When most people think of Panera Bread – the “upscale” chain coffee-house and bakery – they think of strip malls in wealthy suburbs, or nice, flashy downtown locations. Or maybe a quiet corner spot in some quaint town somewhere.
I really doubt, though, that they think Kings Plaza. I mean, isn’t that where class goes to die? And then have its corpse rolled around in feces? And then disposed of with an unceremonious kick into the questionable waters of Mill Basin?
Maybe that’s a little harsh; a memory of the Kings Plaza of yesteryear, before all the renovations and the increase in coveted retailers like H&M, Armani Exchange and, um, Quizno’s. Now the place is all ritzed up. It’s ready for some spotlight. It’s ready for some class.
It’s ready, at long last, for a Panera Bread.
Brooklyn’s first Panera Bread is slated to open on Monday, October 31, in Kings Plaza at the mall’s Flatbush Avenue entrance near Best Buy. The bakery-cafe will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday. The location will offer free wi-fi, and boasts about its “healthy” eating options, including no trans fats, antibiotic-free chicken and organic kids choices. With no Panera options in Brooklyn, fans of the chain’s paninis, pastries and breads would have to travel to Queens (blegh!), Long Island (blarghh!) or, ugh, Staten Island (blarlegghh!), so this is certainly good news for them.
But wait, there’s more! To celebrate its Halloween Day grand opening, Panera Bread is baking hundreds of pumpkin-shaped shortbread cookies and from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. children age 12 and under can stop by to decorate and eat their own special treat while supplies last.
And though I may have written this all full of snark – and a dose of contempt for Kings Plaza – I will say there is one great thing about this news. Panera Bread is looking to hire 120 employees for the Kings Plaza location, in an area where jobs continue to be in short supply. So, sarcasm aside, kudos to Panera for putting people back to work in a hard economy.