Reliable sources tell me that Panera Bread just signed a lease at 700 State St., the former home of Left At Albuquerque and Ma Dolce Vita. The popular eatery opened their first Santa Barbara location at 3851 State St (next to La Cumbre Plaza) last month.

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  1. Jerry says:

    SL……I totally agree! State St. is becoming more main st. That is such a great spot for somethng really interesting but the rents are so out of control the landlords only want financially strong chains. I understand their wants but…………..PLEASE no more chain stores! hey! How about ANOTHER Starbucks!

    • Glenn says:

      That sounds noble Jerry but the almighty dollar is the key and if people did not want to go to Starbucks etc wouldn’t they go out of business too? Just playing devil’s advocate on this.

      • Jerry says:

        Glenn…I fully understand the economics of this. Landlords, which many times are REIT’s or pension funds, need a certain rate of return on the “investment” .Many times the small biz owner can’t handle the strict financial credentials needed to pull off these leases. Worth the owners to wait for the right numbers/rents. AAA tenants increase the value of a building vs. an independent business owner. The chains can afford to “carry” a new store until they pick up market share etc. etc.

        Try getting a biz loan of any kind today to start anything. Unless deep pockets or a chain it is nearly impossible these days.

        Oh well…I still try and support small independent businesses when at all possible.

        • Glenn says:

          You know I had a coworker just start in the area and try to steer him to all kinds of good places we have to offer but after all that he is still going to McDs! I have a feeling people want to go to places they are familiar with(starbucks panera etc) which is why they will go there and get a bagel sandwich over Ultimate Bagels. I wanted to go check out Ultimate but they always closed too early for me, maybe that had something to do with it. I at least got him going to Sushi Teri a bit and still working on him!

  2. Suzie Q says:

    I 100% agree! Sad.

  3. Rye says:

    Totally lame! That would have been a great spot for a unique local restaurant or interesting night spot. Instead we get a few steps above Subway.

    • Mav Alan says:

      Funny how a community can be so incredible closed minded.
      Let’s start with the basics this is America are you going to say
      you don’t like Panera because mom and pop are not running it.
      Panera gives more back to community locally and nationally then
      most companies, it’s an American company employing our friends our
      families. The kids working there seem to be great kids, should we
      not like them if they are only here to go to school? They are not
      locals,they must be bad too. Right? Or maybe we can enjoy the fact
      that we have another option and one less empty eyesore on State st.
      All while helping SB be better

  4. Jamie says:

    The Left at Albuquerque building has been vacant since 2009. There is nothing wrong with the building owner wanting income from a financially stable tenant with a very successful track record.

  5. Papa John says:

    Panera has its place and time. If I need a quick meal with my son after little league on Saturday a.m., we might head to Panera on upper State. If I’m heading downtown for a date with my spouse, it’s not gonna be Panera.

    • Margaret says:

      Papa John, Why not go to South Coast Deli, Three Pickles or Paninos, for a quality lunch that is locally owned and excellent. Maybe some of their product is even locally procured, compared to a national chain that’s product comes from afar?

      • sbdude says:

        Because most people don’t want to leave an arm or a leg at the counter when they buy a sandwich?

        As far as your local procurement argument is concerned, Panera bakes all their bread at the location, and their ingredients are locally sourced.

        Not directed at you, Margaret, but I’m getting a little tired of the “local is better” argument. Higher prices for the same quality of food does not equal better.

        • N says:

          I completely agree. There are so many people here posting misinformation to support their arguments as to why so-and-so chain is worse than various local places. The sad thing is that other people believe them because they don’t do their own research to find the facts. I have eaten local food that isn’t fresh and doesn’t taste good, and I have even gotten food poisoning from local places over the years. Local can be good but in no way automatically equates to better. If you want to support a local eatery for the sole reason of it being “local,” that’s your choice. But others just want good quality food. If it happens to be local, that’s great. But if it’s not local, that’s great too.

          • Bob says:

            I think the “local is better” argument (in this scenario at least) is less about quality of the ingredients and/or finished product and more about where the money goes.

            Personally, I try not to ever visit chains of any kind. When I go get a sandwich at Metropulos or 3 Pickles, or a coffee at Handlebar or the French Press, the guy/gal taking my money is often the one that owns the business. Their employees are friends and family. They’ve [usually] got a vested interest in keeping you happy. They aren’t some guy 25 tiers up the corporate ladder living in Chicago. They are our neighbors. I don’t mind paying an extra dollar for that.

          • Sam says:

            Also-many national chains are franchises that can be locally owned and staffed. The local Quiznos and McDonalds are prime examples of this.

          • Jamie says:

            $20,000 per month is going to a local landlord. Thousands per month will be spent on wages for local employees. The argument that chains funnel all the money out of town is totally bogus.

      • Steve says:

        Interesting that all 3 places you mention close early (3pm or 4pm). Panera closes at 9pm. So the local places remove themselves from the list of choices.

  6. Mike says:

    Commerce is great. If the formula works…work the formula. That’s exactly what Three Pickles et al are doing. The rent is $20 grand a month triple net at this address. Not easy to turn a profit on that. Good luck.

