A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Closing the loop on Albany’s Panera

Written May 29th, 2019 by Hasso Hering

No, it’s not beer: Checking out the new Panera Bread with a blueberry muffin and tea on Wednesday.

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)

The restaurant on Wednesday afternoon.


Plenty of seating available outside as well as inside.



Posted in: Uncategorized

15 responses to “Closing the loop on Albany’s Panera”

  1. J. Jacobson says:

    I am saddened, Hasso. Your stellar reputation is cheapened by this plaudit to Panera. I realize you are no longer on the Lee Enterprises payroll and must earn your way, but this smacks of pay-to-play. A most unfortunate turn of events.

    • Hasso Hering says:

      There he goes again, jumping to conclusions without the slightest basis in fact.

      • J. Jacobson says:

        One might simply ignore this Panera Product Placement, but that would instantly be construed as benign neglect. All serious readers ask is transparency. Whether the author accepted some quid pro quo from Corporate Panera or did not is not at issue. This is, after all, a free country…a place where a man with a bike can cover the news any which way he or she might want.

        Given the total absence of local news coverage in the so-called main stream media, the community is dependent on sources as deeply entrusted author of the Panera article. Therefore, trust is critical. The reading public relies entirely on a perceived bond of trust.

        • DSimpson says:

          Perhaps you could do the other blog readers a favor and take abstain from commenting for a few months, or (better yet) years.

          • j. jacobson says:

            Several agree with your estimation. However, we still live in a free society where speech is protected. When I read comments like the one directed at me, I thank whatever gods there may be for the First Amendment…and I give thanks to Hasso for allowing me access.

      • centrist says:

        More like hopscotching.
        JJ seems to presume that Panera provided some form of compensation to HH for “product placement” on the blog
        Eating a snack in the outside sesting area isn’t compensation.

        • J. Jacobson says:

          “…seems to presume…” seems a bit harsh, wouldn’t you agree?

          Instead of shooting the messenger, why not choose to keep a closer eye on the comings and goings of Hasso Hering. Keep a database on his innocent drive-by reviews of this cash cow business or that.

          Mr. Hering does provide a valuable resource for the on-line community. No one should be lulled into a stupor, thinking that Hasso isn’t attempting to become the highly influential “man behind the curtain,” and perhaps earn some of the elusive spondoolie on the side.

          • centrist says:

            I suggest that you throttle back. Your current course has taken you to the land of libel. A different course is prudent.

            If you feel the need to block this, I understand

  2. HowlingCicada says:

    Cars parallel-parked on a street give a feeling of protection from moving cars and encourage lively café culture and pedestrian friendliness. Cars in a large (or small) parking lot facing people and buildings feel like a menace – and occasionally are a real menace (driving through windows several times a year around here).

    Bicyclists look like second-class citizens, with the rack hidden away, next to the “drive thru.” Was it an afterthought to meet some imposition? The place looks lonely.

    This is not a complaint against Panera; it’s just another observation of the sub-optimal land use and unpleasantry that seems to be an unavoidable by-product of the American Car Culture. I don’t have a solution.

    • Rich Kellum says:

      First class citizens are the ones who foot the bill….

    • Albany YIMBY says:

      Couldn’t agree more. Business do what customers want though. If we want to change our culture to a less car-centric and more human-oriented one, we should stop Albany’s horrendous sprawl in North Albany and across I-5.

      Our dysfunctional society, isolation, distrust, inequality, obesity rates and pollution are in part due to the suburban lifestyle many Americans crave for.

      • Ray Kopczynski says:

        “…we should stop Albany’s horrendous sprawl in North Albany and across I-5.”

        Enemies at the gates! I got mine, no one else is allowed in… When folks perceive there’s enough of a problem, they won’t buy homes in those areas. Hasn’t happened yet.

  3. Shawn Dawson says:

    Thanks for letting us know that Panera is open. Tami and I do enjoy their food quite a bit, perhaps we can get out there this weekend. Will have to keep it in mind when we make our Costco trips.

  4. thomas cordier says:

    thanks for final update HH. Did not know they were open. We’ll give them a try.

  5. Mike says:

    RIP Tom Tom.


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