Another lunch time option, complete with fu manchu

By Kristen Tribe | Published Wednesday, January 11, 2012

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I’ve made a resolution to eat lunch in 2012.

I know; I’m really aiming for the stars this year. But it’s been an issue.

Kristen Tribe

Kristen Tribe

So in an effort to be healthier and less “hangry,” I’m making a concerted effort to eat a midday meal instead of snacking my way through the work day.

Although I plan to brown bag it most days, there will soon be another restaurant option for those days that I want to go out.

This week the Decatur City Council approved the replat of the Wal-Mart property to make way for Panda Express on the northeast corner.

And if there’s one thing that fires people up around here, it’s the promise of a new restaurant. A Messenger Facebook post about the Panda possibility generated 45 likes and 35 comments last week.

I think only one commenter professed undying love for the Chinese food chain while most others proclaimed what restaurant they would prefer to open.

Suggestions included sandwich and soup shops like Jason’s Deli, McAlister’s Deli, Panera Bread and Souper!Salad!. “Sit-down” restaurants that made the list included Outback Steakhouse, Red Lobster, Joe’s Crab Shack, Olive Garden and Applebee’s.

A couple of people wanted to see a Denny’s or Cracker Barrel. Papa John’s was even mentioned, and there was an unexpected request for Bath and Body Works, which is obviously not a restaurant and a rider in this discussion.

After reading through all the comments, it was obvious that if only Chick-fil-A would come to Wise County, our population would want for nothing. It was hands-down the most requested eating establishment.

I tend to agree. There’s nothing a waffle fry can’t fix.

But (drawing a deep, ragged breath) those restaurants are dreams for another day.

Panda Express is coming to town.

I decided to do a little preliminary research to familiarize myself with the menu, so like any good American, I Googled it.

The search engine pulled up a list of related items and under “Panda Express,” the description read: “U.S. chain. Fast-food style service, often located in shopping malls and supermarkets.”

Shopping malls and supermarkets?

Sounds delicious.

If we could have any “supermarket” food establishment in Wise County, I would pull for a Super Target snack bar, not for the popcorn, but because it would mean that there’s a Target in town.

The website also features two pandas wearing silk robes, one with a no-kidding, fu manchu – silly and unappetizing. At least Chick-fil-A’s cows are au naturel. They dress up only occasionally.

I don’t think Panda Express will be the answer to my lunchtime woes, but like most other new restaurants here, I’m sure it will be packed for months.

Maybe I’ll give it a try if I can go through the drive-through and avoid the panda with excessive facial hair.

In the meantime, I’ll eat soups and sandwiches from home with an occasional lunch out to avoid my press day habit: a handful of chocolate with a Dr Pepper chaser.

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