Proposal for a Panera Bread restaurant includes a drive-thru

Kevin Solli, an engineer with Solli Engineers in Monroe, presents a proposal for modified site plan for a Panera Bread restaurant on Route 111 to the Planning & Zoning Commission Thursday.

Land use boards already approved Towne Line Plaza, a new commercial development with a Noble gas station and convenience store, medical office and retail buildings, and a restaurant at 205 Monroe Turnpike. But changes are needed to accommodate Panera Bread as one of the tenants.

Kevin Solli, an engineer with Solli Engineering in Monroe, represented the owner, 205 Monroe Turnpike LLC, in its Planning & Zoning Commission application to amend the approval to allow a Panera Bread with a drive-thru window.

Solli noted how Panera Bread is a well known brand at the commission’s meeting Thursday. “I think it would be a great addition to the town,” he said.

The modified site plan proposes to reduce the size of the building from 4,900 square feet to 3,235 square feet and modify the parking lot to accommodate the drive-thru. The restaurant would have 49 parking spaces and a 480-square-foot patio area.

Leon Ambrosey, a commissioner, expressed concern over trash haulers being able to get in and out of the property with the drive-thru going around the building. Solli said trash pick ups can be scheduled during non-peak hours.

Solli said the Connecticut Department of Transportation approved a traffic signal for Route 111 at the plaza’s driveway.

Of the restaurant building, he said, “we’re looking to add some architectural features to the front facade,” adding some possibilities are gables and dormers. “We don’t know exactly what it will be yet.”

Chairman William W. Porter recalled how the initial building design had clapboard siding and gable ends. “We were happy with it and approved that building design,” he said. “I know Panera has their prototypes, but the one in Sturbridge was built only three years ago.”

That Massachusett’s location is a break from Panera Bread’s usual designs. The building has clapboard siding and a pitched roof with shutters.

Porter said the commission should wait for the Architectural Review Board to make its referral before continuing the hearing for the site plan modification and special exception permit for the drive-thru.

The hearing was continued to Nov. 7.


  1. What makes Panera think that this location will be successful when the location at Sand Hill Plaza in Newtown couldn’t make a go of it?

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