New Restaurant draws large crowd for Wichita Falls opening


WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - A new eatery in Wichita Falls is getting quite the welcome on its first day of business.

The new Panda Express on Lawrence Road opened on Friday, and a lot of people who came out to the restaurant's premiere in the Falls said they are glad to see another place to eat pop up.

Throughout the day people lined up inside and out to grab a bite. Many say the wait was worth it to get something a little different.

"I moved to Wichita Falls about a year ago from Dallas, and so it's awesome to see that a town the size of Wichita Falls can have some opportunities for some restaurants that are known to bigger cities," said Madison Black.

Joel Sia, the Panda Express Area Coach of Operations, said bringing this chain restaurant to the falls has been in the works for about four years, and the Lawrence Road location is all a part of that planning.

"It's like in the middle of all the businesses you know," said Sia. "It's closer to the air force base, so closer also to business people."

Sia said it is in the heart of the city, and an easy stop for Brandon Pineda and his family to pick up something to eat when he gets off work.

Pineda said with it being summer time, they go out to eat more.

"It's a lot more convenient and faster," said Pineda.

He adds something different is a plus.

"We eat the same thing all the time and it gets boring sometimes so variety is always good," said Pineda.

Some Midwestern State University students, like Gabby Rodriguez, said they are in the same boat and go out to eat all the time.

"This is another one [restaurant] college students can enjoy," said Rodriguez.

She said she is glad this option is now offered close to home.

Ashley Petrides, who is also a student at MSU, said there is not a lot of choices in Wichita so another option is always good.

Even though a number of restaurants pop up, sometimes the end up shutting down not long after opening, but Sia said he's not worried.

"I really cannot tell you about those previous restaurants, I don't know what happen," said Sia. "I can only tell you that Panda Express is here to stay."

Restaurant guests are hopeful too.

"Because it's not your normal burger joint or something that we have a lot of," said Black. "It just adds variety to the city,"

Sia said it is not just adding a new place to eat. They plan on giving back.

"We contribute to the community and the community helps us," said Sia. He calls it a win-win. 

Within the next few days, they will be doing a fundraiser for the Wichita Falls YMCA where 20-percent of the restaurant's sales from that day will go to the organization.

Sia said if your organization is interested in participating in a fundraising event you can apply online.

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