This week, QSR got an exclusive media tour of the first Panera Bread to open in Manhattan.

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The new location opened Tuesday, Feb. 6, at 330 Seventh Avenue at 29th Street.

The Manhattan store marks a milestone for the fast casual brand, bringing its total store count to 1,500.

Panera expects to open three other Manhattan bakery-cafes in 2012. They will be located on East 86th Street, Fifth Avenue at 40th Street, and Union Square–all locations that Panera’s COO Scott Davis calls “neighborhood-oriented” to reinforce the brand’s character.

The Seventh Avenue bakery-cafe features 102 seats including a mezzanine seating area. The location will include all of Panera's signature amenities including a relaxing, comfortable atmosphere and free WiFi, as well as catering and freshly baked goods baked on-site each night by artisan bakers.

Panera's loyalty program MyPanera will also be offered so that Manhattan customers can enjoy rewards including complimentary products, invitations to special events, and access to special recipes and communication.

All of the Manhattan bakery-cafes will support City Harvest through the Company's Day-End Dough-Nation program and the Community Breadbox program.

“We're getting deeper and deeper into sustainable food sourcing,” Davis says. “We've been very proactive in trying to increase the quality of our ingredients over time naturally. I feel like from that point of view, we'll have a good foot in with what people are looking for in Manhattan.

To see photos of the new Manhattan location, click here.

Breakfast, Design, News, Operations, Restaurant Operations, Sandwiches, Panera Bread