The Panera Bread at Stamp Student Union opened Thursday after more than a year of delays.

The fast-casual restaurant, which was originally scheduled to open in fall 2022, is now open for customers on the first floor of Stamp in the space previously occupied by Adele’s restaurant.

Panera was most recently scheduled to open Wednesday but equipment issues led to the opening being pushed back another day, according to Dining Services spokesperson Bart Hipple. While preparing for the opening earlier this week, staff discovered some of the equipment — including an oven and coffee maker — were not working properly, Hipple told The Diamondback Tuesday.

“We had some equipment issues,” Hipple said. “Our maintenance crew and the Stamp team all got together and worked things out and got it working properly, and we’re open and serving. It looks beautiful in there.”

According to Hipple, the restaurant had already served 65 customers by 9 a.m.

Freshman Caitlyn Kelly got to Panera early to try to avoid a long wait time, she said. She used the self-order kiosks which she said was “really easy” and got her food about 10 minutes later.

[Back in the oven: UMD Stamp Panera opening delayed again]

Kelly, who is enrolled in letters and sciences, said she had “slight doubts” that Panera would actually open today because of the numerous delays.

Delays over the past two years have been due to challenges with equipment sourcing, permits and other operational issues, The Diamondback previously reported.

Construction delays partially stemmed from difficulties in obtaining certain pieces of equipment, such as large ovens, after the COVID-19 pandemic, Stamp director Marsha Guenzler-Stevens told The Diamondback in February.

Sophomore Erin Kaczor also doubted that Panera would open Thursday.

“I had no hope that it was going to open today at all,” the public health major said. “I was like ‘this is just a hoax. It’s never gonna open.’”

[Ready to serve: Stamp Panera to open May 2]

She said she was happy when she saw it open Thursday and appreciated the restaurant’s quick service during her visit.

By noon on Thursday, a line had developed outside Panera to enter the restaurant and order.

According to Hipple, other Panera “experts” from different locations and additional Dining Services staff members are on standby to help out.

“[They’re] ready to hop in and make sure things come out as quickly as they can,” Hipple said.

Junior elementary education major Lili Adolph arrived at Panera at 11:15 a.m. and waited over 15 minutes to get inside the restaurant, she said. Adolph said she thought it would be worth the wait though.

“I’m really excited. I love Panera and I’m glad that it’s here,” Adolph said.

The restaurant will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, according to Dining Services’ website.