- Positive opinion score: 48%
--- Popularity among boomers: 48%
--- Popularity among Gen X: 40%
--- Popularity among millennials: 52%
A subsidiary of the Panda Restaurant Group, Panda Express started as a formal, sit-down restaurant, called Panda Inn, in Pasadena, California, in 1973. The restaurant’s founders, father-and-son team Ming-Tsai Cherng and Andrew Cherng, crafted a menu of Mandarin and Sichuan dishes that filled a gap in the area’s market. Their success allowed them to open a number of similar restaurants in the surrounding community.
In 1983, a year after Ming-Tsai’s wife, Peggy Cherng, joined the company, the restaurant group opened a fast-food version of their restaurant in the Glendale Galleria, which they dubbed Panda Express. There are now more than 2,200 Panda Express restaurants.