Tuesday, November 24, 2015         


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Panera Bread unavailable but isle bakery-cafes await

By Erika Engle


The occasional ad for Panera Bread on the Star-Advertiser online home page is replete with images of luscious-looking soups served with bread touted as being freshly baked. The restaurant also serves soup in bread bowls, as did the late, lamented Chowder House, established by the Wong family at Ward Warehouse.

Panera Bread has been registered to do business in Hawaii since 2004, indicating that its purpose is to own and operate bakery cafes and fresh dough facilities.

However, the ad-generated onos (cravings) for that particular national restaurant chain's food will remain unsatiated in Hawaii for the foreseeable future.

"Sadly, we have no plans at present to open any bakery-cafes in Hawaii," said Meghan Anderson, Panera spokes­woman, in response to a query from TheBuzz.

Panera Bread has more than 1,600 company-owned and franchise-operated bakery-cafes in North America under the names Panera Bread, Saint Louis Bread Co. and Paradise Bakery & Cafe.

The last is not to be confused with Hawaii-based Paradise Cafe locations, including two on Bishop Street, in Ala Moana Center and in the Royal Hawaiian Center food court.

In addition to those spots, there are other bakery-cafe eateries that are locally owned, continue to sell great food and hope for consistent support from local diners — and 'tis the season, after all.

You can find them online using nationally known search portals such as Google, Bing, Yelp and OpenTable … but you also can use MyAlohaVibe.com, established years ago by the Hawaii Restaurant Association to give smaller operators an online presence for free.

Speaking of which

The only Hawaii restaurant that made the OpenTable.com 2012 Diners' Choice list of the 100 Best Restaurants in the U.S. is Mama's Fish House in Paia, Maui.

The OpenTable list was compiled from more than 5 million reviews of more than 15,000 restaurants in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., according to the website.

Hawaii is sorta lucky to have one restaurant on the list, which includes vaunted restaurants such as Alinea, in Chicago; Jean Georges, in New York City; and The French Laundry, in Yount­ville, Calif.

OpenTable.com also produces monthly top restaurant lists for various markets, which is handy for travelers as well as for the more locally focused foodie.

There are overall lists, and category lists, such as by type of food and restaurants that are good for groups or welcome families with children.

Michael sells another

Colorado-based broadcaster Vic Michael has sold another of his Oahu-based translators, one for 99.1 FM, licensed for Hono­lulu.

This time he got only $50,000 from an affiliate of Clear Channel Communications Inc., less than half of the $120,000 sale price for his Wai­pahu translator at 103.9 FM. Michael could not be reached for comment.

Clear Channel affiliate Capstar TX LLC plans to use the translator at 99.1 to rebroadcast KDNN-FM 98.5.

The sale leaves Michael's Kona Coast Radio LLC with one remaining translator on Oahu, at 105.5 in Hono­lulu, though he has applied for a construction permit for a translator at 107.1, licensed for Kahuku.

Reach Erika Engle at 529-4303, erika@staradvertiser.com or on Twitter as @erikaengle.

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