Pick Up Stix

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Pick Up Stix
Founded1989; 35 years ago (1989) in Rancho Santa Margarita
FounderCharlie Zhang
HeadquartersLaguna Hills, California, United States
Number of locations
More than 70
Key people
Linda Nelson, COO and Lorne Goldberg, owner
Number of employees
ParentMandarin Holdings

Pick Up Stix is an American fast-casual restaurant chain based in Laguna Hills, California,[1] that serves fresh Asian cuisine (or Chinese-American cuisine as well) 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, the 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 the three "Best Takeout" restaurants in San Diego.


Pick Up Stix was created by a Chinese immigrant, Charlie Zhang, who moved 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 more 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 Laguna Hills, California,[8] and owns and operates its own food-processing facility. Zhang remained as president and CEO of the company until his retirement in 2003.[9] In 2010, Carlson Restaurants Worldwide sold the company to Lorne Goldberg's Mandarin Holdings. There are over 70 locations throughout the United States.


In early 2008, 26 locations were closed in California, Nevada and Arizona in order to "focus on stronger markets".[10] 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 California 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. In 2022, their Rancho Santa Margarita location was closed. [11]


  1. ^ "Contact Us". Pick Up Stix. Archived from the original on October 11, 2015. Retrieved March 24, 2017.
  2. ^ Vomhof, John Jr. (December 21, 2010). "Leeann Chin owner buys Pick Up Stix from Carlson Cos". L.A. Biz.
  3. ^ "2008 Readers Poll Picks". San Diego Magazine. June 2008. Archived from the original on August 7, 2011.
  4. ^ Tillman, Jodie (September 14, 2016). "How Pick Up Stix founder Charlie Zhang went from farmworker to millionaire". Orange County Register.
  5. ^ Morgan, Kitty (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. 42.
  6. ^ Kleven, Robin (May 5, 1994). "Hungry at five or six? Try Pick Up Stix". San Diego Union Tribune. p. 44.
  7. ^ "Carlson Restaurants to Buy Pick Up Stix". Los Angeles Times. June 8, 2001.
  8. ^ "Contact Us". Pick Up Stix. Archived from the original on October 11, 2015. Retrieved March 24, 2017.
  9. ^ "Charles Zhang, President and CEO of Pick Up Stix, Announces Retirement; Search for Successor is Underway". PR Newswire (Press release). March 6, 2003. Archived from the original on June 12, 2016. Retrieved November 25, 2019.
  10. ^ Anderson, Mark (January 17, 2008). "Pick Up Stix closes eight local restaurants". Sacramento Business Journal.
  11. ^ "Excalibur Hotel & Casino Introduces New Castle Walk Food Court". Vegas News. December 10, 2012.

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