Reader Mike tells me that Panera Bread is set to open at 700 State Street, the former home of Left At Albuquerque.

Hi John!

Downtown Panera Bread opening May 3rd. Talked to a couple of employees on their way out. The smell of baked bread down there is already a nice touch.


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  1. Glenn says:

    I guess since we already have one the mystery and hoopla is just not there.

  2. Charlotte says:

    I wonder if they too will have all the free wifi squatters?… They can have the place.

  3. Milo says:

    No hype because the food is barely edible

  4. Suzie Q says:

    Sorry to say this, but it’s so sad that another awful Panera chain opening is actually considered news.

  5. Sandi says:

    Did you all take your Prozac today? Lighten up. Some people will be glad to have a job, the city will get some income, tourists are happy to see a spot they recognize, one less empty storefront on State St. It is not the end of the world.

    • Bob L says:

      Sandi –

      Thanks for the refreshing post. Very encouraging to know that the sky isn’t falling 🙂

    • Kay Lee says:

      Sandi, thank you, I agree. I am tired of the restaurant snobs. If you don’t like a place, don’t eat there. The elitist comments don’t impress me.

    • shebeest says:

      Yes, Thank you, Sandi for your positive post. I too, am happy to see one less empty storefront, more revenue for our city, and more jobs. (And I love their soups.)

      Say what you will about Panera Bread – they give A TON of money to charity – google it!

  6. Laura Knight says:

    I work downtown, walk by this corner several times a day, and they have been working day and night to get the place open…strangely, it looks like it should open any day, yes, Friday…but the Left at Albuquerque signs are still up on both sides of the building in front…hmmmmm, is this odd???

    • jonathan says:

      Panera always leaves old signs up until the very end. They don’t want people showing up before the opening and being disappointed/turned away.

  7. Jim Long says:

    They have to relocate a hive of bees in the roofline before they can put up the signs.

  8. Kristen says:

    I dunno, I like their bagels. I’m also glad to see that space occupied. Sure, it would have been nice it if was a local place, but no one could afford that rent. Panera apparently can.

  9. sbdude says:

    You, still, Charlotte. The “food snobs”, like yourself, are the only ones posting negative comments on here, and always about the plague of chain restaurants bringing down the community. That’s been an empty store front for years, so be happy people have a job.

    You’re not preventing anyone from eating at Panera, and the same goes for Chick-fil-A (We all suffered through windbaggery for that, too). Your “criticism” is mindless drivel, and has no intent to better but simply to complain. Saying “Panera still sucks” doesn’t make the bread taste any better, does it? Keep it to yourself.

    And now I’m done feeding the troll.

  10. Glenn says:

    I liked the food at the La Cumbre one too. The only thing not great at the time I went was the decor which seemed drab and old compared to others ones I’ve been to. I think they were going to install a patio in the back I wonder if they were able to do that yet. I think the “anticipation” is not there for lower state one as it was for the La Cumbre one but it will be a tourist location stop as others have said.

  11. Shaolie says:

    I ate twice at a Panera in Wisconsin a couple of years ago,
    and thought the Greek salad was actually pretty good. And the chunk
    of baguette served with it was crusty and chewy, not bad at all.
    Real butter, self-served. Had never heard of the chain before. Then
    stopped about a year ago on a road trip when I saw one somewhere in
    So. Cal close to the 210 freeway and oh dear, it was not so good,
    though I don’t remember the details–other than that the bread was
    spongy and tasteless. Then had some “Santa Fe Chicken” soup with a
    half sandwich at the one at La Cumbre Plaza soon after it opened,
    and could not believe how awful it was–soup thickened with flour
    or cornstarch, very little flavor other than salt and bouillon
    cubes, not much chicken, a few little pieces of mushy red pepper.
    Practically inedible. Sandwich not as good as a deli sandwich from
    the average supermarket. Won’t be visiting the one downtown. Seems
    like it would not be so hard to develop a chain restaurant with
    good soups, sandwiches, and salads–and how welcome would that be?
    There must be some trick to it that I can’t see. I suppose the
    motivation is primarily profit, food secondary. My advice is if you
    want to eat at Panera, better go to Wisconsin! Unless I was just
    lucky there.

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