Chicago will soon be home to the first ever P.F. Chang’s To Go, an extension of the Chinese-American restaurant chain that will focus solely on carryout, catering and delivery.
“People want good quality food at their door, whether that’s their car door, house door or business door,” said Chris Demery, P.F. Chang’s senior vice president of off-premises dining.
The first To Go location will open Feb. 3 at 213 W. Hubbard St. in River North.
It will open just weeks after the closing of P.F. Chang’s last traditional restaurant in the city, a fixture in River North for 20 years that closed Tuesday, Jan. 14. The restaurant’s closure, which Demery attributed to a non-renewable lease, played a large part in the decision for the first To Go shops to open in Chicago.
Locations in the Loop (231 S. LaSalle St.) and Fulton Market (185 N. Morgan St.) are to follow, along with locations in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Houston. Most opening dates have not yet been set.
Each location will have just enough room for a stand-up counter; eating there defeats the point.
Demery said consumers want their food faster and more readily available than ever before. In fact, the business of eating off-site is growing at two to three times the pace of the business of eating in restaurants, he said.
“Consumers are moving to convenience — where they want it, when they want it, how they want it,” he said.
It’s those trends that might lead some to fear the delivery industry will swallow the traditional sit-down business. The chain has no intention of phasing out its dine-in restaurants but to offer customers a variety of ways to dine.
There are four P.F. Chang’s in the Chicago area that offer in-house dining in Lombard, Northbrook, Orland Park and Schaumburg. The company has 219 sit-down restaurants nationwide and nearly 100 more in 25 other countries.
Despite the To Go locations’ tighter space, dishes will still be made from scratch in-house. Each To Go location will offer a “subset” of the typical bistro menu — about 80 percent of the usual items will be available, Demery said.
Alcoholic beverages will not be sold at the carryout locations, though Demery said adding them in the future is not out of the question.
Delivery will be available through two main channels: the P.F. Chang’s app and website, and third-party delivery service including UberEats, DoorDash, Postmates and Grubhub.