P.F. Chang’s, a renowned Chinese American restaurant chain, has captured the hearts and taste buds of diners worldwide since its establishment by Paul Fleming and Philip Chiang in 1993. With a rich history and a commitment to culinary excellence, P.F. Chang’s has become a beloved destination for those seeking a fusion of Chinese and American flavors. Let’s dive into the fascinating facts that make P.F. Chang’s a unique dining experience.
The Culinary Legacy
Though P.F. Chang’s made its debut in 1993, its roots can be traced back to the early 1960s. Cecilia Chiang, a trailblazing restaurateur, achieved remarkable success with her Chinese restaurant, The Mandarin. In 1974, she opened a second branch in Beverly Hills, where she catered to notable personalities like John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Later that year, Cecilia’s son, Philip, stepped in to manage the restaurant after realizing the challenges of pursuing a career as an artist.
The Starving Artist Turned Restaurateur
Philip Chiang, an aspiring artist, found himself at the helm of Mandarette, a restaurant initially managed by his mother Cecilia. Mandarette offered simple yet delicious Chinese cuisine, inspiring P.F. Chang’s menu with its emphasis on clean and uncomplicated ingredients. While some modifications have been made, Chiang ensures that the essence of Chinese cuisine remains intact. P.F. Chang’s commitment to freshness is evident through sourcing local produce and handcrafting dim sum, wontons, and egg rolls.
A Global Presence
P.F. Chang’s has expanded its reach with over 300 restaurants worldwide. In the United States alone, it boasts 218 locations, while more than 100 restaurants operate under license agreements across South America, the Middle East, and various countries such as the Philippines, South Korea, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
A Recipe Rooted in Tradition
Cecilia Chiang’s award-winning culinary expertise influenced P.F. Chang’s signature dishes. Her upscale Chinese cuisine at The Mandarin inspired Philip to introduce street-inspired Chinese meals at Mandarette, which eventually made their way onto P.F. Chang’s menu. Cecilia Chiang is widely regarded as the Julia Child of Chinese cooking, and her classic recipes, like Mongolian beef and Chicken lettuce wraps, continue to delight diners.
The Brainchild of a Steakhouse Founder
Paul Fleming, the founder of Ruth’s Chris Steak House, played a pivotal role in conceptualizing P.F. Chang’s. During his visits to Los Angeles, Fleming frequented Mandarette and eventually convinced Philip Chiang to partner with him on a Chinese restaurant concept. In 1993, the first P.F. Chang’s location opened in Scottsdale, Arizona, combining Fleming’s initials (P.F.) and Philip’s last name.
Modern Twists on Traditional Asian Recipes
P.F. Chang’s revolutionized the dining experience by blending Philip Chiang’s innovative meals with Fleming’s focus on American-style service. Alongside friendly customer service and captivating decor, each restaurant features hand-painted murals depicting twelfth-century China. The menu showcases regional Asian-inspired recipes and offers one of the industry’s first comprehensive Asian-influenced dessert menus, complemented by an extensive wine list.
Expanding Asian-Inspired Cuisine
Building on the success of P.F. Chang’s, two additional Asian-inspired restaurant concepts emerged. Taneko Japanese Tavern, launched in 2006, offers premium Japanese pub fare like sushi, noodles, and robatayaki dishes. Pei Wei Asian Diner, introduced in 2000, focuses on fast-casual dining and takeout options.
Chicken Lettuce Wraps and More
P.F. Chang’s popularized American Chinese favorites, with their Chicken Lettuce Wraps becoming a highlight of the menu. This signature dish, prepared using a secret Chiang family recipe, offers a low-carb twist by replacing tortillas with fresh lettuce leaves. For non-meat eaters, vegetarian lettuce wraps provide a delicious alternative.
A Culinary Fusion
P.F. Chang’s specializes in American Chinese cuisine, featuring renowned dishes like Chang’s Lettuce Wraps, Chang’s Spicy Chicken, Peking Duck, and various sushi options. In addition to the usual beverage offerings, patrons can savor specialty cocktails, Asian beers, sake, cappuccino, and espresso.
Masters of the Wok
Wok cooking, with a history spanning over 2,000 years in China, takes center stage in P.F. Chang’s kitchens. The chefs skillfully harness the flavors of each ingredient, quickly cooking them to preserve their nutrients and deliver exceptional taste.
A Sriracha Pioneer:
P.F. Chang’s holds the distinction of being the first national restaurant chain to embrace Sriracha, a popular hot sauce. Since 2000, they have incorporated Sriracha into their Singapore Street Noodles, adding a spicy kick to the dish. Today, P.F. Chang’s uses approximately 100,000 bottles of Sriracha annually.
