If you haven't been to PDQ, you're missing out! It's been around a year and is our favorite fast food place around. Although calling it fast food doesn't really do it justice because PDQ isn't like most fast food.
Let me count the ways that PDQ stands apart from the crowd:
1) No freezers. No microwaves. All food is fresh. They even make their sauces fresh.
2) They believe in a personal touch. To order at the drive-thru you pull up and speak to an actual person, and the service inside and out is top notch.
3) Bottled Cheerwine, Yoo-hoo, fresh squeezed lemonade, and freestyle coke products (EVEN served at the drive through) are among the drink options.
4) Hand washing sink for little ones right out in the middle of the restaurant. Super fun and it encourages hand washing!
5) Happy hour half-off prices on their amazing milkshakes from 3-5pm everyday! They always have the typical vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, oreo, heath bar, chocolate peanut butter, and malt. But they also have seasonal flavors - I have personally slurped down some delicious dreamsicle shakes, as well as s'mores, key lime pie, and salted caramel. Currently the seasonal flavor is cocoa krispies!!!!
6) fresh cut apples served in pineapple juice and a side of caramel toffee dip
7) the most high quality chicken and turkey I've ever had in casual dining. Period.
8) Everything just the way you want it - sky's the limit. Want your tenders tossed in a sauce? Great! Want to have your sandwich carb-free by wrapping it in lettuce? Sure! It's pretty impressive.
9) Blueberry Cole Slaw and hand cut (seriously you can see them doing it through the window) fries as side options. Plus their peanut butter chocolate chip cookies!!!
10) I could go on and on but I gotta tell you about their new food!
They invited us recently to sit down and check out their brand new menu offerings. Previously they had 9 variations of chicken and turkey menu items, including tenders, salads, and sandwiches. All yummy... (did I mention I go to PDQ a lot?) They just introduced their new Cali Club, which is the first time they've offered the more healthy alternative of grilled chicken served on brioche bun with ranch, crispy bacon, avocado, lettuce and tomato. It was of course, amazing, and you can actually now add avocado to any other menu item as well. Just a nice, fresh sandwich, and definitely not something available at any other drive thru you'll find.
They are also offering nuggets for the first time, and like their chicken tenders, they are simply amazing. Just the right amount of crispy and tender because they've been marinated in honey, and are perfect with any of their homemade dipping sauces. My favorites are ranch (best ranch I've ever had. EVER.), creamy garlic and the new honey BBQ. (This is a perfect time to mention that you can buy any of their dipping sauces in a larger container, but keep in mind that since they're made fresh without any preservatives or high fructose corn syrup, they do have to be refrigerated and have an expiration date shorter than anything you'd get elsewhere. I'll take quality any day over something I just forget about in my glove box.) If your kids are crazy for nuggets, you really need to try PDQ's. Even my son who typically won't eat chicken at all chowed down on a basket of these!
We also hadn't ever ventured into the turkey territory of their menu because we love the nuggets so much, so they insisted we give it a try. They have two turkey options - one is crispy breaded turkey fillet with a creamy siracha sauce and wow. Perfection. The other is nicknamed "Thanksgiving on a bun" and it's grilled turkey breast with cranberry sauce. I admit I'll be getting turkey next time I come in. I just had no idea it could be that good. The photo up at the top of the post is of the crispy turkey and it's making my mouth water just writing this - haha!
Next they let the kids make their own shakes (after cleaning the machines well since there are food allergies in my family), what a blast! It's nice to see a restaurant be accommodating to food allergies, especially in casual dining where it's so fast paced. But they truly want to live up to their slogan of "people delivering quality", yes that's what the PDQ stands for!
Lastly, it's so important to note that PDQ is incredibly generous to the Durham Community. They offer Family Night events, where they donate a percentage of an evening's sales back to a school or charity. They can even provide stickers, flyers, and yard signs to help advertise your day. They did a Family Night event for Habitat for Humanity in May, and you know that my other group, SoDu Parents Posse, is really involved in Habitat right now so it makes me happy to see that PDQ supports them. They also have charity gift cards, where an organization can purchase PDQ gift cards at a discounted rate and then make a profit from selling them. I have been to end of season parties for Durham Parks and Rec soccer leagues at PDQ, where PDQ donated a kids meal and shirt to each child. And I've been to PDQ on their beloved teacher appreciation days and mother's day promotions - now that's a delicious reward for a job well done! I just found out that they even host bloodmobile and book drives! (Did I mention they also have fun with their promotions? Like free tenders on national brown shoe day, or free shake if you wear a costume in the restaurant on Halloween?)
Basically, this place is the real deal. Fresh food fast with a focus on quality, personal attention, and outreach. Swing by and you just might get as addicted as I am!
What we liked: The quality of the food can't be beat, and their willingness to innovate, which was something I hoped they'd do. As someone who knows their menu pretty well, I was ready to branch out, so the yummy Cali Club is a refreshing change. And I love how they give back!
What we would change: I do wish there was an indoor playspace and that it was closer to SoDu, but I get that there's not much they can do about that! Honestly, it's not that long of a drive from Garrett Rd so we often get PDQ and bring it to Old Chapel Hill Road Park for a picnic.
3301 Watkins Road, Durham, NC 27707
(On the hill above 15-501 near the intersection with 40, next to Freddy's, Mattress Firm and Chipotle, same side of the road as AC Moore, Home Depot and Kohl's)
Hours: 10:30am - 10pm, 7 days a week
On facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/PDQDurham