Good news, Chinese fast food fans! Cleveland is getting its very own Panda Express. Finally! Construction began earlier last month at the corner of Paul Huff Parkway and Peerless Road — just kitty-corner from Publix Super Market at Mouse Creek.
Currently, Chattanooga boasts three different Panda Express locations while Collegdale and Fort Oglethorpe each have one. I’m personally looking forward to having a location right here in town since I grew up eating at the restaurant in malls up north. (Some of you are old enough to remember when shopping malls were still a thing, and they offered some of the best Chinese fast food!)
I spoke with the folks over at Panda Express who informed me that the grand opening for the restaurant is slated for early April. When they do open, I highly recommend the chow mein noodles, black pepper chicken, Beijing beef, and honey walnut shrimp. The orange chicken isn’t necessarily my thing, but it remains a huge fan favorite among the chain’s most popular dishes. Honestly, though, one of my favorite things about Panda Express is that they’ve got something for everyone. Better yet, they never use MSG and they serve antibiotic-free chicken.
They also offer up convenient family bundles which include your choice of two sides and three entrees. And, if you’re particularly concerned about healthy eating, the restaurant chain boasts plenty of vibrant veggies, lean proteins, and brown rice on its menu.
Panda Express was founded in 1983 by Andrew and Peggy Cherng.
Andrew is the son of master chef and restaurateur Ming-Tsai Cherng. Since it’s conception, Panda Express has become the largest Asian segment restaurant chain in the US. In addition to running the Panda Restaurant Group, the Cherngs are also committed to philanthropy through their Panda Cares program. Panda Cares focuses on giving food, funding, and volunteer services to needy children and disaster relief efforts.
In 2018, the Cherng Family Trust bought the former Mandarin Oriental hotel on the Las Vegas Strip and rebranded it as a Waldorf Astoria. If it’s anything like the Waldorf Astoria Atlanta Buckhead, you can bet it’s incredible.
Panda Express says they’re committed to our health and safety.
In these unprecedented times of the coronavirus pandemic, market research firm IPSOS ranked Panda Express as the #1 leader in health and safety protocols for the food & beverage industry, which is an amazing feat. According to IPSOS, “Panda Express topped the food & beverage industry, outperforming industry competitors on health & safety related signage, compliance with employees wearing protective gear, and enforcing distancing measures.” I’ll definitely feel comfortable grabbing dinner for the family when it finally opens!
In the meantime…
Truth be told, I'm a little bit bummed out that the new Panda Express won't be open in time to celebrate the Chinese New Year on Friday, but good things come to those who wait, don't you agree?
Of course, if you’re craving Chinese food right now, or celebrating by eating noodles for the Lunar New Year this weekend, Cleveland has other Chinese options. I’m partial to Six Happiness (also on Paul Huff) or Fulin’s (near Target). But there’s also Imperial Garden on Ocoee Crossing, New Dynasty on Keith Street, and Panda Garden on McGrady.
What’s your go-to restaurant for feeding your Chinese cravings here in Cleveland? And are you looking forward to the grand opening too?