Construction Starts on Panera at DCUSA in Columbia Heights

I’ve been a lot of emails from folks asking about the Panera coming to DCUSA in Columbia Heights. Last week a permit went up so the build-out can begin. They are aiming to open in October. They will be located between IHOP and Panda Express on Irving Street. Updates as construction progresses.

39 Comment

  • I like the “ambiance” inside Panera’s Bread but their sandwiches are bland and leave much to be desired.

    • Mostly true. Until I had the Mediterranean Veggie sandwich. Give it a shot next time.

      Is Panera any good as an actual bakery? Always went in for sandwiches in the past, but I don’t think I will too much at this one (not in Columbia Heights during the day).

      • I’ve had a few good sandwiches and salads there. Not culinary masterpieces, but it’s basically fast good that is mostly healthy.

        The bread by itself and the pastries are generally meh. My fiancee likes the cookies.

    • disagree completely. I think their sandwiches are great!

  • Really? I don’t see a Panera doing well there… esp with the lack of a weekday lunch crowd.

    • Five guys seems to be doing pretty well, same with Pot Belly’s. Maybe they make enough at night and on weekends to account for a slow lunch crowd. Also for years, sandwich places in DC had the opposite problem. Big lunch crowd but no night and weekend crowd. A lot of them didn’t even open on the weekends and closed by 5 pm.

  • how is business at the IHOP out of curiosity?

    • Booming on weekend mornings/early afternoons. Surprisingly brisk on weekday mornings. So far it has not turned into the cesspool I predicted it would turn into, which is nice.

    • yet the service SUCKS.

      been there twice – with about 8 months in between visits. still horrible.

      but they are nice about being so horrible so I guess that gets them off of it?

  • Does this mean NO PANTERA in the ol’ Adams Mill Bar?

  • About time! They’ve been listed on the DCUSA directory pole thing outside Modell’s for a few weeks.

  • this is great but when is DCUSA finally going to get a pottery barn?!

  • Boom another chain in Columbia Heights! Not that Panera is lacking a good quick bite but Columbia Heights is lacking overall. It’s beginning to look like a strip mall in Virginia. It doesn’t have the DC feel and that’s what I like about DC. Further down 14th…that is what DC is about (minus the gentrification).

  • Sully – cities need amenities such as target, best-buy, and giant too. DC USA is a good addition to the neighborhood in my view and has helped attract residents, which has allowed other smaller independent businesses to open and survive. Do you think we would have a red derby, meridian pint, or a room 11 w/0 Kenyon Square, DC USA, Alegro, et al.? Maybe eventually but in this case I think the big boys helped pave the way.

    It is also interesting that you would complain about such retail when many struggling areas in DC have complained for years that they can’t get good grocery stores or retail etc. to come to their neighborhood.

  • What about DSW? When is that coming? Or is it not anymore?

  • Panera has frozen loafs of bread that they bake on site. Bleh.

    • What is wrong with that? Better than baking the dough somewhere else and trucking it in. Very few places do everything on site.

  • You can always spot a former midwestern suburban dweller by the immediacy with which they chastise big box stores moving in. They know they used to live in the burbs, those stores were in the burbs, and now when they see them they complain about the burbs!

    Its sort of like how the loudest, angriest homophobe is usually gay.

    • Not just midwestern. But honestly, can you blame us? A lot of us moved to the city to get away from that crap.

      • You moved to the city to get away from best buys, targets and IHOPs? Was that really your motivation? If you had known that one day, a best buy was going to open up within the urban core of DC would you have thought twice before moving here?

        • Not to mention that, if you’re set on not living near a Best Buy or Target, you could look at, oh, EVERY other neighborhood in DC other than Col Heights.

        • SouthwestDC

          If DC had the density of boring chain stores/restaurants that Northern Virginia does (and the traffic to go with them) I probably wouldn’t live here, to be honest. But thankfully that’s not the case. I don’t have a problem with that stuff being there, but then again I don’t live anywhere near Columbia Heights.

  • I just moved to Petworth and the closet shopping center to my house has a ran down market, cleaners, laundry mat, pharmacy and liquor store that the local drunks walk back and forth all day to. Only thing missing is a carry out. I would love to have a coffee shop, Panera, La Madeline. Maybe it would bring better people to the neighborhood. I remember my dad owned a autobody shop on 14th and Irving st and trust me that area has come a long way so please don’t complain about getting quality retail.

  • Former Panera worker: The bread is brought in refrigerated, not frozen. It’s baked overnight, and the only thing used the next day is the cheddar bread, made into croutons for the salad.

    With that being said, I think it will be good for the area. Yes, it’s chain, but they have solid fresh food, good coffee, and more free WiFi.

  • This area surely has come a long way. 5 years ago who would have thought a friggin Panera will be on Irving Street?

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