The Monday after Christmas, my mother and I decided to brave the post-holiday sales crowds in order to do a little shopping of our own and explore some areas of Stuttgart that she hadn't seen yet. Though I know that the new Milaneo complex by the library is quite popular, I much prefer the other new shopping mall at at the far end of Königstraße called Das Gerber. The mall is smaller and thus much more manageable, in my opinion, and there are several new stores there that I like. Apart from that, Das Gerber also houses our local Pano.
I first discovered Pano our trip to the Bodensee last summer. Though the café is a chain with a dozen locations throughout southern Germany, I find their in-house-made breads and toppings to be of a deliciously high quality, much like a Panera in the United States. And since dedicated sandwich shops are rather non-existent in Stuttgart (bakeries just aren't the same and I haven't found anything resembling a deli yet), Pano fills my sandwich cravings nicely.
On this occasion, my mom and I decided to take a little break from our shopping and grab a quick bite to eat for lunch there. Pano is located on the second floor of Das Gerber in a corner spot, giving it a prime view over the shopping street. I also really like the style of the space. The main eating area looks more like a library with built-in bookshelves, rough-wood tables, leather chairs, and copper hanging lamps. The chalkboard-style menu above the order counter is a nice touch as well. We ordered and paid for our meal at the counter, and then took our drinks to a small table to the side where a server delivered our food to us.
On my recommendation, my mother got the Hüttengaudi, a hot open-faced sandwich with potatoes, gouda, onions, and smoked ham on fresh-baked sourdough bread. She loved the hot cheesiness, of course, and commented on the difference and quality of the bacon in Germany. Though I was tempted again by their open-faced shrimp salad sandwich, I decided instead to try one of their hot paninis. I got the Pugliese with eggplant, roasted tomato spread, and arugula. My sandwich was excellent: the eggplant was cooked nicely and the spread was rich, slightly creamy, and had just the right amount of smokiness. To drink, I ordered a tasty bottle of Thomas Henry Ginger Ale and my mother got a glass of red wine (because they sell alcohol there, too, and why not?).
I should also note that the presentation with a slice of eggplant and a tomato was both lovely and delicious. The portion sizes were also perfect for us for lunch. That said, I couldn't pass up a scoop of their homemade seasonal Lebkuchen (gingerbread) ice cream, which I mistook for gelato because it was so creamy. You'll also have to excuse the poor quality of my photo; I didn't remember to take one until I'd already eaten about half of it!
If you're ever in the area of Das Gerber and looking for a quick bite to eat that tops any of the American fast food places around, then I can highly recommend Pano. They are open Monday through Saturday from 08:30 until 20:00. Note that you can also get your food or ice cream to go.
Have you ever been to a Pano? What was your impression?