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Here Today: Can Panera Thrive on Black Rock Turnpike?

Panera Bread plans to take over the former site of Mesa, Mackenzies, Black Rock Tavern, and Pizzeria Uno on Black Rock Turnpike -- do you think the bakery chain will be here to stay?

Here Today: Can Panera Thrive on Black Rock Turnpike?

Multiples tenants have come and gone at 2320 Black Rock Turnpike since Pizzeria Uno closed in 2009. That portion of the Lake Hills Shopping Center has housed Black Rock Tavern, MacKenzies, and most recently, Mesa.

Panera Bread hopes to make a lasting impression on the site when it moves in this fall. The St. Louis-based bakery chain recently opened a new branch in Norwalk and plans to open in Westport as well.

Considering the shaky history that building has had in tenants since 2009, is Panera the right choice for the site? Readers who weighed in mostly agreed.


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"I think having Panera Bread at Black Rock Turnpike is an excellent choice," Terry Fronzi said on the Fairfield Patch Facebook page. "The buzz in Fairfield is positive!"

Andrew Graceffa agreed. "It will do just fine there... Einstein's is really popular and it would seem that there is capacity for another to succeed."

Some lamented the idea of welcoming another chain to Black Rock Turnpike (Panera will sit near Trader Joe's and Pier 1 Imports, and is also close to Starbucks, Einstein Bros. Bagel, among other big names).

"Fairfield can and should hope for and do better than another chain," Doug Garni said on Facebook.

But Robyn Bilotta countered that a chain is the "only thing that will do well in that location."

"It has to be something that already draws a crowd and is successful."


Do you think Panera Bread will thrive in the Lake Hills Shopping Center? Tell us what you think and why in the comments.

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