In a clear sign that there may be hope yet for urban America, the first free-standing Chick-fil-A restaurant opened in New York City on Saturday — and it was a huge hit.
So much so that New Yorkers began lining up the day before the grand opening, with the line going around the block by the time the doors opened.
That’s not saying the momentous occasion went off without controversy — the Big Apple is still a liberal bastion, after all.
The Atlanta-based restaurant chain is owned by a conservative Christian family proud of their faith — the company closes all stores on Sundays to give employees an opportunity to worship if they choose. Chick-fil-A found itself engulfed in a firestorm of controversy in 2012 after CEO Dan Cathy publicly expressed support for traditional marriage.
Gay rights activists went on the attack, prompting Christian supporters to counter by participating in a Chick-fil-A appreciation day, initiated by now-Republican presidential contender Mike Huckabee, with the company seeing record-breaking sales that day.
And the militant gay rights folks were back Saturday, as were animal rights folks — because chickens are people too, or something like that.
“Chickens do have feelings! Just like we do,” the vegan activists chanted, according to the New York Post.
Not to be outdone, gay rights supporters chimed in: “We’re here! We’re queer! Get used to it!”
The only thing missing were the infamous, nearly naked Times Square painted ladies.
Nevertheless, the day had a festive feel about it, with the first 100 people in line getting free Chick-fil-A for a year, along with a button that said: “I’m One of The #CFAFirst100.”
Social media users shared photos from the day that suggest the new restaurant should fare well. Here’s a sampling from Twitter:
— Eater NY (@EaterNY) October 2, 2015
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) October 3, 2015
— Brant Hansen (@branthansen) October 3, 2015
— Grace Croley (@gacroley) October 4, 2015
— Michael Eng (@flightmike) October 3, 2015
— conzor (@conzor) October 3, 2015
— AJC (@ajc) October 3, 2015
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