Bringing the Taste Home
For those seeking the P.F. Chang’s experience in the comfort of their homes, the restaurant offers frozen dishes that can be conveniently prepared in the oven or microwave.
A Menu That Evolves
P.F. Chang’s prides itself on regularly updating its menu, ensuring a fresh and dynamic dining experience. While local favorites like Singapore Street Noodles, Lettuce Wraps, and Kung Pao Chicken remain constant, chefs also introduce healthy options, gluten-free dishes, and special menus for various occasions.
Dedicated fans of P.F. Chang’s can maximize their dining experience by joining the chain’s loyalty rewards program. The program is free to join and allows members to earn 10 points for every dollar spent. Upon accumulating 2,000 points, members receive a $15 reward. Additionally, during their birthday month, members enjoy a complimentary dessert or appetizer.
A Chinese Adventure in Shanghai
In a move to expand its global presence further, P.F. Chang’s opened its first location in China in Shanghai in the first half of 2018, marking a significant milestone in the restaurant chain’s history.
Why Dine at P.F. Chang’s?
When it comes to dining out, there are numerous options to choose from. However, P.F. Chang’s stands out as a unique and enticing choice for those seeking a memorable culinary experience. Here are several reasons why you should consider dining at P.F. Chang’s:
Fusion of Flavors
P.F. Chang’s masterfully combines Chinese and American influences to create a distinctive fusion of flavors. Their menu showcases a wide array of dishes that seamlessly blend traditional Chinese techniques with modern twists, resulting in a tantalizing culinary adventure for your taste buds.
Fresh Ingredients and Scratch Cooking
At P.F. Chang’s, freshness is a top priority. The restaurant prides itself on sourcing local produce whenever possible, ensuring that each dish bursts with flavor and quality. From hand-chopped vegetables to scratch-cooked sauces, every element of their cuisine is prepared with meticulous attention to detail.
P.F. Chang’s is renowned for its iconic dishes that have become favorites among diners worldwide. From the famous Chicken Lettuce Wraps, with their perfect balance of textures and flavors, to the mouthwatering Mongolian Beef, every bite is a testament to the culinary expertise and commitment to excellence.
Diverse Menu Options
Whether you have specific dietary preferences or simply enjoy exploring a variety of flavors, P.F. Chang’s offers a diverse menu to cater to different tastes. From vegetarian and gluten-free options to an extensive range of seafood, poultry, and meat dishes, there is something for everyone to savor and enjoy.
Handcrafted Cocktails and Beverages
To complement their delectable cuisine, P.F. Chang’s offers a thoughtfully curated selection of handcrafted cocktails, Asian beers, sake, and a variety of other beverage options. From refreshing fruit-infused drinks to classic favorites with an Asian twist, their beverage menu is designed to enhance your dining experience.
Step into a P.F. Chang’s restaurant, and you’ll be greeted by a captivating atmosphere that transports you to a blend of traditional and contemporary Asian aesthetics. The hand-painted murals depicting twelfth-century China and the carefully curated decor create a warm and inviting ambiance, perfect for enjoying a memorable meal with friends, family, or colleagues.
Attention to Service
P.F. Chang’s prides itself on providing exceptional service to its guests. From the moment you enter the restaurant until the end of your dining experience, the attentive and friendly staff ensure that your needs are met, allowing you to relax and fully immerse yourself in the culinary journey.
Commitment to Innovation
P.F. Chang’s continuously strives to push boundaries and innovate within the culinary sphere. Their menu is frequently updated, showcasing new dishes inspired by regional Asian flavors and incorporating seasonal ingredients. This dedication to innovation ensures that each visit to P.F. Chang’s is a fresh and exciting experience.
Convenience and Accessibility
With over 300 locations worldwide, including numerous restaurants across the United States and internationally, P.F. Chang’s offers convenience and accessibility. Whether you’re looking for a casual lunch or an intimate dinner, chances are there is a P.F. Chang’s restaurant nearby, ready to serve you a delightful meal.
Loyalty Rewards Program
For frequent visitors and loyal patrons, P.F. Chang’s offers a rewarding loyalty program. By joining the program, you can earn points for every dollar spent, unlocking exclusive perks, such as rewards and complimentary appetizers or desserts during your birthday month.
Other restaurants you can try that may be similar to P.F. Chang’s include Panda Express, Pei Wei Asian Kitchen, Panda Inn, Pick Up Stix and Grand China Buffet.