Panera Bread Opens Wednesday in Lee Airpark
Franchise is 44th Panera eatery to open in the state.
Panera Bread will open at 6 a.m. Wednesday in the Lee Airpark Shopping Center, next to the new Chipotle. Amy Burke, regional training manager for the bakery, said that the Edgewater shop will employ about 50 people.
Bakers came in Tuesday night at 10 p.m. to start baking fresh bagels, bread and pastries. They wrapped up work at about 5 a.m.—just in time for the 6 a.m. opening.
Burke said that Bethesda-based Lemek, LLC, has been looking at locations in the Edgewater area for about four years. The company owns all of the Panera Bread Company locations in the state of Maryland, 44 including the Edgewater store.
"We've been looking to come here. Our next closest location, aside from Annapolis, is down Route 2 in Prince Frederick," Burke said.
On Tuesday, they were putting on the finishing touches—cleaning the windows and wiping the countertops. Two managers visited neighboring businesses for what the company calls "bakery buzzing," where they deliver fresh-baked goods as a way of announcing their arrival to neighbors.
"All of our products are fresh," Burke said. "And at the end of each night, anything that is left over is donated to homeless shelters and food pantries. We don't want things to go to waste."
The store will sell the same menu items that are available at their other locations, including bakery goods, soups, sandwiches and coffee.
The Edgewater Panera will be open seven days a week at the Lee Airpark location. Hours: Mon-Sat, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday.