Panera Bread’s new Albany location has been open for about three weeks near Interstate 5, and the focus is on all-natural food without any additives, said store manager Amy Pease.
“There are no chemicals in our food. It’s just the right thing to do,” she added. “Everything is made fresh daily.”
Bread remains the foundation of what Panera is and a critical ingredient for many products, Pease said.
The chain also has a cafe in Corvallis that opened in late 2011, at the former Hollywood Video storefront.
In the morning, breakfast sandwiches, made with full eggs, have been hot sellers, as have souffles, smoothies, pastries, and more.
Hot and cold sandwiches, soups, including the popular broccoli-cheddar, salads and pasta are among the options for lunch and dinner.
The business also can cater for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
So far, things have been extremely busy at the Albany location, which has 70 employees.
Pease said that the majority of the customers have been from Albany so far, though there also are people who come in off of I-5 for a quick meal.
Dede Mettle of Newport and her daughter Candace Mettle stopped by Panera on a recent weekday while making a Costco run from the coast.
“These look like homemade pastries to me. They look really good,” said Mettle, who operates an artisanal baked goods stand at Newport’s Saturday market.
Jim Uerlings of Albany was looking forward to the Albany Panera opening after seeing the business’ sign for several months.
“I think Albany needs several more breakfast places, and this is a good addition,” he added.
Pease said that Panera regulars who are in a hurry can avoid lines by downloading an app through which they can order and pay on their cellular phones. Meals ordered with the app can be picked up at the front counter or delivered to tables in the restaurant.
The Albany Panera also has a drive-through lane.
Pease said the café welcomes residents looking for a place to work or study or just chat over coffee. “We’re kind of an everyday oasis,” she said.
Panera is committed to being involved in the community, she said. All leftover bread will be given to local philanthropies, and customers also can round their order up to the nearest dollar for charities.
Nationwide, Panera has about 2,000 cafes.
Panera Bread, 320 Airport Road SE, is open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Monday through Wednesday, from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Thursday through Saturday, and from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday.
For more information, call 541-666-5799.