When P.F. Chang’s opened in Canada, initially in Toronto and then three years ago near Decarie next to the former Blue Bonnets Raceway and soon after at Carrefour Laval, there was a significant Côte Saint-Luc connection via Michael Aronovici who grew up in our neighbourhood and attended Wagar High School. As president of Interaction Restaurants group, he was the driving force behind bringing this famous brand to our country.
I have been a P.F. Chang`s fan for a long time. Whenever our family travelled to the United States where a franchise existed, we`d make sure to dine there. We have been regulars in Montreal and thank Michael for bringing this treasure to our city. Last summer ownership changed hands when Groupe Sportscene purchased the two Montreal locations.
Sportscene, the operators of the Cage Aux Sports (now known as La Cage, Brasserie Sportive,) has already utilized its golden marketing touch combined with the fortunate timing of some well received menu changes to bring back the crowds. Our most recent dining experience at the Rue des Jockeys Decarie Boulevard locale was enhanced by our server, 22 year old Côte Saint-Luc resident Natalie Solomon.
Natalie started working at P.F. Chang's in May of 2013, just in time for its opening. “I love working here,” she says. “The restaurant industry is great to get into as a student, as the hours are flexible and the job itself is fun! Working at P.F. Chang's is fantastic. We've got a great team with similar goals and I truly feel like I am part of a family at the restaurant. I'm also constantly learning new things about the culinary arts and the service industry.”
Natalie is presently in her third year at the John Molson School of Business. She attended JPPS, Bialik and Dawson College previously. After she graduates next fall she hopes to work in the fields of marketing and advertising. Besides her role as a server, she gained some great hands on experience as the resident social media guru for P.F. Chang’s. “I started working on the P.F. Chang's Quebec Facebook and Instagram pages in November for the duration of a three month contract,” she says. “We saw some great results online, gaining over 200 new followers on Instagram and 600 new likes on Facebook. Through Facebook, we were also able to reach over 3,000 users weekly.”
Next week Natalie will get to meet Philip Chiang, the founder of P.F. Chang’s (he dropped the letter “i” upon launching the restaurant) when he visits Montreal for the first time in three years. Here is the interview I did with him at that time.
Going to P.F. Chang’s for dinner is more than a meal – it is an experience. The Decarie facility is beautifully designed, with two floors and tall ceilings. There is a seasonal terrace. This is a restaurant where they do not rush you. Customers can enjoy every morsel of food. As for ordering, it is a perfect place to share dishes, which enables you to budget accordingly. We went for dinner with another couple and spent three and a half hours there. This is also a great choice for family gatherings and special occasions. You can arrange for takeout as well.
When Groupe Sportscene CEO Jean Bedard took over P.F. Chang’s, the first thing he did was drop “China Bistro” from the name and refer to the place as P.F. Chang’s. Officials travelled to the restaurant chain’s US headquarters in Arizona in order to be schooled on how to implement the new menu. While the staple favorites remain, such as chicken lettuce wraps, Mongolian beef, crispy honey chicken and shrimp, shrimp lo mein, crab wonton and more, the newest draw are the sushi rolls. We particularly love the lobster and dynamite scallop sushi rolls. And there is no better way to cap the night off by sharing the Great Wall of Chocolate cake at the table or the chocolate raspberry dessert wontons.
Both operating partners in Montreal, Emile Haykal at Decarie and Elie Sucar in Laval, were kept on by Groupe Sportscene - a good move considering their familiarity with the brand. Haykal and Sucar know their business well when it comes to customer service.
You can log on to www.pfchangs.ca to see the menu. For reservations call Decarie at 514-731-2020 at Decarie and Laval at (450) 687-8000.