Privately owned mega-chain Panda Express is preparing to mount a full-scale assault on New York City. Portions of the Upper East Side will soon be buried under mounds of orange chicken. Rivers of broccoli beef will flow through the streets of The Bronx. And globs of honey walnut shrimp will fall from the sky, covering the city in an even layer of pillowy shellfish nubbins and tangy sauce.
But the NYC take-over is just one part of the Panda masterplan — the team is also going to help ramen favorite Ippudo expand across the country. Earlier this year, the Panda Restaurant Group formed a new company with Chikaranomoto Holdings — the organization that operates the Ippudo restaurants — called I & P Runway. A rep for Panda explains that "the objective of the partnership is to develop and expand the brand in the US." The spokesperson also notes that "the parent company in Japan may develop more restaurants in NY. " So, we might get a few more locations of Ippudo at some point over the next few years. The blog Fukuoka Now hears that expansion will probably begin in 2016.
Word on the street is that Panda is also working on a similar deal to grow a healthy fast-casual chain — not Sweetgreen, but maybe something in that same vein. Panda currently operates over 1,800 locations around the world, so clearly, the company knows a thing or two about expansion. The first NYC location of Panda Express is slated to open next month at 69th Street and First Avenue.