MONROE, CT — First Selectman Ken Kellogg announced that a Panera Café will definitely open in Towne Line Plaza on Monroe Turnpike during comments made at the Monroe Chamber of Commerce’s 55th annual dinner Wednesday.
Panera is rebranding its restaurants to make every location a standalone Panera Café. Monroe’s location will be the second Panera Café to open in the nation. The first was in St. Louis, Mo.
“I’m really proud to say, I’m announcing it here for the first time, that the developer had contacted me early this week and they have signed the deal,” Kellogg said. “Panera Café is coming to Monroe.”
Dinner guests seated under the tent outside the Monroe Diner erupted into cheers. Through comments on Facebook, many town residents had expressed support for Panera opening in Monroe whenever the application came before the Planning and Zoning Commission.
On January 2, 2020, the commission approved a Panera Bread restaurant for the plaza at 205 Monroe Turnpike and Kellogg said the business was scheduled to open later that year.
But then the COVID-19 pandemic hit and the project was put on hold.
Mike Schinella, a developer and the owner of the property, came back in March of 2021 with a modified proposal for a Panera Café, to which the Planning and Zoning Commission issued an amended approval.
“They have since totally rebranded and have a whole new concept, a whole new restaurant design that they call Panera Café,” Kellogg told guests at the Chamber dinner. “It’s like a modern take on Panera Bread.”
The 3,600-square-foot Panera Café will be built on the same property as the Noble gas station and convenience store. The conceptual plan for the plaza also includes proposals for a medical and a retail building in the back of the site.
The café will have patio seating for outdoor dining and a drive-thru.