Panera Bread has been a long time favorite of my daughter's and mine, so it's exciting to see it opening here in Lubbock. It's a comfortable eat-in place with a wide array of wholesome, fresh bakery items, sandwiches, salads, soups and more. I haven't seen one with a drive-thru before, but what a great option.

When I found that the ribbon cutting was coming up, I was anxious to go in and see how things were progressing. I wandered in, past the construction, uninvited and they were very welcoming. Everything was still being set up. I think they will be busy this week getting it all in place, but there's no doubt that this franchise has a solid structure and consistent quality in other markets where I've enjoyed sitting down for a good meal.

"All of our bagels, pastries and breads are baked fresh every single day. At the end of the night anything that's left over we donate to charity and then we start fresh every single day," said Cindy Drisaldi, director of operations for the Cain Holding Group. "So that's something that most of our customers, and people that we deal with don't even realize that we do."

"So we're very active in the community. We partner with food banks...we're really looking forward to being here in Lubbock," Drisaldi said. She told us that training is underway this week: "We're here to get the whole staff trained and be ready to open on Friday."

Panera opens November 18th in the West End Shopping Center at 3004 W. Loop 289. According to a Lubbock-Avalance Journal report, Panera has 1,946 bakery-cafes in 46 states, the District of Columbia and in Ontario Canada.

You can find out more at Panera.com.

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