Pick Up Stix

Pick Up Stix
Founded 1989 (1989) in Rancho Santa Margarita
Founder Charlie Zhang
Headquarters Laguna Hills, California, United States
Number of locations
More than 70
Products Asian Cuisine
Parent Mandarin Holdings Group, LP
Website www.pickupstix.com

Pick Up Stix is a Laguna Hills, California based[1] "fast-casual" restaurant chain that serves fresh Asian cuisine through corporate-owned restaurants and franchises in Southern California. The company serves both dine-in and take-out customers, and offers offsite catering and some delivery services. It also supplies meals to private schools as part of a school lunch program. It is owned by Lorne Goldberg's Mandarin Holdings, parent company of Leeann Chin, who bought the company from Carlson Companies in 2010.[2]

All of the company's food is cooked-to-order over high-heat burners using traditional woks. In a readers poll in the June 2008 issue of San Diego Magazine,[3] Pick Up Stix was named one of three "Best Takeout" restaurants in San Diego.


Pick Up Stix stemmed from the innovation and fresh ideas of the Chinese immigrant, Charlie Zhang, who came to the United States in 1982 with only $20 in his pocket.[4] He took traditional Asian food and adapted it to the American palate by reducing the amount of oil and adding wine, vinegar and soy sauce. He opened the first restaurant in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, in 1989. By 1992, there were two additional locations in Orange County, in Irvine and Laguna Niguel.[5] Two years later, the chain expanded into San Diego County with locations in Del Mar, Carlsbad, and San Diego.[6] In July 2001, the company was acquired by Carlson Restaurants Worldwide, a unit of the Carlson Companies.[7] The company is headquartered in San Clemente, California, and owns and operates its own food-processing facility. Zhang remained as president and CEO of the company until his retirement in 2003.[8] In 2010, Carlson Restaurants Worldwide sold the company to Lorne Goldberg's Mandarin Holdings. There are over 70 locations throughout the United States.

The Pick Up Stix Menu offers chicken, beef and shrimp entrees with the choice of white or brown rice. Also, the menu includes chow mein, fried rice, and other noodle dishes. All orders are cooked fresh and they cater to special order requests. Pick Up Stix is most famous for their House Special Chicken, which is a dark meat chicken with a sweet brown sauce predominantly containing brown sugar and soy sauce. Other notable menu items include:

The Pick Up Stix cuisine can be compared to that of Pei Wei, Panda Express, or P.F. Chang's.


In early 2008, 26 locations were closed in California, Nevada, and Arizona in order to "focus on stronger markets".[9] In 2010 all locations in Nevada and Arizona were closed although Pick Up Stix' Facebook page encouraged these states’ local customers to continue to enjoy their menu at various Californian locations. However, in late 2012 the Food Court in the Excalibur hotel and casino in Las Vegas underwent a major renovation. As a result of the renovation Manchu Wok was removed and a branch of Pick Up Stix was put in its place.[10]


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