Unsure of what I wanted for lunch yesterday, I strolled aimlessly downtown from the Scene's Gulch office. On a lark, I decided to walk by the Panera I've watched under construction over the past month when visiting the downtown library. Lucky me, they had just opened that morning.
It being right in the middle of lunch, I expected a long wait after walking through the packed restaurant. But I was already set on my Sierra Turkey on whole grain, toasted, with roasted tomatoes and no onions. My expectations were happily crushed as the bank of cashiers with hovering trainers quickly sped through the waiting customers. Chef Timothy Jenkins informed me that the cashiers had trained for a full week to make sure the opening would go smoothly, and it apparently was going as planned.
The just-opened Panera is located at 401 Commerce in the new SunTrust building. They're open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays and from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on the weekend. To-go orders can be phoned to 401-1171 or faxed to 401-1172.