Nancy Diaz, area coach of operations for Panda Express, cuts the ribbon at the new Oak Lawn restaurant on Feb. 15. Joining her for the ceremony were (far left) Oak Lawn Trustee Paul Mallo (3rd) and Mayor Terry Vorderer. Xin Qin, the regional director of operations for the new Panda Express, is at far right. (Photos by Joe Boyle)

Nancy Diaz, area coach of operations for Panda Express, cuts the ribbon at the new Oak Lawn restaurant on Feb. 15. Joining her for the ceremony were (far left) Oak Lawn Trustee Paul Mallo (3rd) and Mayor Terry Vorderer. Xin Qin, the regional director of operations for the new Panda Express, is at far right. (Photos by Joe Boyle)

Oak Lawn welcomes second Panda Express restaurant

Spread the love
biz panda express richards band photo 2 22

The Richards High School Band performs before the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Feb. 15 at the new Panda Express in Oak Lawn. 

By Joe Boyle

A large crowd of customers began lining up outside the new Panda Express in Oak Lawn the morning of Feb. 15 and were not disappointed when they entered the restaurant.

A major draw to the grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony was that the first 88 customers to enter the restaurant would receive a free Panda Express branded T-shirt.

However, Xin Qin, the regional director of operations for the latest Panda Express, 4801 W. 87th St., said that the fervor over the new eatery had been building of late.

“We are very excited to be here,” said Qin, who said Panda Express has been expanding in Chicago, the southwest suburbs, and Northwest Indiana.

biz panda express sign photo 2 22

A sign for the new Panda Express was erected at the corner of 87th and Cicero and includes the Village of Oak Lawn inscription. 

Oak Lawn welcomed a Panda Express at 95th and Melvina years ago. Qin said that location is doing really well but the latest restaurant offers some different options.

“One thing you can see here is that we are very solid in this community,” Qin said. “But we have made some additions due to the last three years of the pandemic. We provide a pickup service and we have online pickup. Many people have changed their habits and we have adjusted to those needs.”

Qin also said the latest restaurant features an expanded kitchen that features two levels of food preparation to provide more efficient service. The outdoor facade has been redesigned and includes a sign at 87th and Cicero with the Panda Express image and a Village of Oak Lawn inscription just below it.

Despite cold temperatures and a blustery wind, customers waited patiently outside before the ribbon-cutting ceremony. The Richards High School band performed before the ceremony took place.

Qin said the new restaurant design incorporates Chinese architecture and symbols and welcomes customers as if they were walking into a Chinese home.

The Oak Lawn Chamber of Commerce organized the event. Oak Lawn Mayor Terry Vorderer, Trustee Paul Mallo (3rd) and Dan Johnson, president of the Oak Lawn Park District Board of Commissioners, were also on hand.

“I am so happy that we can open this up to the community,” Qin said. “And we can pass along our traditional Chinese traditions as well.”

Vorderer was ecstatic with the new sign at 87th and Cicero. A miniature statue of a panda also greets customers to the restaurant.

biz panda express crowd photo 2 22

A large crowd gathers before the grand opening of the new Panda Express in Oak Lawn on Feb. 15. The first 88 customers received a free Panda Express branded T-shirt when they entered the restaurant. 

“I spend a lot of time cutting ribbons at these grand openings,” Vorderer said before the ceremony. “But Panda Express has hit this out of the box. Your investment in this community is so welcome. We now have two Panda Express restaurants in Oak Lawn.”

Nancy Diaz, area coach of operations for Panda Express, greeted dignitaries and customers. She said this is a welcome addition for the village. She thanked the Richards High School Band for performing.

“It is great to have this open in my community,” Diaz said.

Natasha Miller Williams, president of the Oak Lawn Chamber, added that Panda Express has been as asset to the village. She also mentioned that 20% percent of the profits at Panda Express during the day and in the future will go to the Richards High School organization.

The Panda Express menu will feature American Chinese dishes, including the original orange chicken and the honey walnut shrimp. The new Panda Express offers family meals, Panda Cub meals, appetizers and desserts. They also provide catering.

Store hours are from 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, with drive-thru extended until 10 p.m. The restaurant is open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday (drive-thru until 10:30 p.m.), and 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday (drive-thru until 10:30 p.m.).

As the crowd began to file in after the opening ceremony, Qin could not help but smile.

“Absolutely, this is a great community,” Qin said. “This is the newest Panda Express and will have a double drive-thru to take care of our customers. They will all be like this now.”

More information about Panda Express can be obtained by visiting Pandaexpress.com.

