I was first introduced to Swiss food in Singapore, and fell in love with the creamy, decadent, and filling cuisine. I love Swiss food and spend a decent amount of time dreaming about rösti and crepes. I’ve lived in Champaign for three years now and never tried Bread Co. until this summer. On my first visit to Bread Co., I tried the brunch menu and I loved the crepes with asparagus and the house potatoes, so we went back for lunch and tried out cold and grilled sandwiches.
We got to the restaurant nestled next between Espresso Royale and Canopy Club at 11:30 a.m. and it was quiet. A friendly waiter introduced us to the menu and explained the sandwich, salad, soups, and burger options. Bread Co. offers half and half lunch deals for sandwiches, salads, and soups for $7.58. We took a second to decide because of the wide variety of vegetarian and vegan options. I am always delighted when being a vegetarian doesn’t mean that you are restricted to one menu item, and Bread Co. had several choices including grilled cheese sandwiches, hummus, portobello, and even pear-based sandwiches.
We ordered at the counter and the line was moving quickly. We found it hard to resist the baked goods showcased next to the cash register, and fell in love with a chocolate chip cookie amongst the many varieties of chocolate chip and sugar cookies, chocolate croissant, and cinnamon rolls. We picked a table by the fireplace to enjoy our food in the roomy, pleasantly lit restaurant.
I got the grilled veggie sandwich ($8.81) with pesto, roasted bell peppers, mixed greens, tomato, red onion, and goat cheese. Subtle and delicious, the pesto paired well with the creamy and salty goat cheese. The red bell peppers were sweet and juicy, and the red onion caramelized to perfection. It came paired with a light salad with spring greens, red onions, and a tart and sweet dressing that was light on the oil and very pleasant. I enjoyed the sandwich paired with the very refreshing lemonade that was sweet but not cloying.
The grilled cheese ($8.81) was a group favorite, with creamy and salty Gruyere and tomatoes. One of my friends mentioned this could be one of the best grilled cheese sandwiches in Champaign-Urbana. The choice of Gruyere was intriguing but now I want all my grilled cheeses to have Gruyere — Bread Co. spoiled us! We paired this with the tomato and basil soup and enjoyed the spices and its saltiness. If you like your soups to taste of the herbs used in it and not be too creamy, this soup is perfect for you.
My friend who eats at Bread Co. all the time and sampled most of the menu ordered the roast beef sandwich ($6.77) which reminds her of a fancy Philly cheesesteak, but lighter and healthier. This sandwich has cold cuts of roast beef with onions, pickles, mayo, mustard, lettuce, and tomatoes. The Swiss bread of this sandwich, like all other sandwiches we ordered, was well flavored and toasted to a crisp on the outside.
The restaurant is popular with the campus community and filled up quickly by noon. We were soon surrounded by a line of students, staff, and faculty and the restaurant was filled with conversations and delicious aromas of warm soups and bread on a rainy day. I was surprised by how fast the line was moving and how many patrons grabbed their lunch to-go boxes and headed out.
We also tried the grilled chicken sandwich ($8.81) with brie, pickles, red onions, and bacon chipotle aioli that was very mellow and not spicy at all. The chicken paired well with the soft brie and made it a flavorful but not too overwhelming lunch option.
The cookie that we saved for the end was devoured in just a few seconds. It was rationed with a good amount of rich and delicious chocolate chips that contrasted very well with the chewy and salty cookie dough. We wished we got two cookies, but the line was too long at that point for us to go get another one.
Overall, we enjoyed the range of options, the quick turnaround time, friendly service, the taste of homestyle food, affordable prices, interesting pairings, and atmosphere. The sandwich options were filling but workday appropriate, so you don’t feel too full when you get back, and were unique in their flavors and combinations. Bread Co. is a must try if you want to grab a quick lunch with co-workers or friends.
706 S Goodwin Ave
M-Th 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
F + Sa 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Su 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. + 5 to 10 p.m.
Photos by Rashmi Tenneti