Ever since the signs went up more than a year ago, there’s been a certain amount of interest in Panera Bread opening a restaurant in Albany. So for the sake of closing the loop now that it is open, I rode out there for a little snack on Wednesday afternoon.
Panera Bread has about 2,100 outlets around the country, including franchises in Eugene, Salem, and Corvallis. The Albany business, at 320 Airport Road, on the site of the former Tom Tom restaurant, is what you would expect from having visited others: Clean place, good-looking food, quick service, extremely friendly staff.
And of course everything looks new, because it is. The doors opened on May 20.
The location is designed for auto traffic, obviously, like everything else in that part of town. But there are five bike racks too. I didn’t use them because I didn’t want to bother locking up. The racks are around the corner and can’t be seen from the seating area outdoors.
And that, I found, was a pretty good spot to have my snack in the springtime sun. (hh)