PANDA EXPRESS: Expect Satisfaction, Not Surprises

Michael Pasco
Editor-in-Chief

By now, every VCU student knows what to expect at Panda Express.

The service is friendly. They cashier says “Welcome to Panda!” and the rest of the staff echoes with a “Welcome!” It masks the inevitably long wait you will have to patiently abide by in this Express.

The restaurant is decorated with tiles that inspire a bamboo feel, but are accented by cold, blue steel and VCU-related art. It’s full of large windows so you can make eye contact with people as you dig into your panda bowl.

Your pan-Asian fix can now be satisfied with a swipe, so you won’t have to worry about the 4 Asian restaurants neighboring the restaurant on Grace Street.

For a block on your meal plan, you pick your protein and you pick what accompanies it, whether it’s rice, noodles, fried rice, or brown rice. Your meat options range between beef and chicken with varied Asian-inspired sauces and textures and tofu options for your vegetarian friend.

There aren’t any surprises here. Panda Express’s strength is that you will taste exactly what you thought you ordered. I can eat a lot, so I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the modest size of the swipe bowl was enough to fill me up. Maybe the large drink size helped me out a bit.

But that all can be enjoyed after you actually receive your order. The wait is not where anyone wants it to be, but only if you order in-demand items like orange chicken. They will take your order speedily enough, but whether it’s ready or not is another beast entirely.

For reference, on opening day, I waited twenty minutes to get my Orange Chicken bowl from Panda Express. Two weeks later, I ordered the same thing and waited the same amount of time. My friend who ordered beijing beef was able to get his food without waiting at all.

I went at 5 p.m. that first day, where I expected the wait because workers have to get used to the kitchen system. I just thought it would have been streamlined by now, but that’s only the case for options that aren’t your standard “Orange Chicken” or “Teriyaki Chicken.” It’s just not as “Express” as I expect it to be, nor is it as “Express” as I’ve had in Shortpump Mall.

We know you will still be a happy consumer of what Panda Express has to offer. But just know that the wait is not as streamlined as it can be.

Preview
Preview

Pizza and Beer: You Can’t Go Wrong At Pie By Alex RasnakePie is a self-described pizza place and dive bar nestled on 214 N Lombardy St. Make sure you jot down that address–you could mistake Pie for a coffee shop. Surrounded by apartment buildings, the place stands out with a purple exterior, a chalkboard menu on the sidewalk, and a barel...

Market 810 TO-GO!

Market 810 TO-GO! It’s even more convenient than Shafer, while still being in that great, central location right by the Library and Hibbs! One would wonder why people call it Shafer to-go at all. It’s almost like you get the wide selection of Shafer with the ability to eat it outside of Shafer! Or at Rodney’s. OPTIONSSelection...

Preview

JKOGI Delivers Amazing Korean Food to RVA by Rebecca FrankelOne thing I found lacking in Richmond’s food scene when I moved down here this fall was the limited supply of Korean food. Back in Northern Virginia, Korean food is everywhere. It is easily one of my favorite types of cuisine. So you can imagine the absolute euphoria I experienced whe...

Preview

Inside Red Eye Cookie Co. with Brayden Pleasants; New Delivery App Developed Words by Amelia HeymannRed Eye Cookie Co. is the back ally cookie delivery service that has been booming since its doors opened in late March, 2014.Shafer Bird staff writer Amelia Heymann had the pleasure of interviewing the President of Red Eye Cookie Co., Brayden Pleasant...