Mchenry, IL

Panera Bread Restaurant Replaced by Marijuana Dispensary

Joel Eisenberg

News of the shuttered location’s new tenant has been met with polarizing local response.
Panera BreadPhoto byShutterstock

Author’s Note

This article is based on corporate postings and accredited media reports. Linked information within this article is attributed to the following outlets:,,,, and


According to Panera Bread Company is an American chain store of bakery-café fast casual restaurants… Offerings include bakery items, pasta, salads, sandwiches, soups, and specialty drinks. As of 2020, the menu also includes flatbread pizzas. The company, which also owns Au Bon Pain, is owned by JAB Holding Company which is, in turn, owned by the Reimann family of Germany.

The company was founded in 1987.

Panera Bread’s most recently reported business data can be found on There are 2,132 Panera Bread restaurants in the United States as of May 23, 2023. The state with the most number of Panera Bread locations in the US is Florida, with 185 restaurants, which is about 9% of all Panera Bread restaurants in the US.

Now comes word that a shuttered Illinois-based Panera Bread location has been replaced by a marijuana dispensary, causing polarizing reaction in some social media circles.

Let us explore further.

Panera Bread, 2023

According to a report from, a former Panera Bread location that shuttered May 1st has already been replaced, via social equity lottery, by an EarthMed entity presently building out their third dispensary in the state.

The address is 1711 North Richmond Road in McHenry.

As excerpted from the report: The company qualified for the lottery by hiring people who fit the state’s social equity description, including living in an area with a high incarceration rate for past marijuana laws violations or having a qualifying arrest conviction, among other state guidelines.

Some former Panera Bread restaurant patrons have stated they were hoping for another restaurant, while others believe EarthMed will deliver a much-needed medical service.


This is a developing story. In the event of pertinent updates to this matter, inclusive of progress and official announcements of milestone dates, I will share them here on NewsBreak.

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I am an award-winning author, screenwriter for film and television, and producer. My mission on News Break is to share socially important perspectives on both culture and pop-culture. Member of PEN America, and the WGA.

Northridge, CA

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