Don Lee Is Open

Don Lee opened last week. I drove by on Thursday evening and it was packed. On Sunday, we decided to try it out. It was still packed and remained packed after our meal was finished. Here is a photo of the inside.

As you can see in the photo, it almost has the looks of a Denny’s in the US. It is large enough to handle a fair amount of people and it is a very casual layout. The line you see in the left of the photo is waiting to place their order.

The menu is displayed on LCD TVs hanging in the front. Communications between the order takers and the kitchen, which is behind glass windows for all to see, is by computer and very efficient. After placing your order, there is a row of chairs to wait for your order to be filled. There is also a takeout window that will be open soon, so you can just drive through.

So from the presentation standpoint, it is new, clean efficient and casual.

Now from the food standpoint, I thought it was only fair. The food was served in takeout Styrofoam containers with plastic utensils. If you had more than you could eat all they had to do was to give you a top to put on your container and you were ready to go. I prefer to eat on real plates with real silverware.

One interesting touch was the drinks. When your drink was in the cup, the cup was placed in a machine that placed a plastic sealing cover on it. All food coming out of the kitchen ready to go. If you eat inside, they just don’t put the tops on your meal containers.

It has been a few years since I have been to a Don Lee in Panama City and maybe I had forgotten what it was like. Except for the newness and it being air conditioned, I would prefer eating at La Tipica. I personally think all the food I have had at La Tipica is better tasting, but that is just my opinion.

To get to Don Lee, you take the InterAmerican Highway and turn left on the road to the airport. Don Lee will be on the left before you get to Super99.

14 thoughts on “Don Lee Is Open

  1. Yesterday (May 6th), I had lunch at the new Don Lee restaurant. The food was OK, but I had to wait 22 minutes to get my meal. Other people that were in line at the cash register had already eaten their lunch and gone by the time I was served. After about 15 minutes,I spoke to three different “managers” I was told that my order took longer. I still don’t understand why Chow Fun Con Pollo takes two to three times longer than other items on the menu. I don’t plan on going back.

  2. Hi Azel, Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. Obviously they are still in a learning phase. I hope it improves with time.

  3. Yesterday went to Don Lee. The food is just o.k. and I consider that the prices are a bit high (for what you get). We waited 15 minutes and there were only a couple other customers before us. If they don’t improve the time to complete the orders, I don’t thing that the idea of a drive-thru will be effective. We don’t plan on going back, the food at other places is better tasting and and you get a better value.
    Lilia

  4. Hi Lilia. Thanks for adding a comment. I was disappointed when I went there. It was not up to the standards I remembered in Panama CIty, but then my experience with Don Lee in Panama City was many years ago.

  5. Hi Don Ray – we went to Don Lee’s for lunch on Saturday. We arrived shortly after 12 and while there were a lot of folks eating, there was no line at the cash desk. We placed our order and waited well over 15 minutes – our number was 77 and they were serving meals to numbers 83 to 86 before we got ours. Fast food, this ain’t! When it was finally ready, I couldn’t see why it had taken so long… considering that the meal consisted mainly of hard kernels of rice with a small number of shrimp on top. We agree with Lilia, there are many other places in town where the food is better tasting and a better value. Our previous experience with Don Lee’s in Panama City was not favorable, but we thought we’d give them the benefit of the doubt. No doubts now.

  6. Buenas noches Don Ray la misma es para saludarlo y agradecerle por sus comentarios con respecto a la apertura del nuevo restaurante don lee Chiriquí las sugerencias la tomaremos en cuenta en la operación del restaurante para ser mejor cada día.
    Don lee Chiriquí a venido con nueva innovaciones, es el único restaurante en la cual hay una ventana de cristal donde el cliente puede observar como se le prepara su producto.
    Y para garantizar que cumplimos con las normas de higiene y seguridad de nuestro alimentos.
    Agradeciendo los comentarios
    Atte.
    Lic. Fidelio Espinosa

  7. Hi,

    I went to Don Lee yesterday (Thursday 6th) and I just can say that it was great !. The food was delicious and the service was very pleasant, it is great to have a place like this in the city ! Good Job !

  8. Hi Edwin. Maybe things have improved since the opening. You are the first person that I have heard of that has liked it.

  9. Hi,

    I went for the first time in the weekend Don Lee opened and I agree that they do have their good points in the kitchen, it is good to see how your food is cooked, specially when you imagine the kind of nasty things that can be done to it. The attention was fine, can be better and the price was reasonable for panamanian standards; now, I totally think their use of foam utensils is a sin towards their food, it just doesnt make it justice and it would improve so much their image if they used real dishes and silverware. The food was, lets be honest, awful the first time I tried it, too much fat, colorants and salt. The second time I decided to give it a try it was 10 times better, maybe because the hordes of people from the opening were no longer there, maybe because they improved with the passing of days.
    In conclusion, one has to try more and see what becomes of this restaurant and its food.

  10. Hi Yuri. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. They definitely needed to improve and it sounds like they have from what you say.

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