Today, I drove south to Gilroy and found the first Panera Bread in Northern California, which has only been open since Thursday. Those who know Gilroy will probably ask, "Gilroy? Why Gilroy?"; the answer is, apparently, because it's growing real fast, and the Panera is in one of two retail centers that weren't there a year ago, stocked with upscale suburban tenants.
And, like most Panera Bread Cafes now, it has free wi-fi. That's new in the last two years, but they've always been laptop friendly, with plenty of tables that have electrical outlets.
I ended up staying there close to seven hours, having lunch and then later an afternoon pastry with coffee. (Their coffee is, to be truthful, so-so at best, but it's drinkable and there are free refills.)
For better or worse, Gilroy is too far to travel to hang out too often, although it's probably a bit closer--and certainly faster to get to--than Soquel, where my favorite independent coffee shop is.
But, they're opening a Panera in Cupertino soon, I'm told, and there are plans for 15 around the SF Bay Area.