Restaurant of the Week: Corner Bakery Cafe

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Corner Bakery Cafe, 12375 S. Main St. (at Victoria Gardens), Rancho Cucamonga

Corner Bakery is a chain, but one with only two Inland Valley locations, fewer than some of our mom-and-pop restaurants, so it’s fair game here. I haven’t been to the one in Chino Hills (4517 Chino Hills Parkway) but over the years I’ve been to the Victoria Gardens location many times.

It’s one of the more affordable restaurants there, falling into the fast-casual category. A purveyor of sandwiches, soups, salads and pasta, not to mention fresh bread and other bakery items, Corner Bakery is similar to Panera, except for the pasta, and similarly priced $1 or $2 above what you’d like to pay; a sandwich and drink will run you about $11. Still, it’s a lot cheaper than a sitdown meal at, say, Lucille’s or King’s.

A friend prefers Corner Bakery, I prefer Panera. The Corner Bakery menu (view it here) is awfully complex, with a lot of items (I count 21 sandwiches and 19 salads), and you can stand there like a dope for some minutes figuring out what you want. On the bright side, there’s usually a line, which buys you time.

The pesto cavatappi pasta (about $8, pictured, as a “Corner Combo” as a small portion with a side salad) is a solid choice. One time I got the full-size order with a side salad for $1 that, mistakenly I think, turned out to be a full-sized salad. I ate the salad and two bites of the pasta and took the rest of the pasta home for an entire extra meal. Best dollar I ever spent. That hasn’t happened again.

They also have breakfast, with pastries, oatmeal (including a chilled version), egg paninis and fruit bowls.

A lot of people on Yelp think the VG location is subpar, with indifferent service and crumbs on the seats. That’s never stood out for me but then I’ve never visited other, allegedly better locations. I just take it for what it is.

At the VG, it was easy enough to park in a surface lot nearby, hit Corner Bakery, hit Borders, hit Pinkberry (if desired) and then hit the road. I had three recent meals there during the Borders closeout sale.

I like the VG, but there’s not a lot of interest for me there and there’ll be even less so without a bookstore. But Corner Bakery will be there when I need it.

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  • Jillian

    “…it was easy enough to park in a surface lot nearby, hit Panera, hit Borders, hit Pinkberry (if desired)…”

    Apparently your subconscious also prefers Panera over Corner Bakery!

    I would agree with the subpar service comments. I’ve had problem after problem with the staff at Corner Bakery. Too bad because you’re right about it being a good lower cost alternative.

    [Heh. I'll fix that. And thanks for your other comments too. -- DA]

  • Andy

    Ahhh.. there’s one in Chino Hills…. now I know where my company gets their Corner Bakery catering from. David, any idea why the building says Lytle Creek Exchange? Is there some history about it? Personally, I feel that Panera Catering beats Corner Bakery Catering =P

    [Similarly to the "old" signs around VG, many buildings are named for local families or landmarks, as if the VG were an old downtown. There's probably a plaque that explains the Lytle Creek Exchange name (there are on some of the other buildings) but I haven't read it. Does anyone know? -- DA]

  • Doug Evans

    I go to my local Corner Bakery Cafe… the one in Chino Hills… at least once a week.

    I can take over a whole table, spread out my student papers, and spend several hours there being productive (also, I bring my iPad and surf the net using their wireless, which is maybe not so productive).

    The staff there is great… they know me by name! The layout is much more open than the VG branch, too. And, heck, I’ve always liked their food, especially their breakfasts. Especially their oatmeal.

    So, not to dispute anyone’s experience as shared above, but I wanted to give a shout-out to the Chino Hills version. Yay, Chino Hills Corner Bakery Cafe!

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