Monday, January 23, 2012
Au Bon Pain opens first area stand-alone store in Plano on Monday
Boston-based chain evolved from bakery to quick-serve place.
PLANO Au Bon Pain has opened a branch in Plano at the Shops at Legacy -- the first stand-alone restaurant in the Dallas area that's in a retail area and not inside another building.
The chain, which was founded in Boston, has seven outlets at the DFW Airport, and three outlets located within buildings, but those are dedicated to very specific patrons.
This will be the first branch where you can drive up, run in, and grab croissants.
"I guess you could call it our first suburban branch," said chief operating office Rob Goldblatt. It opened on Monday in the area north of Legacy by Coal Vines Pizza.
Au Bon Pain began 25 years ago with an emphasis on baked goods, and in Boston was one of the first purveyors of croissants -- excellent specimens, too. Were you a regular around the Harvard Square area of Cambridge back in the early '80s with an appreciation for pastry, you'd probably have made it a point to stop for a croissant and coffee.
As it grew into a chain, it expanded its line of sandwiches, soups, and salads, and is now more like a Panera. But there is still the opportunity for a good croissant.
"Last year, Au Bon Pain was named one of the 'five healthiest restaurants' by Health Magazine, and that's important in a place like Plano," Goldblatt said. "But they still make the best croissants."
The unbaked croissants are shipped to each location and baked in the store. It's not the same thing as a baker lovingly making each one by hand, but the Au Bon Pain croissant is at least better than most of the so-so croissants around Dallas.
Aside from the three units at the airport, there are Au Bon Pain stands at the Crescent, at Fountain Place downtown, and at Medical City. The Plano store is the first, but there are more on the way, Goldblatt said.
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