by ANDRIA THEODOROU
Panera will open in late November, according to Chris Porter, director of Transfer and Off-Campus Student Services.
The new Panera Bread at the UC will be located on the second floor.
“At this time, it is in the pre-construction phase,” Porter said. “This includes necessary state permitting and logistics planning.”
The commonwealth of Virginia has yet to approve changes to Panera’s building plan, causing the delay in construction.
“Whenever you do any construction (new or renovation) on a building that is on state-owned property, you have to go through an agency called the Bureau of Capital Outlay Management, or BCOM,” said Porter. “They are part of the Department of General Services for the Commonwealth. They are the building code officials so they will go over the plans and either approve, reject or ask for clarification. You can not begin the project until you’ve gotten their go-ahead.”
“Any venture like this takes time, from negotiations to contracting to permitting before it is open,” Porter said. “You don’t always have control over how long it takes because there are so many factors.”
Bodacious Burgers, the pop-up restaurant intended to hold students over before Panera’s opening, will remain open throughout the rest of the semester.
Some students are looking forward to eating at the new Panera.
“I absolutely love Panera,” said junior business administration major Cynthia Orrock. “I love the broccoli and cheddar soup, it’s delicious, especially on a chilly fall day. I also enjoy all the flavored tea they have to offer. The mac and cheese is amazing too, one of my favorites.”
“I’m looking forward to having Panera on campus, and I dig their chicken avocado melt so I’m hoping to see that on the menu, and my favorite drink is the chai tea latte,” said sophomore education major Julia Sweeney.
“I like that Panera does offer healthy options and is a great option for soups and salads. It’s definitely more convenient, I can just walk to the UC and enjoy Panera food,” she added.
Others are less enthusiastic about the opening of the new Panera in the UC.
“I think Panera is overpriced hospital food at they end of the day, so there’s that,” said freshman Ian Philip Carmona.