By TIM HORAN
Two days before Panda Kitchen was scheduled to have its grand opening, there was still a lot of work to be done.
That didn’t bother owner George Yang, but his wife Julie Ni was a little concerned.
“The contractor said they would have it all done before the opening,” Yang said before the 10:30 a.m. Saturday ribbon cutting ceremony sponsored by the Abilene Area Chamber of Commerce.
And they did. However, the parking lot and sidewalk went in Thursday and the lines of the parking were painted on Friday, cutting it a little close to the Saturday morning opening.
“We ran into a lot of problems,” Ni said. “But everything worked out at the last minute.”
Yang and Ni are both from China. The family moved to the United States more than 20 years ago. Because there were family members in the state, they settled in Kansas.
The Abilene store is their fourth Chinese restaurant as they also own Panda Kitchens in Hesston, Hutchinson and Hillsboro.
“Fifth one coming soon,” Ni said, adding that she was not sure of a location. “We just wanted to get success today. Everything going good.”
At the restaurants, all of the sauces are homemade.
“I worked for restaurants for 20 years,” Yang said. He got his start in New Orleans. Both his family and his wife’s family own Chinese restaurants.
The restaurant will have 50 to 60 different food items to choose from, Yang said. Located at 610 S. Buckeye, the restaurant is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week.
The couple lives in Hesston but said they have considered moving to Abilene.