BY THE VILLAGE SUN | A while back another local outlet, EV Grieve, reported that the Panda Express at the southwest corner of 14th Street and First Avenue would finally be opening in June.
The fully built-out space has sat empty for more than a year now. Local Panda fans — who likely honed their taste for the chain’s Original Orange Chicken ™ at car-culture suburban malls somewhere outside of New York State — are hungering for the outlet’s opening. Of course, there are literally thousands of excellent Chinese restaurants all over New York City to choose from.
Last month, we checked in with the self-dubbed American Chinese chain to find out what’s going on with the spot. On June 13, a spokesperson got back to us, breaking the news that the mysterious wait…will go on.
“The opening date for this location is still to be determined,” she said, promising to keep us posted as soon as there is “an official update from the Panda Express team.”
So, well, the expected Panda-monium over the opening will have to wait.
Meanwhile, if you’re really so desperate to eat at a Chinese chain restaurant, you can always try P.F. Chang’s, which opened at the end of last year at University Place and 13th Street. The 7,000-square-foot eatery fills three whole floors. It’s P.F. Chang’s first New York City location.
Panda Express is also a relatively recent newcomer to the Big Apple, with five fast-food eateries in Manhattan opening just in the past few years — though none south of Midtown — plus a few others scattered in the outer boroughs. But don’t have the audacity to let on that you’re actually not familiar with this West Coast-born chain — or you might get mercilessly dragged on Twitter!
We suppose some might say that P.F. Chang’s and Panda Express are actually totally different concepts, right? Yes, P.F. Chang’s is a full-service restaurant. And it’s menu is also pan-Asian, not just Chinese. The gigantic golden horse in the window on 13th Street is a pretty cool touch, too. Hey, it’s all good.
Meanwhile, at the Panda corner on E. 14th St., from time to time, “We Missed You” notes from FedEx and U.P.S. for packages are posted on the door, along with others from the Department of Sanitation announcing that there will be a cleanup of the corner, where homeless encampments regularly pop up.