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Panera Opening at West Farms Shopping Center

New cafe will open officially Monday but a preview party is scheduled for today benefiting local charities.

After months of renovations, Panera Bread in the West Farms Shopping Center will finally open its doors at 6 a.m. on Monday.

The store, which will be the chain’s 14th in Connecticut, will be the first in Farmington, replacing the Dunkin Donuts in the plaza in front of Nordstrom Rack.

The Panera will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner in the new 3,750 square-foot cafe and will be open Monday through Saturday from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. The restaurant seats 86 inside and 30 on the outdoor patio. Its addition brings 60 jobs to town.

“We’re happy to be part of the Farmington community and are excited to meet our new customers,” said Tereza Jaya, General Manager of the store.  “Come enjoy all of our favorites plus our early returning holiday menu items.  Plus, we have a few treats in store, including our new décor and table service where we bring the food to you at your table.”

Panera’s opening will mean not only a brand new spot to hang out and eat by the mall, but also a ton of great stuff for locals first to try out the new café. The first 250 people to the door on Monday and Tuesday will be given a free Panera travel mug good for free refills all month at the Farmington location.

And it means great things for local charities, too. The Panera is holding “Raise the Dough” preview parties to benefit four charities: the Farmington Libraries, the Klingberg Family Centers, the Farmington Chest and the Rotary Club of Farmington.

Supporters of the organizations are invited to attend the preview parties. Attendees give a $5 donation and get a salad or sandwich, drink and bakery item, as well as an early look at the new café. Proceeds of the events go to the benefit organizations.

An opening benefiting Farmington Community Chest will be today at 11:30 a.m. and the Farmington Libraries will benefit from one between 5 and 7 p.m. today. The Farmington Rotary event is scheduled for Saturday from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. 

In addition, Panera Bread Farmington’s Operation Dough-Nation® partner will be the Connecticut Sports Foundation (CSF).  The CSF is a non-profit chartered by the State of Connecticut which raises funds to directly assist the families of cancer patients with living expenses (rent, mortgage payments, food and utilities).  Panera Bread Farmington’s End-of-Day Partner, Charities of Hope based in Hartford, will receive all of the cafe’s leftover bakery items and will, in turn, distribute them to its local network of food banks.

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