Panera Bread, an artisanal bakery and sandwich chain, will open its first shop in Brooklyn on Oct. 31 — inside the Kings Plaza Mall on Flatbush Avenue and Avenue U.
The Missouri-based company’s store will have an entrance on Flatbush Avenue, said Tom Doherty, vice president of development for Panera Bread, who added that Kings Plaza’s “visibility” made it an easy choice for the company’s first venture into the borough.
“It will act as a billboard for the brand as we enter into Brooklyn,” Doherty explained.
“Kings Plaza has high traffic and we are conveniently located at one of its main entrances.”
Panera, which boasts “cozy conversation nooks,” free WiFi and a selection of pastries, specialty breads, sandwiches, paninis, soups, and salads, considers itself a high end cafe for “fast casual” eating. It will join McDonald’s, Sbarros, Nathan’s, Cinnabon, Taco Bell and Subway in the mall.
It will also be part of Kings Plaza’s “window revolution” that began with the addition of a Best Buy electronics store: the boxy, brick-faced, 41-year-old mall has begun adding ground-floor stores with display windows.
Calls to Kings Plaza for comment were not returned.
Panera says it will open its second Brooklyn location on Adams Street between Johnson and Willoughby streets next February — where it will be in direct competition with the similarly themed Au Bon Pain eateries in the area. Panera Bread and Au Bon Pain were part of the same company until 1999.
The two new eateries will bring 120 new jobs to the borough, a Panera Bread spokeswoman said.
Anyone looking for a job opening at Panera Bread can visit www.panerabread.jobs.