TOMS RIVER, NJ – If you’re used to the P.F. Chang’s experience in Freehold and are visiting the Toms River location for the first time, you might be in for a bit of a surprise. The two restaurants, aesthetically are completely different from each other, while the food at both is essentially equal.
One of the most notable differences between the two locations upon entering is the ambiance. The Freehold P.F. Chang’s has the feel of an upscale restaurant with a fine dining type experience. It’s quiet, and reserved, it has large secluded booths, a private dining room, and divided spaces.
The new Toms River location is smaller. There are no private booths in Toms River it’s one small open space with a high ceiling with dance-style music blasting. It almost has the ambiance of a New York City cafeteria-style space.
The food at both locations is identical, so if you enjoy P.F. Chang’s menu, then either is great. If you want a nice date night spot, go to Freehold. If you want an in-and-out experience or drinks with friends, or even a family outing, then Toms River will do also.
While we were there, one customer even asked about the difference in the ambiance and overall loudness at the Toms River location and was told, “This is how we do it here.”
The loud, often not enjoyable music didn’t really bother us, but Yelpers have taken notice.
“The music was horrendously loud. Conversation is part of the dining process, therefore this must be ironed out,” one reviewer said.
You can check out the P.F. Chang’s playlist on Spotify.
Overall the experience was decent, but since we live 24 minutes from each location, we’ll probably stick to Frehoold in the future because it does offer a better overall dining experience for the same food. When you go out to eat, sometimes you just want to relax and enjoy the company at the table and not be drowned out by loud asian-fusion dance music.
Maybe if the music was more recognizable, this would not have been an issue. If we were going out for drinks at night with friends, we’d definitely choose the Toms River location. After going to several P.F. Chang’s around the country, it definitely feels like some brand corners were cut in Toms River.