Panda Garden opens new location

Posted By | September 30, 2003 12:00 am

Coleen Gorski
The new Panda Garden Chinese Restaurant has opened its new doors and the changes are astounding.
The Panda Garden, a local family owned business, has been in existence for the past nine years and has recently made a great move. It is owned by the Zheng family, Cong and Kai and their two children, Elaine and Tony. Because of an overwhelming number of customers and very limited space, the Zhengs made the decision to expand, and the results are remarkable.
A very spacious and elegant dining area awaits customers at the new Panda Garden’s five-buffet restaurant. They now provide an assortment of American, Chinese and Italian cuisine, in addition to serving sushi. For seafood lovers, they serve a variety of seafood on Friday and Saturday nights. They literally have something for everyone.
“There are some people who come in here, and their children don’t like Chinese food,” said Elaine Zheng. “We want to make something for everyone.”
The Panda Garden moved to the location right next door, which used to be the old Rite-Aid Pharmacy. The entire building has been completely remodeled and reflects a very stylish and traditional atmosphere. The new facility is four times as large as their previous restaurant and can accommodate as many as 150 people in the main dining area plus an additional 70 people in the private banquet room.
“They have done an outstanding job,” said Wallace Austin, president of Sparta-White County Chamber of Commerce.
“You can have a meeting, a meal, and be seated off to yourself.”
“This is as nice as I’ve ever seen,” said Herd Sullivan, White County executive. “It’s a first-class operation.”
Mayor Tommy Pedigo expressed his enthusiasm at the grand opening ceremony stating, “This is unbelievable. You need to come by and see this. When we were growing up, did you think we’d have sushi in Sparta?”
Jim Sorrell, one of the contractors who worked on the renovations, said, “I want people to see the buffet. It was built on-site by a man from New York. This is a beautiful place, and I’m glad I’ve had a part in it. I’m very proud.”
Although some of the trimmings have yet to be completed, and they are shy a few booths, the restaurant is currently able to accommodate as many Chinese food lovers as needed. With a staff of six and eight additional employees in the kitchen, fresh, hot, delicious food is always available.
The first day they opened at their new location, Panda Garden served approximately 200 customers, and the numbers keep rising. Several customers are repeat business, but they are also seeing a lot of new faces.
“They come in to try it,” said Elaine. “And we want to provide good food – something they will all like.”
Menu items can also be expected to change a little.
“Every day, the menu will be a little different,” said Tony Zheng. “Every month we will have specialty dishes. We want to make the customers happy. We’re very busy and our customers wanted more space and our kitchen wasn’t big enough.”
All comments were positive, and customers also had great things to say.
“Before, you couldn’t get in,” said Mamie Turner, as she and her grandson, Justin Brummett, enjoyed his birthday lunch .
“There’s a whole lot more space and the waiters are really nice,” said Brummett.
>From lo mein, to fried chicken, to sushi, the Panda Garden Chinese Restaurant has something for everyone. Their hours of operation are Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m-11 p.m. They are located at 209 Mose Drive and their telephone and fax number is 738-7777, with a second telephone number, 836-1688.

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