Four years after Chick-fil-A set local tongues clucking, another national chicken chain is staking its claim on Long Island. PDQ chose Farmingdale as the site of its very first restaurant in New York State and plans a July 21 opening date.
Tampa-based PDQ (People Dedicated to Quality) was founded in 2011 by Bob Basham (co-founder of Outback Steakhouse) and Nick Reader, and has more than 60 locations nationally. The menu takes a global approach to fried and grilled boneless chicken, with sandwiches ($5 to $6), salads ($7 to $8) and nuggets. It’s a family-friendly place, with 72 seats, counter service and a drive-through window, whose mascot is a chef’s-coat-clad chicken giving the thumbs up.
The Farmingdale location, on Route 110 across from Republic Airport, is operated by Dean Poll and Thomas J. Fanning, who purchased franchise rights for Long Island, New York City, Westchester and the counties of Connecticut and New Jersey that border New York.
Poll, who owns the Loeb Boathouse and Gallagher’s Steakhouse in Manhattan, is the brother of George and Gillis Poll, whose restaurants include Bryant & Cooper, Toku and Hendricks Tavern in Roslyn and The Bryant in Huntington. Dean Poll hasn’t been involved in a Long Island restaurant since he sold Riverbay in Williston Park in 2012.
While his background is in fine dining, Poll said “everything in the industry is leading to QSR — quick service restaurants. When you consider the expense and time involved in having a traditional sit-down meal, I’m convinced that people are looking for a quality meal that’s quick and inexpensive.”
It was Fanning, Poll’s friend and estate planner, who made the connection with PDQ (he and Basham belong to the same club) but once Poll visited a few of the locations, “I knew I wanted to get on that train.”
Poll was drawn to the corporate culture of “always fixing things, even if they aren’t broken” as well as the commitment to making everything in house. He’s also bullish on chicken. “There are so many burger places, they are beating each other up. I think we’ve only scratched the surface of the chicken segment.”
Nevertheless, there’s a cock fight brewing on this stretch of Route 110. Less than two miles north of PDQ, Chick-fil-A is planning a new location with 118 seats and a drive-through window. Chick-fil-A currently operates restaurants in Roosevelt Field, Commack, Port Jefferson Station and Hicksville, with more planned for 2019.
PDQ will be at 1004 Broadhollow Rd., Farmingdale, eatpdq.com.