Bread lovers in and around Carpentersville will have a new place to score their favorite treats by the end of this year.
Panera Bread has announced plans to open a free-standing shop this fall inside the building that once housed Jameson's Charhouse on Route 31, adjacent to Spring Hill Mall, in Carpentersville. Panera operates more than 1,700 locations in 45 states and serves up "fresh, authentic artisan bread," according to its website.
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"I think it's going to be an excellent fit to have a reasonably priced menu with quite a bit of variety, and I think it will work well for that particular location," Carpentersville Village President Ed Ritter said. "We are really looking forward to it and I think it will be a well-patronized business once it opens."
Rouse Properties, the owner of Spring Hill Mall, also owns the property Panera Bread is leasing just east of the mall. A small slice of the mall is in Carpentersville, while the majority of it lies in West Dundee.
West Dundee Village President Chris Nelson sees Panera's addition as a potential boon for both villages.
"It speaks to the vitality of the Spring Hill Mall area and it'll bring significant foot traffic to the area," Nelson said. "If people are going to have lunch at Panera or dinner at Panera, hopefully they'll shop at Barnes and Noble's or Macy's (in the West Dundee portion of the mall)."
There has been quite a bit of activity at Spring Hill Mall recently.
Besides acquiring Panera, the mall also secured Nestlé Toll House Café, which is slated for a Feb. 15 opening. The cafe will offer gourmet coffee, fresh-baked cookies and pastries, as well as paninis and premium sandwiches.
Amy Prew, the mall's general manager, said the cafe will further enhance the center court where customized seating and free Wi-Fi were recently installed.
"We are excited to welcome two nationally recognized brands like Panera and Nestlé that further enhance Spring Hill Mall's diverse dining offering," Prew said in a statement. "We believe these additions, shortly following the opening of Flaming Grill & Supreme Buffet this past fall, provide local consumers with an unmatched selection of restaurants that offer high-quality food coupled with an attractive atmosphere."