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Panda Express will offer a menu of classics, such as Kung Pao Chicken, as well a dish exclusive to New York and Canada, Spicy Sriracha Shrimp.

Chinese-American fast food restaurant Panda Express will open next Thursday at 111th Street and Broadway, next to Mel’s Burger Bar.

The store, which will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., features a selection of Chinese-inspired fast food entrees and sides, including Kung Pao Chicken, fried rice, and spring rolls. It will also offer Spicy Sriracha Shrimp, a dish exclusive to Panda Express locations in New York and Canada.

“Starting at the beginning of next year, what we’re going to try to do is to start introducing some more original specialties, something that only New York will have,” Jimmy Wang, Panda Express’s director of culinary innovation, told Spectator. “We’ll probably have one to two dishes that are going to rotate around, and we’ll have dishes that we want to test out here, as a kind of incubator, tailored to audiences here.”

While Panda Express does not currently offer vegetarian or vegan dishes, Wang said that the company hopes to expand on those options in the future.

Panda Express comes as the newest restaurant in a long chain of recent openings in Morningside Heights, including Pret A Manger, Shake Shack, and Junzi Kitchen.

Biejia He, the area coach of operations for East Coast Panda Express locations, said that the location had been picked for its proximity to Columbia.

“There’s a high density of the younger generation in the area,” he said. “This is a window to introduce the brand to young people.”

The Broadway location will be Panda Express’s 2,000th store, and the grand opening on Dec. 7 will reflect this with a launch day celebration attended by Panda Express CEO Andrew Cherng, along with a ribbon-cutting and commemorative gifts. | @ColumbiaSpec

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