P.F. Chang’s opens Waco location

The new P.F. Chang’s location which opened up near the Central Texas Marketplace has plenty of tasty food options and features a mural specifically designed for the Waco location. Claire Boston | Multimedia Journalist

Waco’s very own P.F. Chang’s opened last week and promises to be a valuable addition to the local restaurant scene.

Located at 5511 Crosslake Parkway near Chuy’s, P.F. Chang’s will be open seven days a week for lunch, happy hour and dinner with catering and carry-out options. Restaurant hours run from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The restaurant is hiring 160 new employees in Waco. Delivery service will become available soon after opening.

Every P.F. Chang’s restaurant has a hand-painted mural, but not all are as locally connected as the new Waco location, according to a press release. P.F. Chang’s operating partner Calvin Leslie said the mural takes about a week to complete.

“[The artist] comes in and puts up a projector to kind of get a rough outline of what he wants, and then he does the rest freehanded, so watching him do it was pretty amazing because ours has bluebonnets in it for a symbol for Texas,” Leslie said. “There’s bear paw prints to symbolize Baylor, and we’ve got a map of the Waco area and the freeway right over there. So it all kind of connects to each different location we have.”

The restaurant held a special friends and family event allowing a select group to get a preview of the new location.

“We invite some of our team members’ friends and families and we talk to local businesses and try to get them to come in. We invite people that we encounter while we’re out in town to come in and just try it. They get free food and it’s our practice service,” Leslie said.

Leslie said the design of the Waco restaurant is unique because of its transparency. The kitchen is behind huge windows, allowing customers to see everything the chefs are doing. There is a large bar area as well.

“This location is one of the new test restaurants so it’s laid out completely different than a lot of our restaurants, so they used a lot more brighter and colorful theme throughout it,” Leslie said. “Some of our older locations have darker reds and it’s more traditional, and we lightened them up a lot more now. We tried to get really cool tile work and mosaics and stuff like that, so it’s completely different for Waco because it’s a see through kitchen. You can see everything in the kitchen and you can see us cooking, prepping, so it’s different than a lot of typical restaurants.”

P.F. Chang’s features a large menu with a wide variety of Chinese dishes. Gig Harbor, Wash., senior Lauren Sanford said her favorite food to get at the restaurant is kung pao chicken.

“I’m excited because my whole family likes the restaurant, so I’m excited to have a place to take them to when they come to town. I’ve never lived in a city that has a P.F. Chang’s, so it’s exciting,” Sanford said.

Leslie said the restaurant is excited to invest in the Waco community.

“We’re just excited to be a part of Waco,” Leslie said. “We’re coming in very humble and not just wanting to be a chain but we want to be involved in the community. We’re already donating back to a few charities, we’re trying to get involved in the community as much as we can, so we’re just excited to be here.”

Farm to Wok® is P.F. Chang’s food philosophy for making food from scratch, every day in each restaurant across the world. The Waco Farm to Wok® menu will feature P.F. Chang’s signature made-from-scratch dishes, hand-rolled dumplings and sushi and desserts. The menu includes main entree options such as chicken, beef & pork, seafood, noodles and rice and includes vegetarian and gluten-free options. The food is served family style and is meant to be passed and shared, according to their website.

“Waco is a vibrant city and one of the most beautiful communities in Texas,” said Dwayne Chambers, P.F. Chang’s chief marketing officer. “We’re looking forward to making new friends and serving made-from-scratch dishes to all of our Waco guests.”

Founded in 1993 by Philip Chiang and Paul Fleming, P.F. Chang’s is the first multi-unit restaurant concept in the U.S. to honor and celebrate the 2,000-year-old tradition of wok cooking as the center of the guest experience. Since inception, P.F. Chang’s chefs have been hand-rolling dim sum, hand chopping and slicing all vegetables and meats, scratch cooking every sauce and wok-cooking each dish, every day in every restaurant, according to the press release. P.F. Chang’s Farm to Wok® menu highlights its wholesome, scratch-cooking approach and introduces new dishes and drinks for lunch, happy hour and dinner.