EDMONDS — Panera Bread opened a new bakery and cafe Wednesday, bringing its “quick casual” style soups, salads and sandwiches with fresh-baked bread to Edmonds.
The national chain, which has won awards for its customer service, already has a location at Alderwood mall and in Bothell, which opened last month.
Its menu includes paninis, breakfast sandwiches and soups served in a sourdough bread bowl.
The bakery-cafe also includes catering, delivery and a drive-through. It’s open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, except for Sundays, when it opens at 7 a.m.
Jayson Levich, who oversees Panera Bread in the Puget Sound region, said the company is expanding in Snohomish County.
“I’m hoping to try find some locations in the Everett area,” he said. “We’re looking at Everett and Marysville, hopefully.”
Levich plans to hold an opening ceremony for the Edmonds location in January, once the holiday rush has passed. He said Panera has enjoyed a great reception in Snohomish County so far.
“Based on everything that we saw about Edmonds, it just felt right to come here,” he said.
Bob Rinehart, who leads Edmonds’ Economic Development Committee, said he hopes the cafe will bring a different kind of customer to that area of the city, which is better known for retail stores like Costco and OfficeMax than for places to sit down to a meal.
“We’re happy that it will draw people down there,” Rinehart said. “It’s just that there are not a large number of restaurants in that area.”
Rinehart said he hopes the cafe will prove popular among Edmonds commuters.
“Most people that come into Edmonds from I-5 will see Panera as they go in,” he said.
Panera is one of the fastest-growing chains in the country, according to Fortune magazine. The Edmonds location has already hired almost 50 people for its team, but Levich said the company is always hiring.
“As we go into the new year, positions do open up,” he said.
Applications are available online for managers, shift supervisors and hourly employees at the Edmonds location.