CassieInUP's Blog

Jan. 13, 2008 at 5:10pm

A new Panera...

Or, where the heck is Bald Hill Rd?

So hubby and I were driving back to UP from Half-Price over by the mall, and took the Union to Center St route. Just as we were approaching the light to make a left onto Center, I noticed a billboard next to the battery shop touting a new Panera making it's way into the area. Besides the fact that a single mini-quiche contains nearly a week's worth of fat and sodium, I find the chain to carry tasty treats, so I tried to make a mental note of where the new store was going to be. However, I couldn't for the life of me figure out where Rte 2, Bald Hill Road was.

Once we got home, and I took another cold medicine-induced nap, I set my mad Google Skillz to work, yo. I think that the Panera billboard in question may be a little misplaced. According to Google Maps, it's a smidge over 3,000 miles and 4 toll roads away, in quaint Warrick, Rhode Island. Huh??

I think I may have misread the sign, so the next time I pass by, I'll take a look again. Or, maybe some of you intrepid souls out there might have some insight that I might have missed? I know people flock to the place, but do they really expect us to spend even MORE time in traffic and adding untold hours to our commute?? Just who do these bready folks think they are??? Eeks, I'm gettng a little uppity here. I better take some more Tylenol Cold and go back to my happy place. I'm sure I'll see some of you guys there.

comments [11]  |  posted under center, panera, restaurant, union


by KevinFreitas on 1/14/2008 @ 6:40am
Is this the company you're talking about? If so, there's one in Lakewood, Gig Harbor, and Federal Way. Maybe it's time for Tacoma to join in the fun. I'm definitely down since they look to offer free wifi along with their other baked treats.

P.S. - Welcome to the local blog world Cassie!

by intacoma on 1/14/2008 @ 8:03am
Ive been to the one in lakewood I thought it was terrible, it was so commercial feeling. Was packed though. Does karinas(sp?) bakery bake break? I would love to get fresh baked break from a local place

by KevinFreitas on 1/14/2008 @ 8:38am
Ive been to the one in lakewood I thought it was terrible, it was so commercial feeling.

See: Starbucks. I suppose there's room in this world for local and not so local. I don't mind a mix of both to draw folks to a place that's familiar and hopefully expose them to something that's not as familiar.

by Angela on 1/14/2008 @ 9:05am
I know there's a Bald Hills Road leading out of Yelm but that's way far away from Route 2 heading east out of Everett!

I went to the Panera Bread in Federal Way and really liked it (was interesting getting an apple with my sandwich instead of fries!) but I have yet to return. Nothing against them, there are just so many dining choices I haven't made it back there.

by CassieInUP on 1/14/2008 @ 10:26am
Thanks for the welcome, Kevin! I've been a lurker here and on a few other local blogs for a while and figured it was time to start participating!

I got my intro to Panera Bread when I was living in Kent. I moved back to T-Town a year ago, and haven't been back. I understand the "corporate chain" feel that some get, but then again, it WAS Kent... ;-)

One plus is free wi-fi, and that was a Godsend when the lights went out last winter. We managed to find one of the last hotel rooms in the area because we could get online at Panera. I'm still confused about that address on the billboard, tho.

by intacoma on 1/14/2008 @ 1:15pm
Starbucks just fired their ceo for that very reason, the board didnt like some of the things that have been implemented over the last few years, such as the freshness seal bags. (The aroma is lost that people enjoyed), or the new machines that are so tall that people cant see the barista, etc. The exceo now ceo is going to make some drastic changes to make sure they stay on focus with what they want to do best, coffee. Does this mean death to the sandwiches who knows. (sorry for being offtopic)

by thriceallamerican on 1/14/2008 @ 1:47pm
Coffee is what Starbucks does best? Dang, they must not do anything else very well either...their drip tastes like ass. ;-)

I've only been to a Panera once, and it was in Wisconsin, so take my impressions with a grain of salt, but they definitely seemed to have the service down to an efficient art. Not unique, not local, but the store was sort of comfy/cozy, not too noisy, the food comes quickly, and the atmosphere is pretty good for meeting someone for either a fast bite or a longer visit. Sort of like Starbucks with freshly made sandwiches–the profit comes from moving lots of people through the line really quickly. That said, I'm not sure Tacoma needs it...the suburbs may need a chain restaurant to come in and create this sort of venue for them, but Tacoma is big enough and dense enough to have places similar to Panera that are more homegrown and unique.

by Erik on 1/14/2008 @ 2:20pm
Here's one of the last Sturbucks Coffee I had:

by Suzy Stump on 1/14/2008 @ 3:34pm
Although weird, Panera's French onion soup in a bread bowl is tasty.

by KevinFreitas on 1/15/2008 @ 4:05pm
I talked with a rep from Panero's HQ today. He said they exploring putting a shop somewhere in Tacoma but wouldn't say or don't yet know where. If anything opens up the soonest it would happen would be the latter part of '08.

by CassieInUP on 1/17/2008 @ 2:53pm
Just so everyone knows, I'm not all excited about the possibility of a new Panera here or in Rhode Island. I just was wondering where in the heck it could be, since I didn't recognize the address on the billboard. It serves a purpose, just at SBUX does; corporate food served up with an efficiency that Mr. Ford would have been quite proud of. They do have tasty pastries, so if you're hankering for a huge bear claw at Kent Station, or the new Gig Harbor center, then go for it.

If I had the choice, however, and this is what I want to be clear on, then I'd rather opt for the local place that might not be as quick or have as much of a variety of baked goods. At least I know my dollar is staying in town, and not going out to some unknown corporate entity who's corporate HQ are based 3,000 miles away.

Dang, now I've got a hankering for some pastries and coffee. I guess I'm off to the Mandolin, I haven't had a piece of their coconut cake in ages!!

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