What's Cooking: Panera Bread to open in Westborough
Proving there's dough to be made in the bread business, Panera Bread is opening its fourth MetroWest location in December and plans to launch a fifth in January.
Panera Bread will open its latest bakery-cafe early next month in the Bay State Commons shopping plaza at 600 Union St., Westborough. An exact date has not yet been set. In January, the company is scheduled to open another eatery in the former confines of Hollywood Video in the 9/27 Shopping Center in Natick. The company already runs MetroWest restaurants in Framingham, Marlborough and Shrewsbury.
"We had been interested in going to Westborough for quite a few years, actually," says David Peterman, a partner with Mitchell Roberts in PR Restaurants LLC. The Newton-based company operates 25 Panera Bread franchises in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine.
"We were never able to the find the site that was appropriate for us until the developer of (Bay State Commons) called us and said, 'We'd love to have you as a tenant."'
PR Restaurants had also been looking for a location in Natick for several years, according to Peterman. "Initially, Stop & Shop (the center's anchor store) didn't want a restaurant to go in there," he says. "They've since changed their minds."
Peterman says both Westborough and Natick have the right demographics for Panera Bread.
"We have a successful track record in MetroWest," he continues. "Our first restaurant was in Framingham and it's our most successful location....So we're happy to expand our presence and serve more people."
The 5,900-square-foot Westborough location features "intimate" seating areas, comfortable chairs, a fireplace, a community table, free WiFi Internet access, a drive-through and a catering service.
The bakery-cafe offers a variety of artisan breads and other specialty breads, along with bagels, pastries, baked goods and hot and cold espresso beverages. The Westborough eatery is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner, offering tossed salads, signature sandwiches and hearty soups served in edible sourdough bread bowls.
For the past 14 years, Panera Bread has helped dozens of charitable organizations through Operation Dough-Nation, a program that allows Panera Bread and its customers to aid local charities. The Westborough eatery will make donations to the youth and teen programs of the YMCA Boroughs Family Branch. At the close of each day, Panera Bread will also donate bread and baked goods to community organizations in need.
Headquartered in Richmond Heights, Mo., Panera Bread owns and franchises 1,115 bakery-cafes under the Panera Bread and Saint Louis Bread Co. names.
Who says haute couture and haute cuisine can't mix?
Certainly not Carlos Pava and Tess Enright, the husband-and-wife team who own Tess & Carlos, an upscale clothing store, and Restaurant Pava, an upscale eatery, located side by side in Newton Center.
The Weston residents opened their first clothing store in Cambridge's Harvard Square in 1995. Newton Center was next in 1999, followed by Boston's Newbury Street in 2006, the same year Restaurant Pava opened. The company plans to launch a fourth clothing store, according to Enright. "We just don't know where yet," she says. "It's definitely in the works.
The eatery's genesis is tied to Carlos Pava's desire to always own a restaurant, according to Enright. "He also liked the idea of having the restaurant attached to the clothing store," she says. It's a rare double bill with Louis Boston and Cafe Louis offering a similar example on Berkeley Street in Boston.
Restaurant Pava's cuisine is described as modern French and Italian. Appetizers range in price from $9 to $15, entrees $22 to $30 and lunch dishes $8 to $18. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday. It's closed Sundays. Grant Halsey serves as the executive chef.
The dining room seats 33 and the bar six.
Restaurant Pava emphasizes fresh ingredients and its pasta is homemade, notes Enright. She recommends the tagliatelle alla bolognese.
Main dishes include Arctic char, duck, black angus ribeye, Berkshire pork, rack of venison and lobster bisque squash.
"It's very European," says Enright. "People who come here say, 'It doesn't remind me of being in a suburb. It reminds me of being in a modern cafe in Europe."'
The restaurant's Web site is www.restaurantpava.com.
What's Cooking runs periodically in the food and dining section. If you have any restaurant news, contact Bob Tremblay by phone at 508-626-4409 or e-mail him at email@example.com.