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Coming soon: more local restaurants

Panda Express opens in Cornelius; more planned for Forest Grove

Looking for some new local restaurants?

A new Panda Express held its official grand opening last week in front of the Cornelius Fred Meyer.

And Forest Grove will soon have four more eating options as well, thanks to a “modest business incentive program,” according to Economic Development Manager Jeff King.

The incentive program began in April, 2011, in response to the Great Recession, said King, who researched ways to “jump start” new businesses in the city during that difficult time.

He came up with an incentive program that waived the business license and the building and sign permit fees for the first year of operation, as well as reducing other fees associated with opening a new business.

He shared the idea with the Economic Development Commission and the city council, which both supported the program.

“Creating more jobs for our residents is important,” King said, “but reducing [building] vacancies and establishing a good environment adds to the quality of life in Forest Grove.”NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: TRAVIS LOOSE - A Panda Express restaurant celebrated its Grand Opening in Cornelius with an official ribbon-cutting last Friday, Sept. 25.

The incentives, which the council recently renewed until June 30, 2018, are making it easier and more affordable for five new businesses which are about to set up shop in the city: Next Dimension Bakery, Thai House II, Miget’s Grill, Sakura Express and Matthew Stone Farmer’s Insurance.

Robert and Kristina Bragdon, co-owners of Next Dimension Bakery, had previously conducted business out of their home until the Home Owner’s Association they belong to formally requested they cease operations.

They found a new location at 2311 Pacific Ave. and expect to celebrate their grand opening on Thursday, Oct. 15, at 10 a.m.

Miget’s Grill has been a regular fixture at Wednesday’s Farmers Market and other city events since Oct. 25, 2014. But in less than a month, owners Mike and Sara Marshall will take their Hawaiian fare from their food cart to their new kitchen at 1914 and 1916 21st Ave.

“We hope to open mid October, give or take a week,” said co-owner Sara Marshall.

“We will serve everything on our current menu,” she added, but are also “super excited to add more items.”

Expanding from their other location on Main Street in downtown Hillsboro, owner Jack Vu hopes to open Thai House II at the former Izgara site, 2036-B Main St., sometime in October, but has not yet set a concrete date.

And Sakura Express, the popular Japanese cuisine most often found in mall food courts, will expand its franchise into Forest Grove with a newly constructed building along Pacific Avenue in the Forest Grove Shopping Center next to Pacific University.

Though no proper address has yet been established for the building, owner Dong Lee expects construction to begin in about two months.

Meanwhile, Panda Express opened its first franchise in Cornelius Aug. 6, but had to delay the grand opening until last Friday because “the mayor is a busy man,” said Area Manager Indra Surataruna. It joins three other Panda Express locations in the Hillsboro area.

After a day of giving away t-shirts, Panda paraphernalia and franchise sauces to more than 800 customers, Panda pledged to give 25 percent of the day’s revenue — roughly $4,000 —  to the Cornelius Public Library.

“Panda supports continuous learning,” Surataruna said. “It’s important to us.”