  7. Joe says:

    Don’t worry everyone Panera Bread could be the next Boston Market, Ruth Chris, Chevy’s, Ruby’s, Fat Burger or Noah’s New York Bagels that tried to come into Santa Barbara. If you don’t serve cocktails and your rent on State Street is over 20k consider yourself not so lucky. Santa Barbara downtown lunch business is horrible. Good luck with 1 million dollar remodel improving someone else’s property.

  8. Lily says:

    Totally agree!

  9. FOTOMATT says:

    What are the chances the city would embrace a location similar this being used as a cooperative effort with several small businesses operating out of one large space like Reading Terminal market in Philly or Essex street market in NY. Also agree with Mike; loopnet lists the rent here at $25,888 a month not including the triple net charges, that’s a s#@t load of soup.

  10. N says:

    I like Panera, but I agree that one is enough. I’d rather see a place we don’t already have. But having so many vacant buildings downtown for such long periods of time (years) isn’t pleasant or attractive. So is a 2nd Panera better or worse than a vacant building…?

  11. Sam says:

    Hilarious. I was just sitting at the upper State Panera having a discussion with a coworker over a $7 sandwich talking about how Panera was looking at 700 State a few years ago but then decided to go uptown. Who knew they would consider both locations? For what it’s worth, the upper State location was completely packed for lunch and the parking lot was full. That said, given the choice, I’d much rather eat at South Coast Deli, Panino, or Three Pickles. It may cost $1 more per sandwich but I think their food actually tastes better. I eat at Plaza Deli all the time. Their food is better AND less expensive than Panera…just less variety. Time will tell if they can be successful downtown. They are the fastest growing franchise in the US…hopefully they aren’t getting ahead of themselves.

  12. Glenn says:

    I have thrown the argument in on the past of the Habit Burger, starting here then branching out, should we stop them from branching to other communities? Starbucks was also a single store once as was InNOut etc. so big picture you are eating at someone else’s hometown place. But I guess if the money stays with a local owner then that money goes back into this community in some way, though you can have a local owner owning a franchise place too. What is good about this guide is that those like us who like to experience new culinary things have to a place to find them and be able to by “word of web” say the places we like(or don’t) to the readers of this site and with our posts people slowly realize for instance that Killer B exists over Woody’s or Mac’s exists over Brophy’s. Its nice that we have that power to point in the right direction…

  13. Ray Goldenberg says:

    I really like Panera and think it is great that they are adding a another location. These locations employ locals. This new location will employ local folks which is a darn site better than no one being employed at this location now. This does not mean I will not also patronize our local sandwich shops. BTW, I am a local business owner and I have to compete with national and international companies. Competition makes good businesses better.

  14. Andy says:

    Ew…the one they already have in town is terrible.

  15. Papa John says:

    In spite of Margaret’s protest, I offer that Panera is a good place to take my son. They offer quick service and a decent kids menu, unlike South Coast Deli, Three Pickles or Panino. With a 5 1/2 year-old in tow, eating “local” is a luxury, not a priority. Having said that, we frequent Natural Cafe, Pizza Mizza and The Habit at La Cumbre Plaza. We’ve also had some luck at Fresco Cafe in Five Points, although it’s not really a kid-friendly restaurant, especially with the outdoor seating adjacent to a busy parking lot.

    Maybe this isn’t the place, but I would love to get recommendations on eateries that are good for families or small groups of young kids, say kindergarten to third grade. Something besides Rusty’s California Pizza Kitchen, Kahuna Grill and the fast-food places.

  16. Pete says:

    Wow the backlash against Panera this time is surprising. Perhaps it is due in part to the insidious amount of hype the other location received here before it opened. Too much publicity and hype seems to have backfired. I still have not been to Panera. As I wrote before the giddy comments on this forum in advance of the opening of a sandwich shop did seem a bit over the top. Reviews thus far have been mixed, although mostly the service seems to be the issue.

  17. N says:

    I’m not sure if I would consider a few comments on a website significant. Those of us that read these sites are actually a tiny minority of the general population in this area. Those who actually post are an even smaller subset of the tiny minority, and are usually just the ones who feel more strongly about their opinions. Most people I talk to have no clue what edhat or this website is. Thus, it’s easy to get a skewed view of what the general populace thinks.

  18. Charlotte says:

    Don’t get me started about Marshall’s!

  19. Charlotte says:

    Which comments are you referring too? Why don’t you join the forum and urge others to as well…we need some fresh meat!

  20. Papa John says:

    Good call, Ron. Silvergreens is a great alternative to Panera. We have been there once, and I don’t know why we haven’t returned. May have to remedy that this weekend…

    • leviticus11 says:

      They have a really good after 3 deal that’s like… a burger and a beer or a half salad and wine for $8. And really everything else on their menu is a sweet deal anyway.

  21. CB says:

    I have to throw in my two cents and say I do not recommend Silvergreens. Went there to get their version of a Backyard bowl since Backyard bowls was closed at the time. Very disappointed. Had the same experience at Blenders, trying to get their version of what Backyard bowls does so well. Anyhow, Silvergreens for me seemed to be not much more then a slight improvement on most any other fast food joint. Went to Paneras and was not impressed with them either. We don’t need these places, we have enough Paneras, Starbucks (to the point of being absurd), and other run of the mill places. SB could do way better and should.

