FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Panera Bread plans to be the newest restaurant to take up residence on Fairfield’s Black Rock Turnpike.
The chain bakery and restaurant will take over the former home of Mesa Mexican Restaurant in the Lake Hill Shopping Center later this month. The Fairfield location will be Panera’s eighth site in Fairfield County.
“Fairfield is a great community, and we have gotten such a positive response from the community we are excited to be here.” Tina Lemelin, one of Panera’s joint venture partners, said in a statement.
The chain also has stores in Brookfield, Darien, Newtown, Trumbull and Shelton as well as two in Norwalk. It also plans to add a location soon on the Post Road in Westport. In all the St. Louis-based chain has more than 1,500 franchises nationwide.
As the name suggests, Panera’s specialty is its breads and baked goods, all of which are baked fresh on the premises each day. The restaurant also offers soups, salads and sandwiches for takeout or dining in. The Fairfield location will also offer catering for private parties and has free WiFi available.
Along with its food offerings, Panera will also bring its charity programs to Fairfield. The restaurant collects donations for Feeding America through its Community Breadbox program. It also donates its leftover baked goods to local food pantries at the end of each day through a system it calls “Day-End Dough-Nations.”
The company has not yet selected a local charity to receive Fairfield’s “Day-end Dough-Nations.” You can offer suggestions to Angie.Greene-Hicks@panerabread.com .
Panera had planned to open Nov. 6, but Hurricane Sandy pushed the grand opening date to an unannounced day in the future. When the store opens, it will have special first-day discounts and giveaways.
“New bakery cafe openings are always exciting; it brings a new energy to the community,” said Ashley Church, Panera’s local general manager.