Since 2005 when I visited my first PF Changs in Raleigh North Carolina I became enchanted with the place. Their food and drink menu made me a loyal customer. On that occasion I was working for KPMG and we where at a client when my good friends and ex-coworkers decided to check out PF Changs. I remember the Raleigh mall had two new restaurants I had never tried one was Cheesecake Factory and the other one was PF Changs.
For the complete week we ate on multiple occasions at PF Changs and from there on I would make it a habit to search for a PF Changs while I was living out of suitcase travelling the throughout the United States. Even my GPS was programmed to search for local PF Changs as soon as I visited a place.
Over the years I have visited many PF Changs (Austin, Fort Lauderdale, White Plains, Boston, Chattanooga, Raleigh, Tysons Corner, Washington, D.C., Stamford, Atlanta and a few more that I am probably missing) and wondered why we did not have one in Puerto Rico.
Why I love their Menu
PF Changs has an awesome menu at great prices it also allows you to customize their menu options so you can choose what you like the most. Before becoming vegetarian I use to love their chicken lettuce wraps after returning to PF Changs being vegetarian one of the most pleasant surprises was seeing their vegetarian lettuce wraps just added to the menu.
The Vegetarian lettuce wraps are one of my favorite appetizers. I am also a big fan of their multiple vegetarian options but I rather choose my favorite off the menu plate that is Kung Pao ToFu.
My Biggest Concern Before visiting PF Changs San Juan
To be very honest my biggest concern with having a PF Changs was having it maintain its Franchise and Brand Integrity. For some reason brands and franchises come into Puerto Rico and they get altered like for example the Local Cold Stone Franchise is nothing like entering a Cold Stone in the U.S. I will leave the rest of my opinion for a future post.
My First Visit to PF Changs San Juan
I was at the Annual ISSA conference in San Juan and had the opportunity to spend time with my good friend Kelvin (@kelvinlomboy). We went to the mall and I decided to sign us up on the list that had a 2 ½ hour wait. We went around the mall shopping and Kelvin even got himself a haircut. We arrived at the approximate time and where informed that given how people where staying longer than expected it would be another hour. Given that I had waited so long we decided to stay in the bar area
During our hour wait I had a bartender approach me and ask me if everything was ok. Even though the wait time was off something normal when a restaurant opens (especially on their first week) they still acknowledged we where their and try to make the situation as comfortable as possible.
Kelvin and I had a few drinks and I chatted with the folks next to me. Everyone appeared to be in good spirits. Once we where called to the table we had an awesome waiter (Alberto) who took care of us.
Replicating the PF Changs experience
Our waiter Alberto clearly replicated the PF Changs experience. I felt like if I was sitting at any other PF Changs in the world but with the difference that if I stepped outside I could get a cool Caribbean breeze to soothe the tropical temperature.
I ordered the usual, which I will include in my post More Vegetarian Option @PFChangs San Juan at @veglatino. The food was excellent and the staff was even better. The two waiters Alberto and another excellent waitress that assisted him had a lot of charisma and where full of ideas on how to make our dining experience even better.
After the meal I made sure I let the management know what an awesome job their staff had accomplished. That the food, great customer service and overall experience after we where sat at our table made up for the 3 ½ wait.
I would love to take the family to PF Changs again but with an 11-month daughter I guess I will wait till the crowds go down.
Overall if you are looking for a great dining experience in the San Juan Area feel free to visit PF Changs I highly recommend it.
If it is your first time their make sure you try the Sauce on everything even on your dessert.
Feel free to read my review on Veglatino on the same visit.