By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Jul 17, 2002 at 5:35 AM

Since John Ernst Cafe, one of Milwaukee's most famous German restaurants, closed its doors last year, developers have been eyeing the property, and it appears that a deal has been sealed. Two "upscale" fast food restaurants: Panera Bread and Chipotle Mexican will open in the 600 E. Ogden Ave. location.

Panera, a restaurant that focuses largely on fresh breads and sandwiches served quickly, is no stranger to Milwaukee with locations at Mayfair Mall, Brookfield, Greenfield, Pewaukee, Mequon, Wauwatosa and Menomonee Falls.

Founded in 1987, Panera also has locations in St. Louis where it is known as Saint Louis Bread Company. Panera also opened eateries throughout the Midwest and has many locations in Chicago.


Chipotle on the other hand will be entering the Milwaukee burrito market for the first time. The Chipotle chain, owned by McDonald's, first opened in Denver and has spread to 200 locations primarily in the western United States and several locations in Chicago.

Chipotle, which serves large burritos, tacos, margaritas and beer, will likely face fierce competition with Milwaukee's other fast-casual burrito giant -- Qdoba, which opened up in Milwaukee a few years ago as Zteca.

Both restaurants will share the Ogden Avenue location, with Panera Bread leasing about 4,200 sq. ft. Chipotle is negotiating terms on the remaining space.