Drive-through coming to Geneva Panera

A new drive-through lane at the Panera in Algonquin opened recently along the Randall Road corridor.

In the mornings since the lane opened at 451 S. Randall Road, it's been filled with commuters driving up to grab a quick cup of coffee, a bagel or some pastries as they head up and down the corridor. The restaurant has seen streams of customers pull up to the drive-through window at lunchtime, at dinner and in between as well.

The Algonquin convenience is a preview of what is to come just a little south down the Randall Road corridor.

By next summer, a second Panera will open with a drive-through along Randall Road.

The current Geneva Panera location in Randall Square will move just a little south to a 5,000-square-foot building previously occupied by Applebee's.

When it reopens in the new location at 1690 S. Randall, there will be a drive-through, said Eve Metheny, director of brand marketing for Hamra Enterprises, which operates 33 Panera Breads in the Chicago area.

The new Geneva location is expected to open in early summer of 2015, Metheny said.

“All new Panera Bread bakery cafes come with a new bakery display, a built-in rapid pickup area and more,” she said. “The 5,000-square-foot building previously occupied by Applebee's features a drive-through for the convenience of Panera Bread customers. The new location in Geneva offers a warm and welcoming environment including intimate seating areas, comfortable chairs, a community table and free Wi-Fi Internet access.”

The Geneva location will look similar to a second Aurora location, which is expected to open this fall at Kirk and Mesa Lane, Metheny said.

The existing Geneva location, at 1492 S. Randall, opened in 1999, while the spot in Algonquin opened in 2001.

Overflowing: After reading a recent Roamin' Randall column that said the Houlihan's in Geneva was a great spot to bring your old wine corks, so they could be recycled into new products, a St. Charles couple took action.

Ellen and Don Misch emailed to say they'd been saving their corks for years, never knowing what to do with them.

Thinking she would use them for a craft project, Ellen Misch began saving the corks 20 years ago, and collected more than 20 pounds of them.

Earlier this month, she decided to donate her collection to ReCork, via the Houlihan's in Geneva.

Her husband drove the 20 pounds of corks to the Randall Road restaurant in Geneva Commons.

“We are delighted that these corks will be used to make shoes, floors, etc. and won't be dumped in a landfill somewhere,” she said. “It would be good if more people knew about it.

“We plan to bring up the subject every time we order wine in a restaurant to see if we can interest others in doing the same,” she said. “Great to find another recycling project.”

• Amy Williams' column covers all the news of business along the Randall Road corridor from South Elgin to Batavia. Contact her at or at (847) 894-5036.

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