Local News

The Chicago Red Stars' Ally Schlegel said she is looking forward to playing at Wrigley Field when the team hosts Seattle there in June. IMAGN photo

Chicago Red Stars and Bay FC to play at Wrigley Field

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent Chicago Red Stars forward Ally Schlegel loves Wrigley Field. “I adored Wrigley the second I went to my first Cubs game,” Schlegel said. “I fell in love with it thinking it was the perfect sporting experience with how they built it up down there.” She will go from a…

New Trinity Christian men's basketball coach Jordan Mast led Antelope Valley to the NAIA Tournament this season. Photo courtesy of Trinity Christian College Department of Athletics

Trinity Christian College names new hoops coaches

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent Trinity Christian officials were busy on April 11 ushering in new eras for its basketball programs. Trolls Athletic Director Wendy Reid announced that Jordan Mast is taking over the men’s basketball program, while Jasmine Porter has been named women’s hoops coach. Mast comes to the school in Palos Heights…

Reavis baseball coach Don Erickson rakes a soggy mound during a game against Evergreen Park on April 12. The longtime Rams coach is retiring after this season. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Reavis baseball coach and Hall of Famer Don Erickson to retire after season

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent A deal is a deal. Longtime Reavis baseball coach Don Erickson has said he would retire after his son, Sam, graduates from high school, so he can watch Sam play in college. Erickson doesn’t get to many of his son’s high school games because Sam plays at Downers Grove…

The Worth Public Library, 6917 W. 111th St., has a free Seed Library available to patrons. (Supplied photo)

Worth Library offers seeds for free

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Kelly White A seed library collects and stores seeds and shares them with members of the community for free. Similar to a normal library, gardeners borrow seeds from the seed library at planting time. At the end of the growing seasons, they save seeds from the plants and return a portion of…

Oak Lawn Mayor Terry Vorderer joins Girl Scout Gold Award winners (from left) Maddie DeBleyzer, Aine Kelly and Lilly O'Dea during the village board meeting on Tuesday night. (Photo by Joe Boyle)

Paisans Pizza eyes May opening in Oak Lawn

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Joe Boyle Paisans Pizzeria is a step closer to opening in Oak Lawn with the approval of a liquor license for the establishment that will be part of the Stony Creek Promenade. Plans for the restaurant were originally approved at an Oak Lawn Village Board meeting in March of 2022. Tom Phelan,…

Palos Park resident Nick Hoffman said his patience is wearing out with noise and parking problems caused by the Palos Islamic Center.

Palos Park residents, mosque reps discuss noise issues at council meeting

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva What could have been an explosive situation was actually quite civil. Some Palos Park residents were angry about loud activity and behavior of some members of the Palos Islamic Center the past two years and sounded off at the April 8 village council meeting. Fresh on their minds was noise…

The Obbie’s Pizza sign will remain a familiar sight on Archer Avenue. Taking time out for a photo are new owner John Caputi; his son, Giovanni; and Obbie’s longtime managers, Jim Triak and Jeff Twaragowski. (Photo by Cosmo Hadac)

Comings & Goings: Obbie’s Pizza to stay ‘unique and delicious’

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Tim Hadac Archer Avenue’s long-time king of pizzerias will continue to rule. Same recipes at Obbie’s Pizza, 6654 W. Archer. Same pizza and ingredients. Same pasta, broasted chicken, shrimp, perch, Italian beef/sausage/meatball sandwiches, sides and pop. Same seasoned, Middleby Marshall pizza oven built in 1947—the type of pizza oven every restaurant owner…

stickney health district logo

Stickney Public Health confirms measles case in Bedford Park

Spread the love

Spread the loveFrom staff reports The Stickney Public Health District has confirmed that a person with measles related to the ongoing situation in the City of Chicago was at the Walmart Supercenter at 7050 S. Cicero Ave. in Bedford Park on Friday, March 22, roughly between the hours of 2 and 4 p.m. Anybody who…

Endless Summerfest in La Grange’s Gordon Park will not be held this year, sponsors have announced. (Photos by Steve Metsch)

La Grange cancels Endless Summerfest over higher costs

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Steve Metsch It turns out the summer is not endless, at least not in La Grange. Endless Summerfest, a three-day event held the first weekend in August at Gordon Park for many years, will not be held this year. The cancelation was announced Tuesday in a joint new release from the La…

regional orland park police logo

Midlothian man arrested for Orland Park carjacking

Spread the love

Spread the loveFrom wire reports The Orland Park Police Department announced the arrest of a suspect in a vehicular hijacking that occurred on the evening of April 3. Shawn Flores, a 44-year-old Midlothian resident, faces charges following his apprehension on April 4. The incident began when a male victim was forcibly removed from his vehicle…

