Panera Bread Coming to Cotswold Mall

Panera Bread Coming to Cotswold Mall

Panera Bread will open soon in the Cotswold Mall.  They are taking over the former Blu Basil’s space.  Restaurant Traffic stopped by and can report they have completely gutted the place.  This will be the 8th Panera Bread location in Charlotte.  Panera is a very popular bakery that you can also get sandwiches, salads and coffee.  They will do well in the Cotswold area.

panera cs sign

Panera Bread on Urbanspoon

You can find me working the PR angle for restaurants around town and keeping the RT readers informed about the latest happenings.


  1. How come the only things that seem to work in Charlotte are these corporate chains like Panera?

    • Pretty open ended question but here goes… The “corp” business have set guidelines/standards that are very often missing in mom & pop operations. These help to make the business run more efficiently. Corps also have buying power and in the big picture it is all about cost, expenses and revenue. Lastly, people are creatures of habit. We want consistency and a predictable experience. You get this cookie cutter with chains.
      There are great mom & pops out there but if you got into their operations you would see they have taken tricks and tips from corporate chains to make their business run smoothly and efficiently. And then… you have the freak of nature, lightning in a bottle type places that just fall into success despite themselves.
      Cotswold has scored some nice additions! This should lead to some more too.

  2. Ben besides Cowfish in this town what other local places would you consider to have caught “lightning in a bottle” here in Charlotte.

    • Amelie’s, MAC’s Speedshop (seriously, if you really stopped and looked at their first location, there is no reason what so ever that they lasted, let alone become an institution), Merts (of course! That is just flat out folks who know how to cook soul), Lupie’s (I’m still not sure why I que up to eat here… but I do) and I am still on the fence about Pinky’s. The reason I say that is that it has so much to do with Greg and his style… both cooking and appearance and we all know this isn’t his first rodeo. (Penguin)
      Another place that I am just a huge fan of and it is a complete and utter mom & pop is the Secret Chocolatier in Cotswold. Not a restaurant, but their chocolate is so superior over anything most will ever have. It is quickly becoming a must have if in Charlotte.

  3. I think you can add Sir Ed’s to that list!

    • I love Sir Edmond Halley’s but for me there is a difference between a great local haunt and lightning in a bottle. That is not to take away at all from Sir Ed or their staff.
      I would also question which version of Sir Ed’s you were referring to… the original that closed in 2010 or the new one (kind of hard to call it new)? If anything, the lightning moment was the group of investors that quickly stepped up and kept it going.
      I also personally have a beef with strip mall bars with drop ceilings… I have been in therapy for years now. Damn it… now I’m craving some Bangers and Mash!

  4. P.S. As a Cotswold resident, I’m really excited to see Panera moving in. It’ll be nice to have a great eatery with some lasting power! I think I’ve seen 5 different restaurants in that location in the last 10 years.

    • T, I am so very curious. What is missing in Cotswold? What would you like to see still?

    • The trick over there for that 10+ years – and oh so many failed concepts – was that Charley’s had a very, very favorable lease that locked out just about anything that would want to be there (Salsarita’s -ok…)

      Guess that’s what you can get if they put you in the back of the ‘mall’ and rip out the roof to make a courtyard. I LOVE Cotswold, but have always been disappointed at that back alley loop deal. Binders renewed, so they must be doing ok, but talk about a drag…and The hair salon… And the Rack Room Shoes that disappeared during the night. Seems like it all wants to be a lot more.

  5. What about Brixx Pizza? Started here on East Blvd (I think) and now has 30 locations around the Southeast.

    • Would having the first McDonalds be lighting in a bottle? They are definitely not a fast food chain, but they are a chain… now. They do exactly what I stated above. Take aspects and lessons and apply them to their concept. Last time I ate an original pizza idea was at Wolfgang’s Pizza Bar… and hell, it was originally rolled out in Cali in 2008-09. (Smoked Salmon Pizza if you were wondering). The point? Pizza is like sex. Even bad sex is still okay. (ducks!)
      To try to clarify, the original Brixx might be note worthy… kind of like the MAC’s Speedshop. I only go to the original… the others just don’t have the feel for me and I have told them that directly. That magic is hard to re-capture.
      Now with that said, you have officially earned your Official Charlottian Green Card (you can now call yourself a native!).

  6. Also did you see where Ely Portillo of the Charlotte Observer quoted this story and website last night about Panera Bread?

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