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Panera Bread coming to Medford in 2022

I see all these fast-food places going up — there’s a new McDonald’s, a new KFC and more burger places than I have fingers and toes. When are we going to get a Panera Bread? Is there anything you can do to expedite this process ... please!

— Archie, via email

We’ve got some great news and some crumby news for you, Archie.

The news worth savoring: Panera Bread is planning to open a store in Medford.

You’ll want to savor that news, however, because the bakery cafe chain isn’t slated to arrive until about 2022.

Medford’s first Panera Bread is planned to be a drive-thru location anchoring a new Stewart Meadows Village shopping center in south Medford, according to a joint press release from builder KOGAP enterprises and franchisee Manna Development Group, which has been in business since 2003 and already operates 135 Panera Bread locations in California, Oregon, Washington, Michigan, Indiana and Colorado.

The Panera Bread location will be hard to miss at the corner of Highway 99 and Garfield Street. Construction of the shopping center will begin at the “end of 2021,” but the restaurant will be the first building constructed.

The lead architect will be Kistler+Small+White of Ashland.

For those wondering what all the fuss is about, the bakery cafe chain based in Sunset Hills, Missouri, is known for serving breads, soups, salads and sandwiches that are wholesome, “clean” — minimally processed and made without artificial preservatives — and made with transparent ingredient lists. There are more than 2,000 Panera Bread locations around the country.

It’s part of a growing wave of “fast-casual” restaurants that slot between fast-food and traditional casual dining restaurants by adopting similar ordering methods to traditional fast food restaurants, but using higher quality ingredients and somewhat higher prices than you’ll pay at Taco Bell or McDonald’s.

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; or by email to youasked@rosebudmedia.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.