A new Panera Bread location is set to open in summer 2020 in the southeast corner of Nifong Shopping Center.

It will be located in the lot near the intersection of East Nifong Boulevard and South Providence Outer Road, part of the parking lot of the old Gerbes location.

Lindner Properties, the owner of the shopping center, plans to break ground on the project in December, Lindner Properties President Jay Lindner said in an email. While there are currently three Panera locations in Columbia, this will be the first stand-alone cafe. It will be the second one with a drive-thru — the only other one with a drive-thru is located at 100 Brickton Road — and will be replacing the restaurant just south across Nifong, at 3709 S. Providence Road, Suite A.

The project was “driven by Panera’s desire for a drive-thru location on the south side of Columbia,” Lindner said.

It is also part of a redevelopment plan for the shopping center.

“Panera will be the final corner of our Nifong shopping center redevelopment,” Lindner said, “and we’re excited to continue attracting great businesses to this corner as we work to fill the two remaining spaces in the former Gerbes building.”

First Watch to take over old Fuddruckers space

First Watch is hoping to open a new location in Columbia in the late spring or early summer of 2020.

The restaurant will take over the former space of Fuddruckers at 1301 Grindstone Parkway, Building D, spokesperson Eleni Kouvatsos said in an email.

It will be a franchise location, serving First Watch’s usual “craveable, unique breakfast, brunch and lunch options,” she said. The menu includes both traditional items such as omelets, pancakes, salads and sandwiches, along with seasonal items. These have included a Braised Short Rib Benedict, Cornbread Carnitas Breakfast Bowl, Smoked Salmon Tzatziki Toast and Lemon Blueberry Quinoa Pancakes, Kouvatsos said.

As far as drink options go, the menu includes seasonal juices and coffee.

“In the new restaurant in Columbia,” Kouvatsos said, “we’ll serve its socially responsible and award-winning Project Sunrise coffee, which supports an independent group of female farmers in Huila, Colombia.”

First Watch announced its partnership with Mujeres en Café — Women in Coffee — almost two years ago, according to its website. The Colombia-based organization has “a mission to create sustainable businesses that elevate the lives of their families and improve conditions in their rural communities,” according to First Watch’s website.

First Watch locations are open daily from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The company is headquartered in University Park, Florida, with more than 375 restaurants in 31 states, according to its website. The one closest to Columbia currently is located in St. Peters. Other locations in Missouri are clustered around the St. Louis and Kansas City areas.

  • Business reporter, fall 2019 Studying business and economics journalism Reach me at khhccc@mail.missouri.edu, or in the newsroom at 882-5700.

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