BERKELEY, Calif. — Cal students across campus rejoiced after Panda Express announced that it would be opening a new location on Bancroft Way this summer, offering students a welcome respite from Berkeley’s multitudes of high-quality, authentic, family-owned local restaurants.
“If there’s one thing I really hate about Berkeley, it’s the incredible diversity of cuisines and cultures,” said EECS major and professional gentrifier Sanjana Murthi. “It just sucks that all of these mom-and-pop shops keep forcing me to eat their nutritious, ‘homemade’ dishes when all I really want is to be served the same mass-produced garbage over and over again until I die. I’m so glad that Panda Express is finally bucking the trend and presenting an unhealthy alternative that will appease students’ poor tastes while driving all the local eateries out of business.”
Other students have expressed similar excitement for the multibillion-dollar restaurant chain’s expansion into Berkeley.
“Oh man, it’s been way too long since I’ve had severe, rectal-prolapse-inducing constipation,” said senior Drum major Hunter Perry, who up until this point had been satisfying his late night cravings for indigestion with frequent trips to I.B.’s, Chipotle, and the Taco Bell Cantina. “When I’m feeling especially masochistic, a slice from Blondie’s will suffice, but the fact of the matter is that most of the food here is simply too rich in fiber to utterly destroy my digestive system. I’m so excited for the bone-dry fried rice from Panda Express to condense into an obelisk in my gut and carve the Grand Canyon out of my asshole. I swear to God, if that shit doesn’t tap my G-spot on the way out, I’m asking for a full refund.”
Despite widespread enthusiasm for the upcoming Panda Express, some members of the campus community are concerned that the chain restaurant’s presence will negatively impact Berkeley’s reputation as a culinary mecca.
“For over twenty years, we have provided the people of Berkeley with authentic, sustainable, wholesome, family-style fare,” said Fred Brunswick, the manager of the Shattuck McDonald’s. “True to our roots, we use only frozen ingredients* freshly shipped from our local distribution centers, and we make sure to never stray from the recipes handed down to us from our headquarters in Chicago, Illinois (there are actual legal repercussions if we stray from these recipes). So Panda Express can come here with their ‘orange chicken’ and their ‘fresh vegetables chopped daily,’ but they will never be the pillar of the community that we are. Berkeley isn’t Panda Express. Berkeley is McDonald’s.”
At press time, the lines for the Chipotle on Telegraph and the Subway on Hearst were each longer than the lines for all of the legitimately good restaurants in Berkeley combined.
*Upon further questioning, Brunswick revealed that the potatoes used at his establishment are, in fact, fresh.