If plans unfold as they should, Panera Bread will be opening a store sorta-kinda close to the Atlantic City area in the near future.

It seems like every time we ask people what national chain store or restaurant should open in our area, we always hear people screaming about Panera Bread. And it's not because we have a shortage of top notch, excellent local bakeries and restaurants here already, but it seems like Atlantic and Cape May Counties are always lagging behind the rest of the region when it comes to experiencing what everyone else can (Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Cracker Barrel - the list goes on and on).

According to TheSandpiper.net, Panera Bread (along with Chick-fil-A) is interested in opening a store on Route 72 in Manahawkin.

The Stafford Township Planning Board is expected to hear an application for those two eateries at its next meeting on March 6th.

Currently, should you wish to partake in any of Panera's delicious treats, you're making a trek up to Toms River, Sicklerville, Voorhees, or Marlton. And while Manahawkin isn't exactly EHT or Galloway, the drive up to Exit 63 on the Parkway isn't all that long (at least when it's not summer anyway).

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