The Panera Bread at Stamp Student Union will likely open in April after being delayed more than a year, according to Stamp director Marsha Guenzler-Stevens.

The Panera Bread, which was originally slated to open in fall 2022, will replace the old Adele’s restaurant on Stamp’s first floor. The restaurant is expected to have a soft opening in April, before a “grand opening” later that month, Guenzler-Stevens said.

University of Maryland students will be able to use Dining Dollars or their Terrapin Express accounts to pay for items, Guenzler-Stevens added.

Panera was most recently scheduled to open in August 2023. But its construction faced delays due to difficulties with equipment sourcing, contract delays and operational concerns, according to Dining Services spokesperson Bart Hipple.

“It’s been frustrating because it’s gone a lot slower than we had hoped it would,” Hipple said.

[Half-baked hopes: Stamp Panera opening delayed to August]

Panera’s construction delays stemmed, in part, from difficulties acquiring certain pieces of equipment, such as large ovens, after the COVID-19 pandemic, Guenzler-Stevens said. The Diamondback previously reported that this university also faced issues with obtaining the necessary permits and finalizing the contract with Panera Bread to begin construction.

Despite the delays, Guenzler-Stevens said she is proud of the project’s progress over the last few years.

“I think it’s been incredibly well-managed through all of its bumps,” Guenzler-Stevens said. “There’s not anybody sitting back on their heels. Folks are working at a really good speed.”

Guenzler-Stevens said Panera Bread’s construction is now in its final phase.

After construction is completed, the Prince George’s County health department will work with the university to review the building, she said. The restaurant’s staff will also need to go through training to learn how to use the space and its equipment before the restaurant opens in April, Guenzler-Stevens added.

[Let’s get this bread later: Stamp Panera delayed until spring 2023]

With Panera Bread’s opening inching closer, Hipple said he is excited to see the project finally come to fruition.

Panera Bread will bring a “different experience” to the university community compared to current dining options in Stamp, Hipple said.

Jimena Moreno, a junior bioengineering major, said while Panera could have opened earlier, she is still eager to visit once it opens in Stamp.

“I actually have only had [Panera] once,” Moreno said. “I was excited to have it at Stamp because I think it’s a really good addition.”

Like Moreno, Smreeti Kafle, a freshman bioengineering major, said she is “really excited” about Panera Bread’s scheduled opening in April. Kafle said she eats at Panera often and looks forward to going to Stamp more after it opens.

Panera’s opening has been five years in the making, Guenzler-Stevens said. Now, she hopes those years of work will culminate in an exciting moment for the university community, she said.

“It’ll be a bright new day when the doors open,” Guenzler-Stevens said. “I just think folks are gonna love the space. I think they are going to love the product.”