Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Crazy Over Chick-fil-A

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 5/29/2013 No comments
I guess when you've always had access to something, you tend to not make a big deal over it. I've lived in the South my whole life, where a Chick-fil-A restaurant has always been nearby. Growing up in Rembert, SC, I would eat at Chick-fil-A from time to time when I visited Sumter Mall (back in my day it was called Jessamine Mall). But I didn't become a regular until I attended the University of South Carolina (shout out to my Gamecocks!), where there was a Chick-fil-A in our student union (shout out to the Russell House), and we could purchase a chicken sandwich combo on our meal plans. Yeah, I ate enough chicken sandwiches and waffle fries over the course of those four years to last me a lifetime.

Years later though, while living in Augusta, Georgia and eventually here in Charlotte, Chick-fil-A has simply become another staple in the fast food chain for me. Don't get me wrong, they make the best chicken sandwiches in the business (and can someone tell me how come Chick-fil-A's Hi-C Fruit Punch tastes better than everyone else's?), but I don't eat as much fast food now that I'm in my 30s. And while I love food, I don't think there are many restaurants, or dishes for that matter, that excite me to near-orgasmic levels. But Chick-fil-A causes that reaction in many people, particularly those who don't have the opportunity to eat there as often as they would like. There are more than 1,700 Chick-fil-A locations and growing in 39 states, but the Georgia-based franchise is still most-heavily concentrated in the South (the states with the most locations are Texas, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia--those five states comprise about half of all the Chick-fil-A restaurants).

And the fact that you can't buy Chick-fil-A in New York--no, Mayor Bloomberg hasn't banned them because of the size of their cups; there just aren't any locations (well, one on NYU's campus but that's it)--meaning millions of people who live in one of the most populated states and the most populated city, NYC, have either never experienced the famous chicken sandwich, or can only get it when they travel out of state.

Celebrity socialite and Californian Kourtney Kardashian ate at Chick-fil-A for the first time ever when she and her boyfriend Scott Disick visited Charlotte three years ago, when Scott celebrated his birthday at the now-defunct Butter NC nightclub. "We went to the mall in Charlotte during the day to shop and eat Chick-Fil-A, which we were told was AMAZING," Kourtney wrote on her website at the time. "We were not let down, we were all dying over the chicken sandwiches with pickles… yum!" Then last year, while pregnant with their second child, she famously tweeted: "Chick-fil-A and a water birth. No big deal," which included an Instagram photo of her Chick-fil-A cup. Guess she's hooked now.

Whenever Charlamagne Tha God, radio personality for New York City's Power 105.1 FM The Breakfast Club morning show and MTV2 host, visits the South, usually to host a party, one of his highly touted (tweeted) stops is Chick-fil-A. He's a South Carolina native, so his cravings now come from the deprivation in NYC. I remember him making the chicken sandwich chain his first stop last year when he came to Charlotte during CIAA Week; when he came this year, a flight delay caused him to miss his coveted Chick-fil-A breakfast. More recently, he was in Myrtle Beach during Memorial Day weekend and tweeted: "FYI my fellow fat minded f#@!s the Peach milkshake Is back at Chick Fil A." And he's often, comically, talking about what Chick-fil-A (and another Southern delicacy, Krispy Kreme) will cause people to do.

So why am I talking about all of this now? Because this afternoon I was on Twitter and saw a few photos (see below) of people camping out in the parking lot of the new Chick-fil-A that's holding its grand opening tomorrow (May 30) at 10001 Rea Road, in the Blakeney area of south Charlotte. Apparently, they're aiming to be one of the "First 100," which is a promotion Chick-fil-A holds each time a new location is opening, offering the first 100 people a chance to win free Chick-fil-A for a year (one meal per week for 52 weeks). These folks are crazy over those chicken sandwiches and waffle fries!

Credit: @BlakeneyCFA

You can keep up with the madness on the Chick-fil-A Blakeney Twitter @BlakeneyCFA and Facebook.


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