New Panera to open Thursday

Published 8:36 pm Monday, December 3, 2012

The new restaurant opens Thursday at 6 a.m. (Tracy Agnew)

After much anticipation among many who live and work nearby, a new Panera Bread restaurant on North Main Street is set to open Thursday.

“We’re completely excited,” said marketing manager Cori Lintner. “We’ve had people knocking on the door for a few days wondering when is the day.”

The restaurant will be dropping off select menu items at a few area businesses Monday through Wednesday to bring attention to the opening. On Wednesday, staff at the restaurant will get the chance to practice their skills during an invitation-only drive-through event that will support the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia.

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On Thursday, the restaurant will open at 6 a.m. A bread-cutting — rather than a ribbon-cutting — will be held at 9 a.m.

“I think the word is out,” Lintner said. “People are definitely looking forward to it.”

The location in the new shopping center will be the first drive-through Panera Bread in Hampton Roads. The company already has 11 restaurants in the region, including one on College Drive in North Suffolk.

Some other buildings in the new shopping center, which was build on the location of the old health department building, are in earlier stages of construction. Next door to Panera, a Sleepy’s Mattress Store already is open.

The stores are located at 1217 N. Main St.