It’s official! I now know where I’ll be having lunch for the rest of my Boston workdays. The Panera Bread on Boylston Street is finally open, and if you know anything about me it’s that I have an unusual affinity towards all things made with carbs.
The BSP (Boylston Street Panera) opened with lots of fanfare yesterday, approximately five months after we first spotted the “Coming Soon!” sign in the storefront window. The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, and the line was out the door as servers passed around food samples to loyalists who showed up for the hoopla.
For the sake of transparency, I have to tell you that I was given a free lunch for blogging about the BSP’s opening. But also for the sake of transparency, I would have done it anyway. As I’ve said before, Au Bon Pain has become my go-to lunch spot, and I was beyond excited when I found out another bakery/cafe would be coming to the ‘hood. Also excited to see how this restaurant throwdown is going to play out.
So some quick observations from Panera’s first day in the Back Bay:
1) The demand is there. For the hour I spent inside the line was out the door, and even despite the crowd, people were serviced quickly and efficiently, with managers expediting the food orders. Well done.
2) The outdoor space is premium. So we haven’t had that many nice days in May, but the weather seems to be making a turn for the better, and there’s lots of seating outside the BSP to give you time to eat and soak up some rays. Also great for people-watching. And it’s heated.
3) For me Panera Bread has always had the feel of a place where you can go and sit for hours and get work done or chat with a friend. This BSP has that same feel.
The BSP is being considered Panera’s “flagship” bakery-cafe and is the company’s 39th location in the Greater Boston Area. Building on Panera’s community partnerships, the Back Bay location will participate in its own Operation Doughnation which will benefit Childrens Hospital Boston. Click here to read about Panera’s other community partnerships.
So head on down to 450 Boylston Street and get yourself a You Pick Two! Or something equally delightful. I hear for summer Panera is introducing a lobster sandwich to its menu. That’s LOBSTAH to you fine people.
Let me know what you think!