To be honest, I am not a fan of Panera Bread, but people seem to love it. So, good news everybody!, according to the Capital Center Commission meeting agenda, Panera is coming to Providence Place. Word is it will be going to the space vacated recently by Napa Valley Grille. My personal feelings about Panera aside, this is good news for Providence Place and good news for Francis Street. Having that street side space in the mall vacant was doing no favors for the street life on Francis Street. Panera is a passive seating environment, so people will be able to grab their sandwiches and sit at tables on the street without waiting to be seated as they are at Cheescake Factory or Joe’s American or other Francis Street restuarants. People on the streets is good news in my book.
And, I may not like Panera, but I often hanker for an iced coffee when I’m in Providence Place and never want to drag my ass up to the 3rd floor to go to Dunkin Donuts. So likely, at some point, you will see me in Panera ordering an iced coffee.
Capital Center Commission – Meeting Notice
Wednesday, September 15, 2010 – 12:00 Noon
Department of Planning and Development
400 Westminster Street, 4th Floor Auditorium Providence, RI 02903
- Roll Call
- Approval of Commission meeting minutes of June 9, 2010
- Acceptance of DRC meeting minutes of April 13, 2010 and May 4, 2010
- Parcel 13: Providence Place
Proposal by Panera Bread to alter the existing storefront and to install awnings and signage on the Francis Street elevation. Presenter: Jim Mandeville
- Parcels 3E, 3W, 4E and 4W: Parking Lots
Request by Capital Properties, Inc for an extension of interim parking approval. Presenter: Todd Turcotte, Capital Properties
- Parcel 4W: Parking Lot Proposal by Capital Properties, Inc. to install a new concrete stairway in the existing slope to provide access from the parking lot to street level. Presenter: Todd Turcotte, Capital Properties
The last two items are to do with the massive swathe of parking lots behind the Citizens Building. Surface parking is not allowed in the Capital Center District, so item 4 is requesting an extension of a waiver to allow for it. Item 5 creates a stairwell so people don’t have to crawl up the slope. I guess if we’re going to have parking, and in this economy, it seems we are (nothing is being built here for quite some time), we should at least make it easier for those drivers to transition into pedestrians.
I’m no fan of Panera either, I think its awfully overrated.
Why aren’t you a fan? Please elaborate.
I think mostly it was expectations not living up. I had heard people rave about the damn place and bemoan the fact that we didn’t have one in the city. When I finally got around to visiting one and realized it was just a McDonald’s with faux leather chairs and mind numbing muzak, with horrible over-priced processed sandwiches and rude staff run strictly to franchise formula, I started to question the taste level of some of my acquaintances.
I don’t go out of my way to go their either, but they do have a few key items that worth a try. The strawberry salad they have in the summer is really good and they have a couple of pastry items that are hard to come by at other places that I like. Otherwise, I’d say it’s like Starbucks versus D&D, most people really like one and hate the other.
@ Jef, that sums up my discontent in a nutshell as well.
Interesting, I found their staff rude too and not apologetic. The food is pretend high-end and forgettable.
the parking lot use extension should be made with conditions that the parking lot is improved so that it complies with the city landscape ordinance (30% tree canopy cover)
Sorry to tell you this, but I’m pretty sure Panera doesn’t have iced coffee. I know that sounds rediculous. I used to work in a shop next door to a Panera and people complained about it all the time… they can give you some ice, and you can add coffee, but they don’t have pre-chilled java.
Panera is fine for what it is. It is a quickserve joint. It is not going to be as good as a local place. It is annoying when people want to go there instead of a place you can get real food if you are a foodie. That said, 90% of America are not foodies and just want cheap and fast and faux healthy. I’m kind of sick of everyone around complaining about places just to complain when at least in this instance they are at least fitting in with the ideals of this site with an urban street facing location. If they can make some money and bring activity to that corner that isn’t just people milling around waiting for rides then I can’t see what the problem is in any way.
I honestly can’t believe that someone on this site would endorse a drive-thru on Hope St. as long as they get a quirky coffee shop but then complain about this because they just don’t like Panera. Like, I seriously don’t get it at all.
I can’t get behind anyplace that doesn’t serve iced coffee, how uncivilized!
Now Ian Donnis is reporting at WRNI that P.F. Chang’s is on it’s way to where Napa Valley Grille used to be.
Capital Center Meeting Agenda