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Dave Olson, Published March 06 2013

New Panera means Chili’s to move inside West Acres

FARGO – The arrival of Panera Bread in Fargo will result in a change for Chili’s Grill & Bar, which is moving out of its current stand-alone location near the West Acres mall.

Chili’s will soon occupy space inside the mall that was previously home to Grizzly’s.

Panera Bread, meanwhile, will set up its bakery-style café in the space Chili’s is vacating, West Acres announced Wednesday.

Panera will begin construction this spring on the stand-alone location, which will have indoor and outdoor seating.

The cafe will seat 125 inside and 16 outside and is slated to open in early fall.

In its new location, Chili’s will also feature indoor and outdoor seating with takeout and drive-thru options as well.

“We are very excited to re-locate our Chili’s in the West Acres Shopping Center,” said Mike Bova, vice president of operations for Chili’s franchisee, ERJ Dining LLC, based in Louisville, Ky.

“We have served the Fargo community for over 20 years and look forward to providing the same high quality food and service in our new location,” Bova added.

North Dakota’s first Panera café will have a feature new to the company: The production areas will be more open to customer view, and people will be able to watch bakers shape the dough for Panera’s various offerings.

Here are some other tidbits regarding the new Panera:

Nonprofits will be sought out to pick up nightly leftover baked goods, which will go to those in need.

Also, the company is looking to hire more than 50 workers, including service and production associates, as well as bakers and managers.

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Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555