P.F. CHANGS Chinese New Year Lunch with Founder Philip Chiang

P.F. Chang's Chinese New Year Media Event at P.F. Chang's in West New York, New Jersey

For those of you that don’t know, I grew up in the ‘burbs. And if you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m here to tell you that the suburban lifestyle in New Jersey isn’t glam like NYC. From what I remember, it’s safe, controlled and expected. I was surrounded by malls, movie theaters, diners, and chain restaurants.

When I received an invitation to attend an exclusive menu tasting at P.F. CHANGS, I remembered when they were opening a P.F. CHANGS in my neighborhood 9 years ago. My Mom mentioned it during a short visit home from my freshman year in college and said, “Did you hear there’s a new restaurant being built? It’s a chinese restaurant chain called P.F. CHANGS and it should open when you’re back in the summer.”

In the ‘burbs, a new restaurant opening means a new environment; a nicer place for parents to go on a date without breaking the bank, and a place for teens to hangout and pass the time with friends other than TGIFridays.

I never went to P.F. CHANGS when it opened 9 years ago, so I was interested to learn about this billion dollar empire from PF Changs Founder, Philip Chiang, and their brand new 2015 Chinese New Year menu.

LUNCH AT PF CHANGS: I invited my friend Sabine to join me and upon arrival we entered a blocked off VIP area to met Philip Chiang, one of the founders for all 200+ P.F. CHANGS restaurants worldwide (they’re also opening P.F. Changs in Korea). Philip spoke to us about the origin of P.F. CHANGS and how it all started with one restaurant in Scotsdale, AZ back in 1993.

CHIANG DYNASTY: When he started talking about his desire to provide Chinese food to the masses through casual dining, I made the correlation between Philip and his mother Cecillia Chiang. Cecillia opened The Mandarin restaurant in San Francisco and introduced upscale Chinese food to Americans. Cecillia is known as the first to introduce Chinese food to the public and earned the 2013 James Beard Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award Winner.

When I asked Philip more about his moms influence in his journey as a restaurateur, he said, “she provided food to people in an aristocratic way… I always wanted my restaurants (like PF Changs) to be a casual, comfortable experience… I’ve opened quite a few restaurants but my Mom definitely influenced me a lot with her experience in the business… and she likes our Chicken Lettuce Wraps that’s featured on our Chinese New Year menu… it’s actually both of our favorites.”


 

CHINESE NEW YEAR MENU: P.F. CHANGS will be offering a special menu to celebrate Chinese New Year from February 16 – March 5, 2015. There are 8 dishes on the menu to celebrate the Year of the Sheep, and each dish represents Chinese traditions such as good fortune, longevity, and prosperity (check out each description on this special menu at your local P.F. CHANGS).

BONUS! If you order off the Chinese New Year menu, you’ll receive a red fortune cookie with a chance to win a roundtrip ticket to San Francisco! Are the odds in your favor? Find out by visiting your local P.F. Changs!


 

If you want to see which dishes I enjoyed from the Chinese New Year menu, check out my instagram feed or search the hashtag #ChangsChineseNewYear – Happy Chinese New Year!

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