OK, so the official opening isn’t until Sunday, but no fried chicken sandwich is safe from the Feed Me team, especially when you’re preparing them mere minutes from Newsday’s offices. Such is the case with Farmingdale’s new PDQ, the first New York location of a fast-casual restaurant with national ambitions.
While most of the Tampa-based chain’s eateries are in Florida, PDQs can now be found in 10 other states as the company mounts a challenge to market behemoth Chick-fil-A. And although still in the last days of its soft opening, our own PDQ — located just across the street from Republic Airport — was jammed at lunchtime, even as the drive-through window was still under construction.
While the restaurants have a similar vibe and signature product, I found PDQ’s Crispy Chicken sandwich to be the tastier of the two. Whereas Chick-fil-A offers a lonely plank of breast meat adorned with only a couple of pickle slices, PDQ’s version is served with mayonnaise, lettuce, tomatoes and pickles. Deep frying produces a pleasing crunch that Chick-fil-A’s pressure cooker method can’t match, and PDQ’s buttermilk marinade produces juicy meat whether grilled or fried. Then again, PDQ’s sandwich costs almost a dollar more than Chick-fil-A’s ($5.29 vs. $4.35).
PDQ’s menu also contains chicken tenders/nuggets, salads and sides — including zucchini fries ($3.99) and tots ($2.49), the first undersalted, the second a bit greasy — but it’s the sandwiches that have gotten the most attention. I tried two others, the Cali Club, a solid sandwich of grilled chicken, bacon, avocado and more ($6.99), and the Honey Butter, a super sweet Crispy Chicken variation. The sandwich I had was a sticky mess, but maybe that's inevitable.
One more thing: for my money, PDQ serves one of the better shakes out there, at least among chain restaurants. Its $3.49 chocolate version is creamy, chocolaty, thick, and much in need of the comically fat straw with which it’s served.
PDQ is at 1004 Broadhollow Rd. in Farmingdale, 516-858-5009, eatpdq.com. Hours are Sunday through Thursday, 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.