SARASOTA-- After years of waiting, the Suncoast is finally home to a P.F. Chang's Chinese Bistro.
The 270-seat restaurant located at the intersection of Osprey and Mound opened its doors on Monday night to a packed house of excited customers.
"I think it's fantastic! We thought we would want to be at opening night. The food and service was superb," said Hendrika McDowell of Sarasota.
The restaurant has hired 180 people, including servers, cooks and hostesses.
"It feels perfect. Our ambiance, our culture and everything we do for our guests and our staff. It just kind of fits into what Sarasota is all about," said Operating Partner Howard Benson.
ABC 7 Culinary Director and Hospitality Consultant Judi Gallagher expects this opening to attract other chain restaurants to the area.
"There is this great switch now around the country. Asian and healthier eating is becoming so involved and so popular," said Gallagher.
Gallagher also says the area's changing demographics will lead to more potential restaurant owners looking at the Suncoast.
"A lot of people who have moved down here recently are from the New York area. That's a different side that normally goes to the east coast of Florida that we are now getting. That demands a better caliber and better offerings, especially for ethnic cuisine you find in big cities," said Gallagher.
In addition to this P.F. Chang's, a Cheesecake Factory and some other chain restaurants are scheduled to open in the new University Town Center Mall, expected to be completed in October 2014.