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A Pan-era begins Downtown

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Crumb and get it!

Panera Bread opened on Adams Street in Downtown on Monday — around the corner from a growing cavalcade of big retailers on the Fulton Mall that are turning the area into a suburban-style shopping district.

“You’re going to see a lot more upscale chains in this area,” said Greg George, a vice president with Doherty Enterprises, the restaurant management company that owns the new franchise. “But what we’re offering is fresh baked bread and a place to get out of the office and relax.”

The soup-and-sandwich shop is one of about 1,500 Panera Bread outposts operating in North America, but as the first tenant of 345 Adams St., the former city office next to the Marriott Hotel and the now empty Morton’s The Steakhouse annex, it’s a trailblazer in its own right.

Even though it’s just down the block from Danny Meyer’s high-end burger joint Shake Shack at the head of the Fulton Mall, Adams Street is no foodie destination.

But the bread makers are optimistic they can draw business crowds and shoppers with $2.25 asiago bagels, $7 smoked turkey sandwiches, and $9 salmon Caesar salads — high-end grub that’s increasingly becoming standard Downtown fare.

Sugar and Plumm, a dessert café, and American BBQ and Beer Company, a brand new restaurant by a Las Vegas hotel developer, are slated to open in the same building this fall.

Real estate gurus say the growing chain gang — which now boasts a newly opened Gap Factory Store — isn’t a bad thing.

“Downtown is going in the direction of a conventional mall,” said legendary broker Chris Havens. “That’s what people want, and that’s what works.”

In other words, Downtown is fit for a very broad audience.

“It’s like Midtown,” Havens said. “You don’t go to Midtown Manhattan for the cool stores.”

Panera Bread [345 Adams St. between Fulton and Johnson streets in Downtown, (718) 643-0345]. For info, visit

Reach Kate Briquelet at or by calling her at (718) 260-2511.

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