After some delay, Panda Express is scheduled to open in the Mountainlair by the beginning of March.
While the original opening date was postponed due to some COVID-19-related issues, according to Tiffany Peden, communications and HR manager for WVU Dining Services, the staff is working through these issues to ensure a safe and timely opening.
Since being announced last summer, excitement has been high for the new, mainstream option.
“We have heard nothing but positive feedback for the incoming Panda Express,” Peden said. “It’s a well-known brand with a good following, and we think the WVU community will enjoy its addition to the Mountainlair food court.”
The new eatery will be taking the spot of Burgershop, a burger restaurant located next to Chick-Fil-A. It will join the Mountainlair’s host of offerings including Which Wich, Taziki’s and Blue Tomato.
Panda Express will accept Dining Dollars, Mounty Bounty, and regular cash and cards like all takeouts in the Mountainlair, making it more accessible to all students with meal plans on campus.
Freshman Bri Myers has been long awaiting the grand opening of the new on-campus dining option.
“I’m actually super excited for the Panda Express in the Mountainlair,” Myers said. “I love Asian food and there are a ton of great Asian food places on campus, but none that take Dining Dollars, at least until now.”
The staff plans to have many opening week specials, which will be announced closer to the opening date.
Freshman engineering student Jake Fiorito is eager to have new dining options made available on the downtown campus.
“I usually go to Summit (Hall) to get food from the dining hall since I stay in the Honors Dorm downtown,” Fiorito said, “but now that Panda Express will be nearby, I’ll definitely go to the Mountainlair more often to get dinner.”
In regard to why the decision was made to add Panda Express to the list of available dining options in the Mountainlair, Peden said, “WVU Dining Services is always aiming to enhance the student experience on campus. We listen to the feedback of the students, faculty and staff on campus, and it greatly influences the enhancements we make, including bringing in this new location.”
Myers agrees that many students are anticipating the latest take-out spot. She said, “I think it’ll be super popular on campus because the current dining hall food can get a little old after you eat it everyday.”
It is still unsure whether the on-campus menu of Panda Express will differ from regular locations, but many popular items should be available.
“We are confident the WVU community will enjoy the new Panda Express,” Peden said.