    • Ray says:

      Since we have a free market system, the market place will decide whether we have an absurd amount or not.

      • CB says:

        Okay, maybe 3 Starbucks within 5 blocks give or take, isn’t too much. Maybe a total of 8 Starbucks in SB (not counting those in Goleta, IV, Carp), is just meeting supply and demand and so the people’s voices are being heard, sort of. Am I being sarcastic here? YES. Because I remember a time in SB when the chains did not out number the places that were one of a kind, the chains had their place in the mix but were more in balance to a downtown, or upper State Street or Mesa or Goleta that was very unique and ran the gamut from pricey to affordable.

        • Ray says:

          Whether you are being sarcastic or not, the public have voted with their wallet. The Panera folks are planning on opening their 2nd Santa Barbara location. Folks will again vote with their wallets on whether 2 are too many locations, just the right amount, or whether we should get more Panera locations. The USSR had a managed economy and we saw how far that got them. Thank goodness we do not have a managed economy.

  22. Sean says:

    News-Press reporting today that Panera reps confirmed 700 State street

  23. CB says:

    South Pasadena is BRILLIANT to have planned so well. Knowing this can be done SB should jump on board while there is still time because it’s sad to see it become like any place USA as far as shopping and dining goes.

  24. Charlotte says:

    Where does one go in this town for a real bagel??!! I’ve been back here for 11 years now and I am still searching! Turnpike Von’s and only that particular Von’s has DECENT not great but ok onion bagels!! There are no Jewish delicatessens or bakeries in this town!! It’s so odd!! Where do all the Jewish folks go?

  25. Glenn says:

    Only thing I can think of is Jack’s Famous Bagels(in this guide).

  26. Charlotte says:

    Has anyone ever been to Fred’s Jewish Bakery? It’s on Robertson in West L.A. The best bagel on Earth!!! As far as Delis are concerned, Canter’s, Junior’s (Jewish) and my favorite of all time! Home of the Godmother! Bay Cities (Italian) in Santa Monica! Now that’s a sandwich! Too bad the Italian/Greek deli closed on State Street, they had a sub similar to it. What a shocker that was when they closed. But rest assured, Panera is coming to downtown State Street!

  27. Sandi says:

    Best local bagel: Bagel Cafe in IV. The nearest to the real deal. Get there early or they are all gone.

  28. N says:

    Where on earth do you people get this stuff? Is it just your desire to badmouth anything and everything that’s non-local? I’m sorry, but if you’ve found better bread at Vons, then you’re definitely going to a different Vons than I am…

    Panera doesn’t “ship in dough”. According to their website:


    “Every day, at every location, trained bakers handcraft and bake each loaf from scratch, using the best ingredients to ensure the highest quality breads.”

    I do agree that their bagels aren’t very good. They taste more like regular bread than bagels. But I love their french bread and other non-bagel breads.

    • N says:

      I apologize to both SL and Charlotte. You were right. I just called Panera to ask, and they verified that they don’t make the dough from scratch in the store. Their website is really misleading. That proves I don’t work for Panera, or I would have already known this, haha. Btw, I’m not the same person as the person with username Nancy.

      I do still like a lot of their breads tho, better than some of what you can get at our local bakeries, even if they are “real” according to your definition.

  29. N says:

    Charlotte: No, I don’t work for Panera. The information I posted is publicly available and comes directly from the Panera website (I even provided the link…). I’m a local resident who enjoys Panera. One of my pet peeves is when others state things as “fact” that have no basis in truth. If you don’t like the taste of something, that’s your opinion and is perfectly fine. But don’t spread misinformation and tell others that Panera uses frozen dough or ships in dough…

  30. Nancy says:

    Charlotte, dear – I am still laughing at your outrage and use of the word “authentic” to describe bread.

    P.S. VONS is also a big huge evil corporation, but somehow you are able to forgive them and eat their bagels.. (so is the Habit, Natural Cafe, Paninni, Fresco… all chains. Shall I go on?)

  31. claudia says:

    In the end! it will be packed always and make a ton of money! I LOVE PANERA!! ad i’m sure im not the only one. the one in La cumbre is always packed!

  32. Glenn says:

    I believe they are expanding a patio setting into either the parking lot towards state or behind near the church. I saw a proposed map they had posted near the restroom you can check out next time you are there. I wonder if the proposed lower State one is the same owner or not?

  33. Mike says:

    Any updates on the progress of this? The for lease signs are still in place and there is no sign of any activity. On a side note…the old Sharkeez has become a nice lounge for the homeless as they are using the old outside seating area, complete with couches, for a nice comfy place to set up house.

    • John Dickson says:

      No new news. If the uptown location is any kind of guide, assume there will be no visible activity at all for an extended period of time followed by a sudden burst of construction and a grand opening.

  34. Mike says:

    The for lease signs are down and they are working on the building. Roof is first and then interior. Exterior needs some major help too as does the weed infested parking lot. Good luck, Panera Bread, welcome to downtown!

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