National restaurant chain coming to area

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Photo by Joe Ferry | A Panera Bread bakery-cafe will replace the closed Sonic Drive-Thru in the Quakertown Plaza Shopping Center.
Photo by Joe Ferry | A Panera Bread bakery-cafe will replace the closed Sonic Drive-Thru in the Quakertown Plaza Shopping Center.

If everything goes according to plan, a new Panera Bread bakery-cafe could open late next summer in Quakertown.

Located along Route 309 in the Quakertown Plaza Shopping Center, Panera would replace the Sonic Drive-Thru, which closed earlier this fall.

Dan Blaznak, of American Development Co., which represents the shopping center, said he was pleased to find such a high-quality replacement for Sonic.

“We were anxious to not have a vacant, dark building,” said Bleznak. “We are fortunate to get Panera. A deal fell through for another location, so the timing worked out for us.”

Panera Bread operates 1,625 company-owned and franchise-operated bakery-cafes in 44 states and in Ontario, Canada as of September 25, 2012. Its menu features fresh breads and bagels, pastries, soups, sandwiches and tossed salads.

Bleznak presented land development plans to Quakertown Borough Council at a work session Nov. 26, showing a 4,300-square-foot building replacing the Sonic, which will be demolished. With council's blessing, the plans will move on to the borough and county planning commissions for review.

Blaznak said there would be no difficulty complying with the borough's zoning or building regulations.

Figuring a three-month construction schedule, Panera spokeswoman Theresa Clark said the bakery-cafe could be open by next August or September.

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