New York City’s much-anticipated Chick-fil-A is opening — here’s what it’s like to eat there

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New Yorkers, meet Chick-fil-A.
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Hollis Johnson

Chick-fil-A fans, rejoice!

The much-anticipated first official Manhattan location – save for a spot in NYU’s cafeteria – officially opens for business October 3.

This is huge: Chick-fil-A is America’s most loved restaurant chain with a cult following in the South and the Midwest.

We got a look at the restaurant before it officially opens, and one thing is clear: The food looks pretty tasty.


Welcome to Manhattan’s first Chick-fil-A! It’s in midtown, at 6th Avenue and 37th Street. Definitely not the most glamorous neighborhood, but it certainly will get a lot of foot traffic from people who work nearby.

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Hollis Johnson

We were greeted by the chain’s signature cow, which for years has been encouraging customers to “Eat Mor Chikin.'”

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Hollis Johnson

Chick-fil-A has been around for years. While mostly loved, the chain has had some trouble winning over liberally minded people, given President Dan Cathy’s comments about gay marriage. Cathy has since apologized, but how quick are New Yorkers to forgive?

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Hollis Johnson

Source: USA Today


Chick-fil-A told Business Insider it operates on the principle of embracing everybody, which should likely appease the socially conscientious. But how does Chick-fil-A plan to satiate the time-starved, frustrated, often abrasive New Yorkers?

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Hollis Johnson

… With this brand-new “upstreaming” technology. This method of ordering was tested out in Chick-fil-A’s Chicago unit. You order your food on a tablet while you wait in line. This is comparable to a drive-thru since you can’t have drive-thru in Manhattan, and drive-throughs are responsible for lots of Chick-fil-A’s orders. As for abrasive and wily customers, Chick-fil-A told Business Insider that employees have been trained how to deal with all sorts of customers. Not everyone wants to be waited on; some people are in a hurry.

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Hollis Johnson

Southern hospitality is the theme here, and Chick-fil-A maintains that hospitality is incredibly important to the chain. Everyone is super nice and friendly — a welcome surprise in midtown Manhattan. Employees instructed us to pick up our food at a color-coded register.

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Hollis Johnson

But the biggest draw, of course, is the food.

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Hollis Johnson

It looks like things will be moving rather swiftly — there should likely be tons of foot traffic, and that’s something that Chick-fil-A wants.

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Hollis Johnson

And now, feast your eyes on the world-famous chicken sandwich and waffle fries.

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Hollis Johnson

… And the world famous chicken nuggets.

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Hollis Johnson

Chick-fil-A is also catering to the health-conscious with items like wraps.

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Hollis Johnson

There are salads, too.

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Hollis Johnson

A new item for the New York market is this breakfast sandwich — a whole wheat English muffin filled with egg whites, grilled chicken, and cheese.

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Hollis Johnson

There’s also a Greek yogurt parfait.

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Hollis Johnson

To prove just how fresh the food is, Chick-fil-A took us into its kitchen. Yes, everything is made fresh that day. We saw firsthand! Chick-fil-A also permits customers to take backstage tours; the chain maintains it has nothing to hide.

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Hollis Johnson

Check out this chicken getting coated in Chick-fil-A’s signature batter.

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Hollis Johnson

These are the fryers where Chick-fil-A makes its signature sandwiches.

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Hollis Johnson

The biscuits are made in-house, too.

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Hollis Johnson

Even the lemonade is freshly squeezed. Chick-fil-A maintains that the recipe is just lemons, sugar (or Splenda if it’s diet), and water. No prepackaged stuff.

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Hollis Johnson

Of course, there’s also sweet tea to wash down your sandwich.

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Hollis Johnson

The produce is local — from New York and New Jersey — and the wraps come from Damascus bakery in Brooklyn.

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Hollis Johnson

For those who can’t live without Chick-fil-A, the company also offers catering, with items that can withstand colder temperatures — like waffle chips, as an alternative to the famous waffle fries.

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Hollis Johnson

Chick-fil-A is expanding. A second Manhattan location will open several blocks away in the beginning of 2016. Later this year, a unit in relatively nearby Jersey City will open, too.

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Hollis Johnson