Dough! Panera Bread chain to join the Downtown restaurant boom

Dough! Panera Bread chain to join the Downtown restaurant boom
Barry Rice Architects

Start calling Downtown the borough’s chain gang — the national sandwich shop Panera Bread is coming to Adams Street, joining a swath of multi-location retailers and restaurants that are taking over the neighborhood.

The self-styled “artisan” bread and soup shop just signed a 15-year-lease to occupy two floors and one-third of the long-empty retail space in the towering 345 Adams St. building — part of the adjacent Marriott Hotel and Morton’s The Steakhouse annex — near Willoughby Street.

“Our vision of a bustling Adams Street retail corridor is beginning to take shape,” said Joshua Muss, whose Muss Development owns the building. “Morton’s [is] prospering [and] hordes of tourists, students and business people demand to have more shopping and dining options. We are proud … to provide them.”

Panera’s move fuels the recent Downtown chain explosion, and it’s not stopping here. The Long Island-based shop — whose menu is reminiscent of a high-end Au Bon Pain — will be one block away from an incoming Shake Shack at Fulton and Adams streets, and one day feed the shoppers coming from the just-opened Aeropostale and the coming H&M and Filene’s Basement, and Sephora.

For those uninitiated in the tastes of the rest of America, Panera is a slightly upscale fast-food sandwich shop. Metaphorically speaking, it is to Subway what Chipotle is to Taco Bell. The Adams Street location would be the chain’s first in Brooklyn, though there are two in Queens, an eastern suburb.