Panda Express announced the launch day of its 2,000th location in New York City on December 7. For nearly 35 years, the family-owned restaurant has continued to expand its footprint, introducing its iconic American Chinese cuisine, such as its world famous Original Orange Chicken, and people-centric values around the world. This milestone location symbolizes the inspiring journey the fast casual restaurant has taken since its humble beginnings on the West Coast in 1983.
Located in Manhattan, where Panda Express marked its East Coast expansion in 2015, the new restaurant at Broadway and 111th Street seeks to become a go-to dining destination for the residents of Morningside Heights, home to Columbia University. Since launching its first traditional New York City location two years ago, Panda Express has opened five additional New York City restaurants, with an upcoming opening in Brooklyn later this year. Traditionally a West Coast brand, Panda Express has expanded its footprint east with 55 new locations east of the Mississippi in 2017 and plans to open 20 more stores on the East Coast through the remainder of 2017.
“The opening of our 2,000th location is especially exciting for us because the milestone reflects the evolution of the brand over the last 35 years, as well as the success stories of the hard-working people who have made our growth possible,” says Andrew Cherng, co-founder and CEO of Panda Express. “We are fortunate for the opportunity to share our family values and beloved American Chinese menu through our 2,000 restaurants around the globe, and we look forward to celebrating even more moments of optimism through our cuisine on the East Coast and beyond.”
In honor of the milestone location and its entry into Morningside Heights, the first 2,000 guests to visit on Dec. 7 will receive a commemorative gift marking the occasion. To celebrate with local residents and show gratitude to the community for welcoming Panda Express to the neighborhood, Cherng will join the local Chamber of Commerce to host a ceremonial ribbon cutting at 10:30 a.m. In addition, the restaurant will also donate 20 percent of its launch day proceeds to P.S./M.S. 165, a high-performing K-8 public school that offers a variety of rigorous academic programs for all learning styles and needs.
Consisting of a 1,500-square foot space, the family-owned restaurant will provide seating for up to 38 guests. The establishment will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily, offering all of the restaurant’s iconic dishes including Original Orange Chicken, SweetFire Chicken Breast, award-winning Honey Walnut Shrimp and Shanghai Angus Steak, as well as its array of better-for-you WokSmart menu items. To create the bold flavors found in Panda Express’ famous entrees, the restaurant is dedicated to using fresh ingredients, such as crisp broccoli that are cut in-store daily. In fact, Panda Express is one of the largest purchasers of broccoli in the U.S., having estimated to use 21 million pounds of the vegetable in its dishes in 2017.