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Suddenly, we have more bread choices
A new Panera opens in Spring Hill, bringing its own mix of breads, bagels and more.
By BETH N. GRAY
Published June 27, 2007
SPRING HILL - Shoppers are swarming to several new stores at the expanded Coastal Way shopping center off Cortez Boulevard near Mariner Boulevard and, as of Tuesday, they have opportunity for a new eating experience.
Panera officially opened at 11 a.m. to a long line of hungry customers. They included employees from nearby stores taking an early lunch hour, some who know the chain's reputation from their former homes in the Midwest, and several young families.
Panera, based in St. Louis and with prominence in the Chicago area, locates predominantly in shopping areas and neighborhoods, said Dee Pallardy of Lutz, joint venture partner.
"We're all about being a neighborhood place to go to, " she said. "Brooksville is building. And this brand new strip area is the kind of area we like to be in."
She also partners with six Panera cafes from Tallahassee to Panama City Beach, and has two others set for fall openings, so she knows the Panera drill well.
"We have a baker working overnight, " Pallardy said. "Everything is made by us, for us." Mark Brown of Spring Hill is the bakery manager.
Bread choices include country, French, stone-milled rye, sesame semolina, three-cheese, three-seed, Asiago cheese focaccia, ciabatta and whole grain.
Will Gallacher has come from the New Port Richey cafe to manage the local establishment. He's been with the company for more than six years.
Gallacher sees the business this way: "Our bread is like the foundation of a house, " he said. "Soup and sandwiches are the walls. Our associates are the roof."
The cafe, open 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, offers six different soups every day, 14 sandwiches, 13 varieties of bagels, seven salads, five paninis and six crispanis, or flatbreads.
Broccoli cheddar soup is a favorite and on the menu daily. The most frequently ordered sandwich company-wide is the bacon turkey bravo on tomato basil bread: smoked turkey breast, bacon, smoked Gouda, lettuce, tomato and a signature dressing. Early morning folks tend to zero in on the honey-nut cinnamon bagel.
"We try to be healthy, " Pallardy added. She elucidated: organic milk, organic cheese and no trans fats, on the kids' menu, organic peanut butter. Spreads for bagels, muffins and other rolls include reduced fat cream cheese.
Beverages range from specialty coffees and teas to iced drinks of exotic blends.
Pallardy watched diners pouring through the door on Tuesday. "This is great for a first day, " she said. "There's a line but no waiting outside. This is a perfect way to open."
Customers encountered menu options they can make via computer. It speeds preparation and serving. And customers can bring in their personal computers for free wireless Internet.
Orders can be phoned, 352-596-6533, or faxed, 352-596-6544, Pallardy pointed out. Panera also offers catering.
Pallardy cast her eyes over 144 indoor seats, tables, chairs and benches on a spacious patio, checked on the total employee roster of 60, and looked to other new venues opening soon at Coastal Way.
Michael's, the arts and crafts store, plans to open Aug. 5 with supplies and classes in every medium the store stocks, said manager Rhonda Canton.
Until now the closest Michael's was in Port Richey. Said Canton, "We know there's a lot of growth in Brooksville and we want to give people something fun to do and to learn."
The manager and staff were working through job applications this week, expecting to hire 65 employees. The store will be open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.
Linens-N-Things has targeted a July 6 opening, with linens, bedding, decorator pillows, kitchen gadgets, small kitchen appliances and household accessories. Bob Leis, with the firm for four years, has come from the Tampa store as manager.
Old Navy, a casual wear outfitter for infants through adults, for both men and women, opened recently.
Marshalls, the department store, was the first to open with clothing, a huge and splashy offering of shoes, housewares and decorative accessories galore.
Last of the major stores to open will be Petco. No information was available on its opening date.
Smaller sites are leasing. An Italian ice shop and a patio store have signed on.