An impromptu festival atmosphere broke out in the parking lot of the new Coon Rapids Chick-fil-A, where the Georgia-based restaurant chain had vowed to give 52 coupons to the first 100 customers in line when the store opened at 6 a.m. Thursday.
The parking lot was full of tents belonging to chicken sandwich fans.
“We have people from California who drove in, Kansas City, Iowa, Illinois,” Coon Rapids franchise owner Jason Griggs told WCCO. Wanda Mickelson came from Kansas City to get her 52 coupons. “I’m kind of a Chick-fil-A groupie,” she told WCCO.
The new Coon Rapids and Maple Grove fast food joints will be the first stand-alone Chick-fil-A restaurants in Minnesota. Chick-fil-A has outlets at the University of Minnesota, Minnesota State University, Mankato and the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
Chick-fil-A restaurants in Apple Valley and Bloomington will open next month, the Star Tribune notes.
Minnesota fans swapped stories about their Chick-fil-A obsessions on a Facebook page.
The fast-growing chain is the second-largest U.S. fast-food chicken restaurant, after KFC. The family-owned company has about 1,740 restaurants in 39 states.
The chain's owner Dan Cathy has been in the news this year for the success of his operations, as well as for his political stance against gay marriage. That position has prompted both boycotts and backing for the chain. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., has been among those to throw her support to Chik-fil-A because of Cathy's opposition to gay marriage (see her video).