Five Questions with David Lee of Panda House

Chinese restaurant has been in business in Worthington for 32 years

Panda House has been located on Fourth Avenue in Worthington since the restaurant's opening in 1988. (Ryan McGaughey/The Globe)

Q: How long has Panda House been open in Worthington?

A: Since 1988. I had worked for someone else in Montana in a Chinese restaurant; I managed the kitchen.I thought, ‘I can manage for another person, or I can own a restaurant. I quit the job in Montana and went to five or six states and found Worthington. In 1988, there was no Chinese restaurant and the population was over 10,000 people.

Q: Where are you from originally?

A: I was born in China, and I lived in Hong Kong for a few years. Then I lived in California — in Sacramento. After that I went along the west coast and lived in Oregon and Seattle, and then went to Montana.


Q: Has Panda House always been in this location?

A: Yes, we always been here on Fourth Avenue. In 2013, we (he and his wife, Mabel) doubled our space to a 99-person capacity. We also did renovations at that time.

Q: What are some of the favorites on the menu?

A: A lot of people like to order our Amazing Chicken, Amazing Beef, Amazing Shrimp — a lot of young people, not really older people. Those don’t have vegetables; only meat. Some of the older customers like broccoli, and combination plates are popular. People also like our egg rolls and wontons.

Q: What’s kept you in Worthington all these years?


A: I like living in a mall town. I like having my own business, and also my kids are around here. I have two — one (Christipher) is in second year college in the Twin Cities. The older one, Robert, is also in the Cities. He works in the main office in Target, and graduated maybe 10 years ago.

More on Panda House can be found here .

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Ryan McGaughey arrived in Worthington in April 2001 as sports editor of The Daily Globe, and first joined Forum Communications Co. upon his hiring as a sports reporter at The Dickinson (North Dakota) Press in November 1998. McGaughey became news editor in Worthington in November 2002 and editor in August 2006.
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