brought coffee, tea, sandwiches and, of course, artisan breads to Redondo Beach with its grand opening in the South Bay Marketplace on Monday.
"It went off awesome," said store manager Lisa Batten. "We have an amazing staff."
The restaurant/bakery, which held a ribbon-cutting and baguette-breaking ceremony Tuesday morning, has been many months in the making.
"We settled on the site a year ago, and we've been so excited to come in here," said joint venture partner Clay Sanger.
Panera Bread prides itself on encouraging healthy choices, Sanger said. It was the first national chain to put calorie counts on its menu, and it's been voted the healthiest restaurant in America.
"Business has been fantastic … [there are] terrific people here in Redondo Beach, too," Sanger said.
Redondo Beach Mayor Mike Gin was one just one of many people who were excited about the bakery's opening.
"I'm just thrilled that they're in Redondo," he said, adding that he will no longer have to drive to Panera's Torrance location to grab lunch. "I think they're going to do really well."
Gin said he thought Panera Bread would help the entire South Bay Marketplace development and, by extension, the neighboring .
"It's a really good dynamic that's helping to make the South Bay Galleria even more vibrant," he said.
According to Gin, both the Galleria and the Marketplace are an important part of Redondo Beach's economic foundation.
Panera Bread joins , and in the Marketplace. Nordstrom Rack will open Sept. 1, and an Islands Restaurant is currently under construction.
Panera Bread is located at 1511 Hawthorne Blvd. in Redondo Beach. The store is open from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m. on Mondays through Saturdays and from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. Sundays.