IN THE BEGINNING
EARLY 1960s: Even though the first P.F. Chang’s opened in 1993, the story begins in the early 1960s. Cecilia Chiang was flourishing in the wild success of her Chinese restaurant, The Mandarin. Flash forward to 1974 and she has a second location in Beverly Hills, feeding celebrities like John Lennon and Yoko Ono. That year, Cecilia was called back to China for an extended trip. Her son, Philip, just out of art school, was realizing the woes of finding work as an artist. He stepped in to run the restaurant. And run the restaurant he did.
1990s: Enter restaurateur Paul Fleming. He’s living in Arizona running a successful restaurant concept, but also spending time at his regular Chinese place in Los Angeles called Mandarette. How does restaurant owner Philip Chiang make only three ingredients taste so tantalizingly delicious? He hopped on planes for business meetings, but mostly for some lettuce wraps; customers would surely flock. With a handshake, they agree to share the magic and P.F. Chang’s is born.