Panda Express and its signature Orange Chicken dish are coming to York County this summer.
The family-owned restaurant chain, which promotes bold flavors and fresh ingredients in its American Chinese cuisine, has leased about 1.7 acres within Village Square at Kiln Creek at 5009 Victory Blvd.
Mike Everage, senior real estate manager for Panda Restaurant Group Inc., said the chain will build a 2,600-square-foot, free-standing restaurant with a drive-thru and outdoor patio.
Everage said the plan is to break ground by the end of April, which is the beginning of an about 130-day process. The goal is to open in late summer.
About 25 to 30 new employees will be hired locally.
“There will be new hires. We always look to hire a local team,” Everage said.
He said Panda Express has been well received by the Hampton Roads community. The closest Panda Express is in the Peninsula Town Center in Hampton.
Founded in 1983 in Glendale, California, by Andrew and Peggy Cherng, the chain now owns and operates more than 1,800 Panda Express restaurants.
The Cherngs still act as co-CEOs and co-chairs of the company.
Four years after opening its first restaurant, the signature dish Orange Chicken was developed by Chef Andy Kao, which is inspired by flavors of Hunan Province featuring crispy chicken bites in a sweet and spicy orange sauce.
The restaurant chain served 67.9 million pounds of Orange Chicken in 2014.
The company launched its philanthropic arm Panda Cares in 1999, which is dedicated to providing food, funding and volunteer services to underserved children and disaster relief efforts.
Panda Cares has donated more than $48.5 million since its creation.
Everage said the company is focused on getting involved in the different communities it serves through Panda Cares and its fundraising efforts.