Neighbors

The Chicago Red Stars' Ally Schlegel said she is looking forward to playing at Wrigley Field when the team hosts Seattle there in June. IMAGN photo

Chicago Red Stars and Bay FC to play at Wrigley Field

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent Chicago Red Stars forward Ally Schlegel loves Wrigley Field. “I adored Wrigley the second I went to my first Cubs game,” Schlegel said. “I fell in love with it thinking it was the perfect sporting experience with how they built it up down there.” She will go from a…

New Trinity Christian men's basketball coach Jordan Mast led Antelope Valley to the NAIA Tournament this season. Photo courtesy of Trinity Christian College Department of Athletics

Trinity Christian College names new hoops coaches

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent Trinity Christian officials were busy on April 11 ushering in new eras for its basketball programs. Trolls Athletic Director Wendy Reid announced that Jordan Mast is taking over the men’s basketball program, while Jasmine Porter has been named women’s hoops coach. Mast comes to the school in Palos Heights…

Reavis baseball coach Don Erickson rakes a soggy mound during a game against Evergreen Park on April 12. The longtime Rams coach is retiring after this season. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Reavis baseball coach and Hall of Famer Don Erickson to retire after season

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent A deal is a deal. Longtime Reavis baseball coach Don Erickson has said he would retire after his son, Sam, graduates from high school, so he can watch Sam play in college. Erickson doesn’t get to many of his son’s high school games because Sam plays at Downers Grove…

The Worth Public Library, 6917 W. 111th St., has a free Seed Library available to patrons. (Supplied photo)

Worth Library offers seeds for free

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Kelly White A seed library collects and stores seeds and shares them with members of the community for free. Similar to a normal library, gardeners borrow seeds from the seed library at planting time. At the end of the growing seasons, they save seeds from the plants and return a portion of…

Oak Lawn Mayor Terry Vorderer joins Girl Scout Gold Award winners (from left) Maddie DeBleyzer, Aine Kelly and Lilly O'Dea during the village board meeting on Tuesday night. (Photo by Joe Boyle)

Paisans Pizza eyes May opening in Oak Lawn

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Joe Boyle Paisans Pizzeria is a step closer to opening in Oak Lawn with the approval of a liquor license for the establishment that will be part of the Stony Creek Promenade. Plans for the restaurant were originally approved at an Oak Lawn Village Board meeting in March of 2022. Tom Phelan,…

Palos Park resident Nick Hoffman said his patience is wearing out with noise and parking problems caused by the Palos Islamic Center.

Palos Park residents, mosque reps discuss noise issues at council meeting

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva What could have been an explosive situation was actually quite civil. Some Palos Park residents were angry about loud activity and behavior of some members of the Palos Islamic Center the past two years and sounded off at the April 8 village council meeting. Fresh on their minds was noise…

The Obbie’s Pizza sign will remain a familiar sight on Archer Avenue. Taking time out for a photo are new owner John Caputi; his son, Giovanni; and Obbie’s longtime managers, Jim Triak and Jeff Twaragowski. (Photo by Cosmo Hadac)

Comings & Goings: Obbie’s Pizza to stay ‘unique and delicious’

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Tim Hadac Archer Avenue’s long-time king of pizzerias will continue to rule. Same recipes at Obbie’s Pizza, 6654 W. Archer. Same pizza and ingredients. Same pasta, broasted chicken, shrimp, perch, Italian beef/sausage/meatball sandwiches, sides and pop. Same seasoned, Middleby Marshall pizza oven built in 1947—the type of pizza oven every restaurant owner…

stickney health district logo

Stickney Public Health confirms measles case in Bedford Park

Spread the love

Spread the loveFrom staff reports The Stickney Public Health District has confirmed that a person with measles related to the ongoing situation in the City of Chicago was at the Walmart Supercenter at 7050 S. Cicero Ave. in Bedford Park on Friday, March 22, roughly between the hours of 2 and 4 p.m. Anybody who…

Endless Summerfest in La Grange’s Gordon Park will not be held this year, sponsors have announced. (Photos by Steve Metsch)

La Grange cancels Endless Summerfest over higher costs

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Steve Metsch It turns out the summer is not endless, at least not in La Grange. Endless Summerfest, a three-day event held the first weekend in August at Gordon Park for many years, will not be held this year. The cancelation was announced Tuesday in a joint new release from the La…

regional orland park police logo

Midlothian man arrested for Orland Park carjacking

Spread the love

Spread the loveFrom wire reports The Orland Park Police Department announced the arrest of a suspect in a vehicular hijacking that occurred on the evening of April 3. Shawn Flores, a 44-year-old Midlothian resident, faces charges following his apprehension on April 4. The incident began when a male victim was forcibly removed from his vehicle…