Panera Bread is coming to Douglasville.
A request for approval of a development plan for the restaurant will come before the city's Planning and Development Committee next Tuesday, March 14, at 4:30 p.m. The restaurant is scheduled to be at the location of the former Joe's Crab Shack at 2868 Chapel Hill Road.
"It is good for the city as it takes away a vacant property from the city in a very high-profile area," said Douglasville Community and Development Services Director Jonathan Lynn. "The design of the building will conform to our façade requirements and be a stand-alone structure with a drive-thru."
According to Lynn, the site plan shows the restaurant will be 5,000-square-feet. It wasn't immediately clear if Panera planned to repurpose the old Joe's Crab Shack building or construct a new building.
Panera is known for its fresh breads, high quality sandwiches and soups and pastries.
Lynn said there is no set opening date yet for the new Douglasville Panera Bread.
On its website, Panera says "100 percent of its food is 100 percent clean."
"Food as it should be," the site reads. "That's food we think tastes better, feels better, does better. It's clean food. Food without artificial preservatives, sweeteners, flavors or colors from artificial sources."
The Joe's Crab Shack has been closed since September of 2016. The site for Douglasville Panera Bread was initially a Rio Bravo Mexican restaurant that was constructed around the time Arbor Place Mall was built.
The two closest Panera locations to Douglasville are in West Cobb and the Vinings area, according to Lynn.
As of September 27, 2016, there were 2,024 bakery-cafes in 46 states, the District of Columbia, and in Ontario Canada operating under the Panera Bread, Saint Louis Bread Co. and Paradise Bakery & Café names, delivering fresh, authentic artisan bread served in a warm environment by engaging associates, the Panera website notes.
Panera Bread began in 1981 as Au Bon Pain Co., Inc., according information on the company's website. The website notes the company was founded by Louis Kane and Ron Shaich and prospered along the east coast of the United States and internationally throughout the 1980s and 1990s and "became the dominant operator within the bakery-cafe category."
In 1993, Au Bon Pain Co., Inc. purchased Saint Louis Bread Company, a chain of 20 bakery-cafes located in the St. Louis area, according to the Panera website.
The company then managed a comprehensive re-staging of Saint Louis Bread Co. Between 1993 and 1997 average unit volumes increased by 75 percent, the website notes. Ultimately the concept's name was changed to Panera Bread.
In May 1999, all of Au Bon Pain Co., Inc.'s business units were sold, with the exception of Panera Bread, and the company was renamed Panera Bread.