A few years ago, my brother and I rushed to Atlanta to see a gravely-ill family member. Being raised along the Canadian border, either of us could recite Tim Horton’s menu—with prices—but only knew Chick-fil-A from its negative news coverage.
In my home life I eschew fast food, but I do spend a lot of time in my car. I’ve learned to navigate fast-food menus for their least-deadly options.
Rochester to Atlanta is a 2000-mile round trip. By the end, I could have written a roadside guide to grease. Head and shoulders above the crowd were the Chick-fil-A stores we visited. They were clean, efficient, courteous, and inevitably crowded. Their food was decent.
And, of course, they were not open on Sunday. Having kids in food service and retail jobs made me appreciate this business model. My kids worked every holiday and every weekend. It made planning family activities very difficult.
After I returned home from Atlanta, I never expected to see another Chick-Fil-A. But they are making slow inroads in the north. There are now eleven in New England, including one in Springfield, MA. That’s just down the road from my daughter’s house, and I’ve been known to stop and buy her lunch on my way to visit.
Fast forward to house-shopping in Maine last winter. The general consensus among our kids was that we were making a grave error. Maine was on the far side of the planet; Maine didn’t have the amenities we were accustomed to. We wouldn’t have internet and we’d be huddled around the woodstove all winter.
Never mind that many New Yorkers say that about Buffalo and Rochester.
So it was with great glee that I sent them this story about Chick-fil-A opening in Bangor. New York has one Chick-fil-A, but it’s in boho Greenwich Village. That’s pretty inaccessible to most New Yorkers, and useless for interstate traveling. Now Maine will have one too, and I bet you will even be able to drive to it.
Bring on the battle of the amenities, kids!