WESTPORT, Conn. — Fans of Panera Bread in Westport may be able to sink their teeth into their favorite cafe sandwiches, salads, soups, breads and more in less than two months.
The bakery-cafe, in the final construction phases at 1860 Post Road E., will likely open in May, Angie Greene-Hicks, the Connecticut marketing manager for Panera, said Thursday.
“We haven’t set a final opening date yet, but we’re aiming for some time in May,” Greene-Hicks said.
Panera, a St. Louis-based company, signed a lease for the 4,830-square-foot space last summer . Located between Home Goods and Stride Rite in Westport Plaza, the space was formerly occupied by True Grace, a nail spa.
The Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved Panera’s plans for the space last July, a week after the plans were presented. During the first public hearing on the plans, several residents who live near the shopping plaza expressed concerns that the addition of a Panera would increase traffic and noise pollution .
As such, the commission delayed its vote on the proposal by a week. This allowed wary residents time to meet with the plaza’s landlord to discuss their concerns and possible solutions.
Once an opening date is set, Greene-Hicks said the bakery-cafe will plan for a grand opening celebration.
The Westport shop will be one of several in Fairfield County. Last November, a Panera opened on Black Rock Turnpike in Fairfield. Other bakery-cafes are located in Norwalk, Darien, Trumbull, Danbury, Newtown and Brookfield.
Like the others, the Westport bakery-cafe will be open seven days a week, Greene-Hicks said. Applications are currently being accepted for managers , salad/sandwich makers, cashiers, line cooks,dishwashers, delivery drivers and more.
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