Of course my first blog in the "Food & Drink" section would be about fried chicken! For years, there has been speculation and rumors of the southern-based fast food chain coming to New York City, and on October 3, 2015 many New Yorkers and transplants who now reside in the city experienced their dream come true!
I have always said that NYC is a place for "Foodies" to flourish. Though the city may be known for having the best pizza and bagels, there are thousands of options available to satisfy any culinary craving one may have. There was a missing link, though - fried chicken sandwiches! Yes, there are a few pop-up restaurants and mom & pops that may serve such a sandwich, but their options are limited, and in my opinion, they were not able to stay ahead of the demand. I am from Virginia, so Chick-Fil-A meals have been apart of my life for years. I didn't, however, realize there would be a void when I moved to the Big Apple. I didn't think I would miss the fried chicken and fresh lemonade, but I did.
I did not go to the grand opening of the restaurant, located on the corner of 37th Street & 6th Avenue, because I knew there would be pandemonium. I did try to go on the following Monday evening, though. When I walked up, I saw the crowd and I thought to myself "Ugh!" So I walked closer and tried to find the end of the line. As I was walking up 37th street, I could not see the end of the line. My impatience is real, so I decided I'd come back and try another day.
That "another day" happened to be the very next day! This time, I had a little more free time on my hands.
Here's how my experience went:
- I arrived and saw that the line looked pretty long again, but I walked to the end of it and was fine with waiting a bit. They had signs to serve as markers in line. They would say stuff like "30 minutes until you get chicken strips" or "25 minutes until you have your frosted lemonade." Friendly workers are walking up and down the line passing out menus and helping to keep all of the waiting customers organized. Some of the workers were in nice sweaters, while others were donning tuxedo vests and ties. There were also a number of employees who were wearing "I Love NY" t-shirts! Please note: The Line moves way faster than the signs suggest.
- When I got inside of the restaurant, there were a number of workers with iPads ready to take our orders. They were actually walking beside us while we were navigating through the line, and jotting down everything I requested, including what sauces I preferred. I ordered a spicy chicken deluxe meal with a frosted lemonade and an order of 8-count nuggets, with ketchup, mayo, Polynesian sauce and of course, Chick-Fil-A sauce. Once complete, they issued a colored tag. My tag was red.
- When I made it closer to the registers, I was pulled out of line and placed in front of the registers designated for red tags. When I got up to the register and handed over my tag, the cashier already knew my name and my order.
- Three minutes later, I had my bag in my hand and headed upstairs to the 90-seat dining area and snagged a high-top table by the window so I could people watch. Admitedly, I wasn't people watching...I was focused on my chicken like...
It was cool to see how Chick-Fil-A has customized their processes for NYC! It was efficient, effective, and most of all, their customer service was not compromised. I am quite sure that we will see a few more stores pop up over the next couple years.