Panera Now Open in Columbia Heights

Thanks to everyone who wrote in. Panera is located in DC USA next to IHOP and across the street from the Columbia Heights metro on Irving St, NW.

28 Comment

  • Thinking it had opened on Friday, my wife and I went by this weekend to check it out. Upon trying to open the locked doors, the general manager quickly came over to the door and let us in and warmly welcomed us. He explained that they had planned to open on Friday but due to a delay out of their control (Pepco… I believe he said), they will open today instead. They very kindly offered us some pastries (on the house) and said that they hoped to see us again soon.
    Say what you want about the prospect of another chain restaurant at DCUSA, but I was very impressed by the hospitality and genuine kindness exhibited by the manager. I for one will go back simply because good service should be rewarded (and I like their sandwiches 🙂

    Props to Panera!

    • What a great experience–thanks for sharing, PTB. I would have probably stopped in there eventually, but now I’m looking forward to seeing some quality customer service, which we all know is so absent in the DC food industry!

    • Speaking of which, I wanted to share with PoPville that we had over-the-top good service at The Heights this weekend. I was sure it was in response to complaints on this blog!

      • I actually always have great service there, which is why I make the trip up there from U Street even though we have so many good choices down here.

  • Mark the date… we’re officially a world class city.

    • We’re getting close, but until an Arby’s opens up in Columbia Heights, we aren’t there yet.

      • I love Arbys! They have these new Angus Beef sandwiches, the Philly sandwich is AMAZING! I just had it yesterday in Laurel and wondered why there are no Arby’s in DC except for inside of Georgetown Pavilion I think…DC actually does not have as many national fast food franchises as it could.

  • I’m looking forward to going to this location. I don’t care if it’s a chain; I like what they serve.

    Now if only we could get a Cosi (or maybe a Starbucks) in that large vacant space next to Sala Thai in the Park Place building, at the Georgia Ave.-Petworth Metro station…

    • Definitely want to see another restaurant or coffee shop up there. Hate seeing those two spots vacant!

    • Oh gosh, that would be literally amazing.

    • Starbucks won’t move into the Petworth Metro Development unless A. Magic Johnson opens it like he did for Howard University or B. Several more low income housing and their associated drug dealers move out two blocks down the street.

      • Starbucks won’t move into the Petworth Metro Development unless A. Magic Johnson opens it like he did for Howard University or B. Several more low income housing and their associated drug dealers move out two blocks down the street and C. HOUSE strip club is forced to close.

  • Cosi is so much better.

  • Well, I’m not a big fan of chains, but as far as those go, Panera has at least the option to eat healthily with fewer chemicals than most.

  • yeah it’s a chain, but their food is way better than so many independent places so I’m all for it. I have found very few places that offer a similarly solid menu and also have decent coffee, probably why they’re so successful.

    the sandwich sales at the 14th street starbucks are about to plummet.

  • Love me some Panera. Inexpensive, healthy options, predictable. Their breakfast sandwiches are awesome.

    Not every new place needs to be an authentic, ethnic dive. Sometimes you just need a quick bite to eat.

  • Whatever. I love Panera. I worked at one back when I was a teenager, and I have to admit that I still CRAVE their food from time to time. And I am so sick of Cosi and Au Bon Pain that I now crave them even more.

    And open at 6AM!! Cinnamon crunch bagel as a reward = real motivation to do my morning runs.

    I hope Columbia Heights continues to maintain diversity in its restaurants – typical chains around DCUSA and great local food everywhere else. I try to make sure to give all of them my business.

  • YES!!! I am so excited! I am going straight there after work today and getting some of their delicious bagels. FINALLY.

  • I was hoping for a Potbelly’s but oh well.

  • Having worked at the Panera Buckhead Location in Atlanta for a good portion of my teen years, I doubt I’ll ever step foot into this place but they could certainly have done worse.

    • That seems to be what everyone who has ever worked in food service says about every restaurant they’ve ever worked at.

    • Tell us some horror stories.

    • Weirdly my experience working at a Panera didn’t result in anything horrible enough to put me off from liking the food. The soup comes frozen in bags. Some of the sandwiches have like 1000 calories. I used to hide in the fridge and eat the spinach-artichoke spread with a spoon. That’s the worst I’ve got!

      • the fact that they use frozen soups (and not canned…or mixes) shows that it’s better than most chains.

    • I ate at one somewhere in Maryland that was badly infested with flies. That couldn’t have been a good sign for the place’s level of cleanliness.

  • Free Cookies today!! What more do you need? They are handing out free (delicious) cookies & member cards outside the store right now.

    Especially nice as they brought them over to us stuck in traffic on Irving St. as we are most afternoons, since one lane is usually blocked by food or beer delivery trucks for Acre 121 & Lou’s.

    They didn’t have actually build a new building with street-level retail space without a rear-access loading dock did they?

  • em

    Speaking of restaurants opening…Chop’t opened at 17th & Pennsylvania today and the line was ridiculous (as in, at least half a block long). Who is that desperate for a salad, especially when the area already boasts several decent places to get (varying levels of customized) salad (Potbelly, Cosi, Breadline, G St. Foods, a few of those big food service-type bars, Au Bon Pain – all within a block).

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