Eating the crust is mandatory.
Panera Chipotle Chicken and Bacon Flatbread
Credit: Panera

Panera Bread is known for, well, bread. Not only is it right there in the name, but they've been big-time advocates of both quality bakery items and the concept of using bread as a bowl. You know what also uses bread as a (sort of) vessel for tasty ingredients? Pizza. But somehow, the combination of Panera and pizza hasn't existed since 2008. 

That's about to change in a big way. Panera launched several new Flatbread Pizzas, making it not just a one-off menu item, but a whole product category filled with options fit for any mood or budget. 

Panera is putting out different editions of Flatbread Pizza, each of which utilizes extra finely-ground flour that's finished on a pizza stone to achieve a delicately crispy crust.

For those who want to stick to the basics, the no-frills cheese is a great way to dip your toe into Panera's new foray into the world of flatbreads. Featuring fresh basil and tomatoes, the Margherita is another classic that needs no introduction. For something a bit more bold, chipotle chicken and bacon should hit the spot, merging the tastes you might find elsewhere on Panera's menu with the new flatbread format. 

With Panera Bread significantly beefing up its delivery efforts as well, the time seems right for them to feed Flatbread Pizza to their hungry fans. 

"Our guests have been asking for this for years," Panera Bread's Chief Brand & Concept Officer Eduardo Luz said in a press release. "We think Panera's bread heritage and outstanding ingredients meet both the desire for high quality, crafted pizza as well as a growing customer off-premise behavior."

Panera's Flatbread Pizza will be available nationwide. And given what we know about their bread, this is one pizza where you should definitely consider eating the crust.