Walnut Creek: Locust St. Panera Bread Permanently Closed

May 23, 2018 11:44 am · 25 comments

Panera Bread, located at 1140 Locust St. in Downtown Walnut Creek, has permanently closed.

The restaurant shut down on Tuesday, according to former employees. The employees say one of the reason the restaurant closed was because of the expensive lease.

photo: yelp.com

Anon May 23, 2018 at 11:47 AM

If Panera can’t even afford rent, how are you young adults expected to?

Darla Meury May 23, 2018 at 2:48 PM

Excellent point!

martinezmike May 23, 2018 at 12:02 PM

Expensive lease? Is this the plague of Locust street?

Barbie Girl May 23, 2018 at 12:17 PM

Other reasons are lack of parking, competition from Ikes and Buckhorn. But, the #1 reason….the management let unruly teenagers hang out, sit on tables, wrestle and steal from the soda machine. Too bad, I like Panera. So, I go to Alamo.

Racquel SantaBarbara May 23, 2018 at 12:53 PM

Or the Panera at Treat and Bancroft. Excellent service!

concord ygancio May 23, 2018 at 1:10 PM

There is another Panera in Walnut Creek that is closer, right in the Safeway plaza at Treat and Bancroft.

covfee May 23, 2018 at 12:38 PM

Locust Street has generally been leasing at rates that are very high, twice that of San Ramon, and three times that of Brentwood and Concord. Unfortunately some property owners price themselves so high that only the largest national chains can have a chance at being successful. I’ve seen some property owners use a city beautification project as a justification to triple their lease rates, causing the majority of long term tenants to close their shops. Hopefully the restaurant will relocate to a less expensive site relatively close to their former patrons.

Grizzley May 23, 2018 at 1:04 PM

Store had a plethora of plumbing issues that forced multiple closures. It was also the slowest store in terms of sale $$$$ in east bay market. Store on Bancroft does almost 20x in $$$ comapred to locust. Store was just in an awful location. It was a hangout spot for teenagers who would cause choas. Kicked out a few multiple times only to have Parents call the store and complain. You know, those Walnut Creek moms who think their kids are angels. HAAAA! It was private property so we reserved the right to kick anyone out that was disruptive.

Ryan May 23, 2018 at 9:18 PM

The Panera on Bancroft also has a drive thru. I’m sure that factor alone raises sales significantly.

JustMe May 23, 2018 at 2:07 PM

I was just there this past weekend and noticed the sign that they were closing. When I asked, they said that they didn’t do as much business as other Panera locations– which there’s one on Treat, one in Pleasant Hill, and a new one just opened in Pittsburg. Someone also said they didn’t have bathrooms– which I don’t know. I don’t think the location was bad at all. The foot traffic is pretty high, with Buckhorn, Chipotle, Starbucks, and Cheesecake Factory all pretty much packed on the weekends. Perhaps weekday traffic was slow. I’m sure the rent there is high. As far as parking, there’s a garage behind them, across the street, and also at the theater. I’ve never had trouble parking, except during the holidays.

Speaking of, did anyone notice that Black Angus re-opened this past Sunday after being closed a year? Talk about packed… I passed by Monday night, and there wasn’t an open spot available in the parking lot.

Anon May 23, 2018 at 4:33 PM

There is a Panera in the Willows Shopping Center in Concord not Pleasant Hill.

concord ygancio May 23, 2018 at 9:16 PM

The Panera on Locust did have customer restrooms.

Pyrrhus May 23, 2018 at 2:30 PM

Honestly, in general, Panera is mediocre to bad. I wish a real bakery would move in. Good bakeries that are more than just cakes, cupcakes, and cookies are severely lacking here. I’ve tried Alpine and found them to only being better than a grocery store. Give me a real bakery like B Patisserie, Tartine, Arizmendi, 20th Century Cafe, Devil’s Teeth, etc.

Lodestar May 23, 2018 at 3:16 PM


There isn’t a market for those kinds of bakeries here. You should try the 54 Mint on Locust for a more upscale bakery.

Consumer B May 23, 2018 at 3:18 PM

A bakery that uses REAL BUTTER.

Cautiously Informed May 23, 2018 at 8:01 PM

Yes, I agree. Patronized and adored by mediocre people too, who don’t really know anything better than the superficial dressed up on the outside corporation food establishments.

concord ygancio May 23, 2018 at 9:17 PM

I like Corner Bakery Cafe in downtown Pleasant Hill in the former Yan Can location on Crescent Drive.

Sideline May 24, 2018 at 6:23 AM

Panera is not a “real” bakery! I highly doubt they make anything on location, except finishing products. I think people around here are satisfied with club stores and grocery store level bakery products. Nothing like back east!
As for Alpine in Concord; they are the best bakery in the area and have been in town forever. They sell mostly cakes, but have a limited selection of bakery items. They actually make things there, you can watch them through the window to see for yorself if you get there early enough.

Pyrrhus May 24, 2018 at 9:37 AM

Lonestar that actually looks pretty good. Thanks for the suggestion!

Sideline, I’ve been to Alpine, and had a few pastries from there, I wasn’t very impressed. I’ve tasted the cakes and they are fine for what they are.

concord ygancio May 24, 2018 at 10:45 AM

Sideline: Panera does make their own breads. I’ve seen them in the back on gigantic carts and smelled them while baking. They have a baker go there early in the morning

Roz May 24, 2018 at 11:15 AM

There’s a place in Alameda named ‘Feel Good Bakery’. They sell at the Concord Farmers Market on Tuesday. Get there early because the line of customer can get long. Bread, pastries, cookies, plus more. Everything I’ve tried has been yummy. BTW, the Chocolate Brownie Cookie,…OMG!

K.F.-P.H. May 23, 2018 at 8:59 PM

I didn’t know there was a Panera there. Then again, I avoid Walnut Creek like the plague is raging.

Wendy Brinton May 24, 2018 at 12:22 AM

Man! I loved that Panera. I’d stop there after my yoga class across the street! I thought their bakery items (whole grain bagels were my favorite) and salads were the best! I’m bummed!

Clayton Patriot May 24, 2018 at 7:53 AM

I’ll miss Panera. Sorry to hear they went OB.

Citizen May 24, 2018 at 9:04 AM

My neighbors are very dissapointed! They loved it there because they did not have loud music so you can hear conversations between each other!
They always had their favorite table where they would meet their friends!
Walnut Creek has too many expensive restaurants and not enough
family type nice restaurants!

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