From one end of the Post Road to the other, Panera Bread has Westport covered.
The St. Louis-based quick, casual, breakfast/soup/salad/panini and free WiFi chain already has a 4-year-old outlet on the Norwalk line, just past Whole Foods.
Its newest location — the company’s 1674th — opened this morning on the Southport border. It’s in the shopping center across from Shake Shack.
It was a soft opening — no big announcement, not even balloons out front — but a few dozen customers wandered in by noon. They found plenty of space — with an all-season patio, it’s 300 square feet larger than the Norwalk store — and a welcoming atmosphere.
Monica Gallegos, a marketing trainer for Panera Bread, was on hand to tout the brand. Her favorite menu items are a cinnamon roll for breakfast, and a soba noodle salad with shrimp for lunch.
The district manager — with the perfect bread name of Bryan Baker — says that each night, all unused products are donated to local non-profits and food banks.
(Panera Bread is open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.)
Dan, they have looked “ready” for months. What was the delay, do you know?
I believe it was an issue with power (as in electricity).
There goes the local bagel shop that’s been there for years.
Here in Tucson we have Panera (meh), Beyond Bread (yum!) and Paradise Bakery (to die for!). Lots of carbs for hungry Tucsonans! 🙂
I had thought it was already open yet chose the bagel shop this morning b/c they have better bagels and better service (based only only my opinion of the other Panera in Norwalk). I think they attract different crowds and can co-exist. Panera has its ups…free wi-fi, so-so pastries and weak coffee. Ok, at least they have free wi-fi 🙂
Bonus points: I designed the Village Bagel subshine amd sunglasses logo about 20 years ago while working for Kinkos. It was a clip art special (remember those CDs)?
I hope Village Bagels customers remain loyal. I know I will!
Village Bagels has free wi-fi too!
Not that I’ll be going to Panera, but Village Bagels? -Meh. Worst bialis ever, and the bagels are nothing to write home about.
Yet another chain store. And Panera Bread is looking to the State of CT to find out who to donate end of day leftovers to? Why not ask around at Town Hall? My suggestion would be to donate the end of day leftovers to the Gillespie Center.
I visited Panera last night, and to my dismay, there is no phone signal there at all… None! Forget the free wifi, you can’t even receive a call or text there. They’re gonna have to fix that real soon if they want to capture the “working lunch” crowd I see at other branches. Wow.