Chock-full, eh? World’s largest Chick-Fil-A draws huge crowds in Fidi on opening day

The line outside Chick-Fil-A stretched around the block during its March 29 grand opening, with would-be diners literally waiting on Broadway to eat at the Fulton Street eatery.
Photos by Colin Mixson

BY COLIN MIXSON

This chicken has come home to roost — in Fidi!

Southern fried-chicken chain Chick-Fil-A opened its world’s-largest outlet in the heart of Downtown’s Financial District on March 29, and local workers flocked to the restaurant, creating lines that stretched around the block to check out the gigantic new eatery.

“We were waiting for this moment for a long time,” said Tom Berger, who commutes from Westchester for work in Fidi. “We knew it was going to open, we had it on our calendar, and we were jacked and ready to go.”

The fast-food restaurant operates four other Manhattan diners, but for its first Downtown outpost the chicken joint chose to create a massive, five-story showcase on Fulton Street, complete with a rooftop dining space with views of nearby St. Paul’s Chapel and the World Trade Center.

“The view, it’s good,” said Bronx resident Alex Garcia, who did some construction work on the building.

The 12,000-square-foot space also features two kitchens, a room for private parties, and three levels of dining that can accommodate 140 guests.

To keep waits brief, patrons are invited to order using their phones, while staff patrol the line with tablet devices that can take orders before diners reach the counter.

Chick-Fil-A brass wisely overstaffed the restaurant in preparation for the opening, and lines stretched down Fulton Street and around the block onto Broadway as waiters handed out menus, and an MC for the opening event pleaded with patrons to clear a path for pedestrians.

And while the line appeared intimidating, the wait actually wasn’t too bad, with most patrons saying it took a relatively brief 10 to 15 minutes to get their chicken dish.

“The service is incredible,” said Berger. “As my buddy said, this is the way things are done in the south. Now we’ve got a little bit of the south in the heart of New York City.”

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