Tampa-based food chain, PDQ, has opened their fourth Jacksonville location at The Crossing at St. Johns Town Center at 4816 Gate Parkway. If you’ve never been to a PDQ, you’re in for a chicken-filled treat. They are best known for their chicken tenders, chicken salads, fries, chicken sandwiches and hand-spun milkshakes.
PDQ has also rolled out a new seasonal menu and chef-inspired bowls which I got to try at their soft opening. The seasonal menu will feature items that may or may not stick around after each season but are sure to leave your taste buds intrigued.
The Southern Pimento crunch set the stage with crispy chicken, homemade pimento cheese made with Tillamook cheddar, green leaf lettuce, sea salt potato chips and Pederson’s all natural bacon. You really can’t go wrong with some crispy chicken and some pimento and then added bacon. I especially liked the added potato chips that gave it a nice crunch. You do want to make sure you eat this sandwich pretty quick once you get it because those chips do get soggy and lost in that cheese goodness. You’ll find this bad boy on their seasonal menu and I’m hoping it gets a permanent spot!
I also had the grilled hawaiian chicken sandwich. The chicken is teriyaki-marinated then topped with Tillamook pepper jack cheese, Pederson’s all natural bacon, grilled pineapple and sweet sriracha slaw. I have to admit I had really high hopes for this sandwich,but unfortunately, all of the flavors were lost when I took a bite. I could taste the pineapple and that was about it. The chicken had a nice flavor but their crispy chicken is winning for me. However, it is nice that PDQ has stepped out of their comfort zone with this sandwich and giving us a healthier option. I’d give it a second chance, for sure.
Fun fact: You’ll notice that PDQ uses Tillamook cheeses and all natural bacon. Tillamook cheeses aren’t made with any artificial or processed ingredients. It’s nice to know that they take the time to find quality products for their foods.
The most interesting newest addition to their menu has got to be the Thai peanut bowl. This newcomer starts out with some basmati rice and then piled on top is their honey marinated nuggets, broccoli, mango salsa, peanuts, toasted coconut and last but not least drizzled with Thai peanut sauce. Surprisingly, this was very tasty! I am still shocked. It was such an odd combination with the nuggets but that Thai peanut sauce brings it in for a home run. Once again, kudos to PDQ for really adding some items that are outside of the box. I’m really here for it!
If you aren’t feeling very adventurous then don’t be hesitant to go for their crispy tenders, sandwiches, nuggets or a salad. They’ve got my favorite chicken fingers right now and please make sure you opt for some zucchini fries over their regular ones because they will rock your socks and make you feel a little healthier! Also don’t pass up the chance to enjoy a cheerwine or their fresh-squeezed lemonade and for dessert, yes dessert, grab a hand-spun milkshake.
Lastly, let’s talk sauce! Because their sauces are, as a PDQ t-shirt would read, “SAUCESOME”. They’ve got a sauce for everyone. The list is made up of ranch, buffalo bleu, creamy garlic, honey BBQ, sweet sriracha, chipotle BBQ, honey mustard and bleu cheese. I made a point of dunking my chicken tender into each sauce and enjoyed them all for different reasons. I’ve always been a sucker for ranch and the PDQ ranch packs some flavor that won me over. Their buffalo bleu is a perfect combo for buffalo and bleu cheese lovers. They creamy garlic is exactly as named and is sure to keep vampires away with a strong garlic finish. Both the honey BBQ and chipotle BBQ were great BBQ sauces. They were a little sweet, a little tangy and a little smoky. The sweet sriracha was probably my least favorite. It just didn’t pack that sriracha punch that I was looking for but for those of you that only use a drop of sriracha then you’d enjoy the mildness and sweetness of that one.
The prices aren’t too shabby for what you’re getting either. You’ll pay about $8 for a crispy tender meal which includes fries and a drink and the sandwiches run around $9 a meal as well. If you don’t have a lot of time but you’re still wanting some fresh made, good quality food, PDQ is the place for you. You’ll be kindly greeted in their drive-thru by an actual real live person, yes! That is a treat in itself; and be sure to read their shirts because they will have you crackin’ up and asking where you can buy one for yourself.
If you didn’t know, PDQ stands for “People Dedicated to Quality” and i’ve got to agree that the quality of their food was something I noticed right away and I’ll be back because of that!
I’m also going to admit that I’ve been back about three times since then for their zucchini fries…but it’s healthy, right?
Note: From time to time we’re invited out to try a restaurant or to taste new menu items. This meal is usually comped, as this one was. We’re under no obligation to write a positive review or any review at all when we’re invited out to try a place. Every review you see on our site will be an honest response view of the place whether or not the restaurant provided us with the meal at their cost.