Florida Has a Tasty Secret–and It's Called PDQ

Look out, Chick-Fil-A, the South may have a new favorite chicken restaurant soon.

PDQ Tender Meal
Photo: Courtesy of PDQ

PDQ, which stands for "People Dedicated to Quality", is a rapidly-expanding Tampa-based restaurant chain that specializes in two of the South's favorite things—chicken tenders and milkshakes.

While kids will certainly love the menu options, adults will too. PDQ manages to elevate the lowly chicken tender from humble fare to a delicious meal. The chain has grown rapidly since it was founded in 2011, fueled in part by its willingness to put in the work to make food that is downright delicious. For starters, they make 11 sauces and dressings from scratch every day. Or take the Pimento Crunch sandwich. It starts with chicken that was never frozen and contains no added hormones or steroids. It is hand-breaded in-house, perfectly crisped and then served on a toasted brioche bun with lettuce and a good slathering of homemade pimento cheese, bacon, and sea salt potato chips.

If Pimento Cheese isn't your thing, perhaps PDQ's Spicy Buffalo Tenders sandwich will do. It's two crispy chicken tenders dipped in buffalo bleu sauce or healthy eaters will love the Grilled chicken sandwich that comes with honey mustard, lettuce, tomato and Grillo's dill pickles or one of the salads they make to order or a bowl with chicken and black beans. For dessert, there are shakes that are hand-spun to order and cookies are fresh-baked in house daily—and yes it does smell as good as you think. In short, it's hard to go wrong at PDQ.

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PDQ was founded in 2011 by MVP Holdings CEO Nick Reader and Bob Basham, who had previously founded a little place called Outback Steakhouse. According to the Naples News, there are some big name investors in the company, including former National Football League quarterbacks Tim Tebow and Vinny Testaverde. What started as a small Florida chain has quickly grown to nearly 77 locations in 11 states, including outposts far from the South in Las Vegas, New Jersey, Arizona, and New York.

It's easy to see why the restaurant keeps growing. Everything on the menu is prepared in the restaurant's open kitchen with cooks whipping up chicken tenders, tots, and fresh-squeezed lemonade while guests watch. Even better, everything on the menu is under $10 and according to restaurant trade magazine QSR, the average check is just $7. That combination of low prices plus scratch-made, delicious food means you should get to PDQ pretty darn quick.

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