaccia.
4. The seasonal opportunities
ABP is all about the seasons. For the whole month of October, ABP reveled in pumpkin spice. Now that we’re nearing December, they’ve switched to a holiday theme. Gingerbread cookies and peppermint lattes galore!
4. The free samples
ABP pretty much ALWAYS offers a free sample of something delicious. If you camp out there the whole day, you can basically try their whole menu.
5. The crowd
Forget the snobby coffee shop folk of Blue State and Starbucks. Au Bon Pain is down-to-earth. Besides the occasional non-deodorizing street man camped out in one of the booths, the crowd at ABP is a breath of fresh air. College, grad students, and the Verizon Wireless employees chat over soups, sandwiches and warm croisbuns. And the employees are some of the friendliest people I’ve ever met.
6. The smell
It is universally accepted that there is nothing better than the smell of toast. And ABP literally ALWAYS smells like toast. (And soup.)
7. Their hours
While ABP closes at 10, it opens at 6AM!!! That’s a full hour earlier than Blue State. Perfect for the early bird I wish I was.
ABP will cater your next event. Does Starbucks cater? Didn’t think so.
9. The deals
For a limited time (undisclosed how long), ABP is offering espresso and lattés for $1.99. Their holiday cookies are 2 for $3. Compared to other places on Thayer, ABP IS A BARGAIN!
10. An hour before closing, all of their pastries are half-off normal price. Revel in it.
I LOVE YOU, ABP.