OK so maybe that title is a bit exaggerated. Of course I could live without these things, just like I could also technically live...
When I moved here from Dallas four years ago, one of the things I missed was the Panera Bread just down the street from my house. I enjoyed going early in the morning for coffee and danish, and I would stop there for lunch often because of the free WiFi. Even though it’s a big chain it actually fit in well in our neighborhood.
It’s been years since I thought about that place, so imagine my surprise when I saw the Panera logo while sitting in Camarillo traffic on the 101. At last! I could get that great Caprese panini close to home, and hopefully recapture that feeling I missed from Dallas. The sandwich was good, but no such luck on that latter part. This Panera is a completely different vibe from my old neighborhood gathering spot: Noisy and packed to the rim with tank-top wearing outlet mall patrons. It wasn’t pretty… kind of like being on a flight into or out of Orlando in the summer.
Just as I was losing hope I noticed this on the back of the menu: “Coming soon to Ventura!” How great would that be? I know that there are a lot of people here who are very anti-chain restaurant and I understand that. But a consistently well-managed Panera would be awesome. It fits that huge gap we have between Jim & Rob’s Fresh Grill and Brooks for an everyday, no-brainer meal when you don’t feel like cooking. Hopefully they’ll put it behind the mall next to the new Trader Joe’s that’s going in… If you have any info about where it’s going please comment and let us know!