Sunday, July 25, 2010

What's NOT in Panama, and What IS in Panama

As I scour the city for the familiar and the not-so-familiar stores and restaurants, sadly, I have not uncovered any Starbucks, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, or Carl's Jr. locations.

But I will assume it's only a matter of days, if not hours, until Starbucks shows up.

Most of the familiar food chains are here.  A visit to the MultiPlaza mall alone, and you'll find McDonalds, Burger King, KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Quizno's, Dairy Queen, Cinnabon, Subway, and Tony Roma's.

In other places, I've also spied Popeye's, Dunkin Donuts, Baskin Robbins, and Wendy's.

When it comes to retail, you won't find any of the familiar U.S. department stores, but the malls (aside from MultiPlaza, there's MultiCentro, Albrook, and a newer mall near Tocumen Airport) do have more than their fair share of brand outlets, including The Gap, Hugo Boss, Levi's, Zegna, and others whose names escape me at the moment.

Oh, and you won't find an Apple Store, but instead a "Mac Store" at the Albrook Mall or MultiPlaza.  Not quite sure why they call it the Mac Store here, but whatever the case, it sells the same stuff as a regular Apple Store (just smaller in scale).

But in MultiPlaza, I also made a surprising discovery -- Sanborn's.

Yes, the popular Mexican chain has a restaurant/store right here in Panama City.  According to my sources, it had its grand opening in the fall of 2007.

A walk through the store, and it's the same Sanborn's you'll know from Mexico.

And also of note for those of you familiar with the malls in Mexico, you'll find a Cinepolis movie theater complex at MultiPlaza.

Meanwhile, at nearby MultiCentro, they've got Cinemark, another of the familiar movie houses in Mexico.

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