Southern Arkansas University’s new Panda Express Chinese Kitchen will host a Grand Opening on Wednesday, January 30, 2019, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
A ribbon cutting will be held at 11:15 a.m. followed by cake, samples, and prizes.
Panda is located in the clubhouse of the University Village apartment complex on the east end of campus. The hours of operation will be as follows:
- 10:45 a.m. – 9 p.m., Monday – Friday
- 10:45 a.m. – 8 p.m. on Saturday
- Closed on Sunday
The gated service road leading from East University Street to the University Village clubhouse will also be open to accommodate traffic so that diners from outside SAU can easily access Panda. There is signage on University Street and the clubhouse.
There were many hurdles to overcome in bringing Panda to SAU, but the administration was fueled by student polling that indicated a preference for on-campus Asian dining.
“SAU is excited to be bringing something to our campus, not only for our students but for the community,” Dr. Trey Berry, president of SAU, said. “We think this new addition will bring variety to our food services, but also a national chain to Magnolia.”
“This new dining option has many benefits, from relieving the pressure on our Blue and Gold Cafeteria in the Reynolds Center to offering more options,” said Dr. Donna Allen, vice president for student affairs. “Also, the clubhouse is a nice facility and has been underutilized. We are replacing the convenience store there, which was not viable, with what we know will be a popular dining option.”
Alain Verbeiren, Aramark’s food services director at SAU, said Panda will offer students as well as the Magnolia community an affordable dining option and quality food. It will serve the full menu of American Chinese cuisine. Entrees include Orange Chicken, Kung Pao Chicken, Broccoli Beef, Shanghai Angus Steak, and Honey Walnut Shrimp. Side items include chow mein, fried rice, mixed vegetables, and white-and-brown steamed rice. He said the food Panda offers is a great value because it is “really fresh, tastes great, and for a great price” and that it will be “consistent in quality and hospitality” with other on-campus offerings such as Chick-fil-A and Subway.
A 1,185 square feet portion of the clubhouse was renovated for the restaurant and seating is available for more than 20.