One of New England's biggest Panera Bread franchisees will open Feb. 17 its first Southington bakery-café and drive-thru, authorities say.
The 4,156-square-foot eatery at 365 Queen St. will employ around 60 people for its seven-days-a-week retail and catering operation preparing and selling mostly fresh-made sandwiches, soups and salads.
Rhode Island franchisee Howley Bread Group will own and operate the location.
Howley also runs a downtown Hartford Panera Bread on Main Street. Howley, whose regional Panera franchise license covers eastern Connecticut, southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island, currently has 27 Paneras in those locations.
Howley's other 15 Connecticut Paneras are in Hartford, Bristol, Canton, Enfield, Farmington, Foxwoods Resort & Casino, Glastonbury, Groton, Lisbon, Manchester (Shoppes at Buckland Hills and 179 Deming St.), Newington, Waterford, West Hartford and Wethersfield.