Da Paper says Pei Wei is closing its three locations in Louisiana. The one here in #themetrys isn’t all that far from the house, and we went occasionally. We even went to the one on N. Carrollton, in Mid City, for a quick meal before a New Orleans Jesters soccer match. It’s OK food. Nothing to write home about, and I suspect that’s why the chain didn’t take off here. There are several mom-and-pop Chinese places within a mile of the Metairie location, as well as some good Japanese (Little Tokyo and Sake Cafe), just down Veterans. In Mid City, there are so many interesting dining options, the chain’s demise in that neighborhood didn’t surprise me in the least.

The statement from the chain makes a lot of sense:

Pei Wei spokesman John Glynn told the magazine Tuesday (June 28) the company is focusing its business “in areas where our restaurants are performing well.” The Arizona-based company closed its locations in New Orleans and Baton Rouge Sunday, the magazine reported. The Metairie location will close by the end of the week, Glynn said.

So, where does Pei Wei perform well? In white-bread areas where there’s not a lot of ethnic diversity. Pei Wei, along with its big brother, P.F. Chang’s, are “safe” options for “Asian” food. White people who don’t know Japanese from Chinese from Thai food can get something-sort-of-like-something else at these places. They’re chains, so the diners don’t have to worry about health code violations, etc. 

Me, I’ll do like I did last week, go over to Star Wok on West Esplanade and Transcontinental if I have a craving for a Chinese takeaway. 

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