Turkey Day is over. Black Friday has come and gone along with Small Business Saturday. The “Silly Season” will continue for another four weeks. I shudder. This past week has been busy enough. I can’t wait to compound everything with shopping. We had a lot to be thankful for, now we have a lot with which I’d like to be finished.
After returning home from my Thanksgiving excursion I couldn’t wait to be with my sons, Lucas and Graham, for some quality time. They were both getting over the double-bona-fide, sleepy-car-ride, pediatrician-verified weight loss program known as influenza Type A. The packaging from my round of antibiotics that slowly repaired a bout with bronchitis had not even made it to the outside trash, and here were my kids sicker than I had been.
They’d had a very poor Thanksgiving, but by this weekend were bouncing back with zero fever and just a small cough. So Sunday afternoon I knew it would lift their spirits if I took them on a restaurant review to someplace kid-friendly but delicious. We soon found the station wagon making its way toward PDQ.
I wrote a little bit about PDQ when it first came to my attention months ago, but now seemed as good a time as any to do an actual review. I love leftovers but we all craved something that went the opposite direction of casserole or turkey. This place fits the bill.
People Dedicated to Quality (that’s what they say) began more as a chicken tenders, salads and sandwiches type of place that straddles the line between fast-food and fresh dine-in. You order at the counter, grab your drinks from the soda fountain, sit down and they bring it to you.
Is it fast? Well, I ordered for four of us and by the time we filled our cups we didn’t have time for more than one corny joke and a half of a “and how was your day?” before the wire baskets slid under our noses.
As a growing sixth grader, Lucas has far outgrown anything called a kid’s meal. He was eyeballing the grilled chicken sandwich ($8.98), which was a bold move. He asked that they not add any honey mustard, but this still left him with mayo, lettuce, tomato and pickles. I know he dislikes three of those things. Maybe he’s maturing a bit because he still ate everything except the tomato (which was, by the way, fantastic) and I appreciated his branching out.
His meal was $1.49 heavier due to a last-minute substitution of zucchini fries over the regular potatoes. I’d say it was worth it. If there is any way of taking a healthy food and making it less so, this is it. French fry-sized strips of zucchini were breaded and fried crispy, and though Lucas begged for some kind of sauce, they were perfect on their own.
Catherine and I were both feeling the effects of too much New Orleans food and wanted to order small. She went for the taco salad meal ($8.99). I should have known that she’d order the closest thing to Mexican food as she could in a chicken tender restaurant.
This is the latest addition to the salad menu, with ground taco meat and thin strips of crispy tortillas atop wonderful greens with dressing tossed in with the veggie mix. Maybe there were too many tortilla strips, but who’s counting? I’d call this a great addition and an excellent alternative for those who are not in the mood for chicken.
I was kind of in the mood for chicken but knew I should diversify. I had to have the classic cheeseburger meal ($7.99) with a side of blueberry coleslaw and four chicken tenders ($4.99). Keep in mind I didn’t intend to eat all of this. Most of it was coming home with me, but I had to describe what PDQ is famous for. The burger is a thin patty with a small, almost buttery bun. It’s the perfect size for a hamburger. If you’re eating more than this as a sandwich, then I declare it is too much. Wonderful flavor. I hope this is the growing trend.
The tenders are what put these folks on the map. Hand-breaded and fried crispy (you may order grilled), these came with honey mustard but I added a small cup of Sweet Sriracha. Catherine loved the honey mustard. I was hung up on the Sriracha. Sure, it’s all Sriracha these days, but I don’t think the fad is going anywhere. This mix had a sweet front end with a sting of a finish.
So the only one left was the little big man. Graham is filling out his first-grade clothes rather well but decided without prodding that he wanted the kid’s nugget meal ($3.99). His appetite has diminished since the flu got him but a handful of honey-marinated nuggets and fries were unavoidable, especially when it comes with a boxed drink of Yoo-hoo!
This meal actually was the star of the show. The honey marinade comes through in the nugget. It’s not just a fancy moniker. Graham didn’t want sauce, and he was right for not taking it. This nugget was slightly sweet and perfect on its own. The fries are amazing at this place. Thin-cut and crispy, none of us could keep our hands out of his basket.
PDQ has too many designer sauces for me to list, but they range from the sweet and tangy to the hot and spicy, with creamy garlic and bleu cheese somewhere in the middle. With fries as the perfect dipper, you will want to take advantage of the sauces.
I think PDQ’s menu will continue to grow, seeing as the business is still young. But it could survive on what it’s doing right now for a long time. If you want something fast and fantastic, head over there pretty darn quick.
116 S. University Blvd.