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Side Dishes: Panera coming to Burlington, Whole Foods not (for now)


Published April 5, 2011 at 6:20 p.m.

Bakery behemoth Panera Bread is about to sign a lease for part of the former Old Navy space on Church Street, according to broker Tony Pomerleau of Pomerleau Real Estate, but he says the deal will not be finalized until later this week.

Panera is the largest bakery chain in the world, with 1453 bakery-cafés nationwide, though none in Vermont. Anyone hungry for Panera’s “muffies” currently need to drive to Plattsburgh, N.Y., or West Lebanon, N.H.

After two years of rumors, it looks like Whole Foods Market may not be coming to the Burlington area — or at least not to South Burlington. In 2009, Seven Days reported that the chain planned to open a store on land behind the Best Western Windjammer. Whole Foods abandoned those plans, however, because of “challenges with the site that the developer faced,” says the company’s media spokesperson Robin Rehfield. But the natural-foods chain is still scouting other locations around the city.