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panera-bread-construction
Credit: Emily Xu

The largest Panera Bread restaurant in Philadelphia is expected to open on Penn’s campus on May 20, just days after most students will leave for summer break.

The restaurant will open in the vacant space on 40th and Walnut streets, once occupied by the popular Harvest Seasonal Grill and Wine Bar. Although the restaurant was originally slated to open by the end of April, the opening date was changed because of construction delays, American Bread Company Director of Development Peter Strang wrote in an email to The Daily Pennsylvanian.

The two-story restaurant will feature several conference rooms, community tables, and a private room for meetings and studying. There will also be an outdoor patio that seats 40 people, Strang said.

Panera will offer traditional, kiosk, and online ordering along with small order delivery and catering. Any order that exceeds $5 will be eligible for delivery on Penn's campus. There will be a $3 delivery fee, Strang said.

Strang said the restaurant will be the largest in the greater Philadelphia area given the location's two-story building. Although he said the company originally tried to split up the building, after they experienced issues with the landlord, they decided to take the entire space to provide additional seating areas.

"We have been actively looking in the UPenn [and] University City area for several years now," Strang said.

Students who will be on campus over the summer said they are looking forward to frequenting the restaurant, which they say is also popular in their local hometowns.

College freshman Natasha Gupta, who will be living in her sorority house near Panera over the summer, said she plans to eat at Panera once every two weeks.

"I am a huge fan of Panera and I used to eat there all the time at home," Gupta said. "I usually get the Frontega chicken panini and broccoli cheddar soup."

Credit: Emily Xu

College sophomore Anne Lally, who will also live near Panera this summer, said she was excited because she frequently eats at the restaurant in her local hometown.

“I’m excited to have the Panera and will probably try it and shop there a few times,” Lally said. “I have gone to Panera a lot at home, and I enjoy their soups and their seasonal salads.”

"There are a lot [of Paneras] in my area back home," Wharton sophomore Maddie Blake said, who will be working on campus over the summer. "I particularly love the bagels and mac and cheese so I will definitely be stopping in there over the summer."

Panera has also started hiring and is accepting job applications for the new location.

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