PDQ

PDQ — which stands for “People Dedicated to Quality,” is a fast casual chain of chicken restaurants, with locations in 12 states, including 4 Houston-area locations.  Today I visited the location at 9440 Katy Freeway to learn more about the restaurant’s new menu items.

Recently my husband and I were at a champagne-tasting event, and someone brought a few platters of PDQ chicken tenders (you know fried chicken goes with champagne, right?).  This was the first time we had ever tasted PDQ chicken, and my husband would not stop talking about how much he liked it.  So when PDQ invited me to sample its new dishes, I readily accepted.

The restaurant’s interior is spacious, clean, and bright.  There’s an open kitchen, where you can see everything being made fresh to order.  They encourage you to “wave hi” to the kitchen staff, and promise “they’ll wave back.”  Try it — I dare you.  😉

PDQ was founded in 2009 by Bob Basham and Nick Reader.  According to information on the company’s website, they found a down-home neighborhood joint in North Carolina called Tenders, that had the “tastiest, freshest, made-from-scratch chicken tenders.”  They struck a deal on the spot with the owners, and in 2011 opened the first PDQ in Florida.

And here they are — the star of the menu, the glorious hand-breaded chicken tenders.  Crispy and juicy, with your choice of 8 homemade sauces (ranch, buffalo bleu, creamy garlic, honey bbq, sweet sriracha, chipotle bbq, honey mustard, and bleu cheese):

But PDQ is more than just fried chicken and French fries.  Operating Director Frank Wallace excitedly guided us through the new menu items, which debuted 2 weeks ago.

Among the new items are several salads, including Kale Caesar Salad with grilled chicken, shredded kale, and shaved Brussels sprouts, and this pretty Fruit Harvest Salad (for those desiring lighter fare) with grilled chicken, mixed greens, Granny Smith apples, tomatoes, edamame, candied almonds, and craisins with a blueberry-ginger vinaigrette:

They’ve also introduced three bowls:

 Thai Peanut Bowl (honey marinated nuggets, roasted garlic broccoli, mango salsa, peanuts, and toasted coconut over basmati rice, with Thai peanut sauce)

Smokehouse BBQ (crispy tenders dipped in honey BBQ sauce, bacon, fried pickles, smoked Gouda, succotash, roasted sweet potatoes, and scallions over basmati rice with BBQ ranch sauce)

Southern Buffalo (crispy tenders dipped in Buffalo bleu sauce, succotash, broccoli, bleu cheese, and scallions over basmati rice with Buffalo sauce)

I chose the Southern Buffalo to try, and I really liked all the textures the vegetables added.  The chicken was tangy and just spicy enough.  It was a generous bowl, very filling.

PDQ also introduced 3 new side dishes, all of which are a nice change of pace from French fries.  I especially liked the roasted garlic broccoli, but the beans and rice (edamame, black-eyed peas, corn, and rice), and the roasted sweet potatoes (with marshmallow fluff and pecans) were very good too.

Last but not least, PDQ added three new sandwiches to its lineup, for those with hearty appetites:

Southern Pimento Crunch (crispy chicken, homemade pimento cheese, lettuce, potato chips, and bacon) — stretchy pants mandatory

BBQ Bacon Ranch (crispy chicken dipped in BBQ sauce, cheddar cheese, bacon, and ranch slaw)

 

Grilled Hawaiian Chicken (teriyaki glazed grilled chicken, pepper jack cheese, bacon, grilled pineapple, and sweet sriracha slaw)

Everything I sampled was fresh and attractively presented.  I was impressed with all the choices PDQ offers, and look forward to taking my family there soon.  I noticed on the website that on Father’s Day, dads receive a free combo meal with the purchase of any meal — lucky dad!  And through July 7, it’s BOGO Tender and Nugget Platters, which is a great deal.  Next time you’re looking for a quick, tasty, budget-friendly meal, think of PDQ.

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