Pick Up Stix
|Founded||1989in Rancho Santa Margarita|
|Headquarters||Laguna Hills, California, United States|
Number of locations
|More than 70|
|Parent||Mandarin Holdings Group, LP|
Pick Up Stix is a Laguna Hills, California based "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.
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, 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. 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. Two years later, the chain expanded into San Diego County with locations in Del Mar, Carlsbad, and San Diego. In July 2001, the company was acquired by Carlson Restaurants Worldwide, a unit of the Carlson Companies. 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. 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:
- Cream Cheese Wontons
- Orange Peel Chicken
- Mongolian Beef
- Beef and Broccoli
- Shrimp and Vegetables
- Asian Lettuce Wraps
- Egg Rolls
In early 2008, 26 locations were closed in California, Nevada, and Arizona in order to "focus on stronger markets". 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.
- "Contact Us". Pick Up Stix. Retrieved February 26, 2010.
- Vomhof, John, Jr. (December 21, 2010). "Leeann Chin owner buys Pick Up Stix from Carlson Cos.". L.A. Biz.
- "2008 Readers Poll Picks". San Diego Magazine. June 2008. Archived from the original on 2011-08-07.
- Tillman, Jodie (September 14, 2016). "How Pick Up Stix founder Charlie Zhang went from farmworker to millionaire". Orange County Register.
- Register, Kitty Morgan; The Orange County (July 10, 1992). "Carting it home is half the fun - Chinese takeout from Pick-Up-STIX is fresh family food - and comes in those cartons". Orange County Register. p. p42. (subscription required (. ))
- Kleven, Robin (May 5, 1994). "Hungry at five or six? Try Pick Up Stix". San Diego Union Tribune. p. 44. (subscription required (. ))
- "Carlson Restaurants to Buy Pick Up Stix". Los Angeles Times. June 8, 2001.
- "Charles Zhang, President and CEO of Pick Up Stix, Announces Retirement; Search for Successor is Underway". PR Newswire (Press release). March 6, 2003.
- Anderson, Mark (January 17, 2008). "Pick Up Stix closes eight local restaurants". Sacramento Business Journal.
- "Excalibur Hotel & Casino Introduces New Castle Walk Food Court". Vegas News. December 10, 2012.