Just days after we told you that Chick-fil-A is planning to finally open outposts in NYC later this year, the fried chicken sandwich purveyor revealed (on Tuesday) the location of its first franchise restaurant here: Herald Square.
Here's the scoop: the Chick-fil-A restaurant will be located at 1000 6th Ave (at 37th St and Sixth Ave) near Herald Square, and the company anticipates a late summer opening date, according to a statement from Carrie Kurlander, VP of Public Relations at Chick-fil-A. And, just like other Chick-fil-A restaurants, the new three-level, 5,000sqft location will not be open on Sundays, according to a report by Crain's New York Business.
"We are beyond excited about opening our first franchise restaurant in New York," Kurlander said. "Until now, the only place you could enjoy our food was on the campus of NYU. We are ready to fire up the grills and serve our chicken, hot waffle fries, and fresh lemonade to the Herald Square neighborhood."
But that's not all. According to Kurlander, the Herald Square outpost will be just "the first of many locations in the city."
The news comes nearly a year after a Chick-fil-A executive promised the company would open multiple locations across NYC in 2014, which never panned out. Chick-fil-A has operated a small outpost for years inside of New York University's Weinstein Food Court, which is described as having "limited hours and/or accessibility" on the company's website, but not a standalone eatery -- the closest of which is in New Jersey. NYU officials did not respond to questions regarding how accessible the food court is to non-students.
Questions remain as to how NYC's LGBT community will respond to the opening of the huge Chick-fil-A restaurant in their city, considering the controversies over CEO Dan Cathy’s past statements opposing marriage equality for same-sex couples. In 2012, then-NY City Council Speaker Christine Quinn led an unsuccessful campaign to oust Chick-fil-A from the city because of what she said were the company’s “discriminatory views.”
Nathan M. Schaefer, executive director of Empire State Pride Agenda, New York’s statewide LGBT rights group, issued the following statement in response to the news:
"We hope that Chick-fil-A's planned entrance to New York City comes with a side of LGBT-inclusivity and a newly-thought strategy for supporting ventures that are equality friendly. The bedrock of our city is built on diversity and the history of the LGBT civil rights movement took place on our streets; we encourage all new businesses, including Chick-fil-A, to learn from the mistakes they've made and follow in the footsteps of the many in New York who already excel when it comes to LGBT inclusive polices and practices by welcoming a new era that is reflective of the people they will be serving."
But we'll see if they start handing out chicken sandwiches at the pride parade...
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