Although D.C.’s first Chick-fil-A opens tomorrow in Columbia Heights (3100 14th St. NW), about a dozen people were spotted lining up in front of the forthcoming eatery early this morning.
Why? Well, here’s one good incentive: The first 100 customers through the restaurant’s doors will win free chicken sandwiches for a year.
Still, to win the free food, you have to wait all day and night until tomorrow’s grand opening event. Is camping out on the cold sidewalk truly worth 52 free chicken sandwich meals?
Jeff Cousins, 60, said yes, it is. Cousins said he showed up with a blanket and a collapsible chair at 12:45 a.m. to be the first in line.
“I love Chick-fil-A. For us, it’s a family affair,” said Cousins, who added he took the day off and that being the first person in the fast food joint was on his “bucket list.”
Laura Bibbs, 34, also took the day off from her job to stand in line. “I’ve been waiting forever,” Bibbs said. “We’re really committed.”
Bibbs, who called herself “one of the biggest Chick-fil-A fans,” added she snagged the runner-up spot at 5:15 a.m.
But the prospect of standing around has already caused other early birds to chicken out, said several people waiting outside the eatery. Some who lined up earlier this morning reportedly left after they realized what they had to do to win the free food.
Storm Fallout — This morning high water forced street closures in Northwest D.C. A tree fell on a Metro bus at 15th and K streets NW. No one aboard the bus was injured, officials said. [Washington Post]
The Chick Fil A Approaches — Early signs point to the fast food chain coming to 3100 14th Street NW at the former Lime Fresh Space in DCUSA. [PopVille]
The Pixies — Brendan Polmer and Ryan Little with a review and compelling photos of the band’s show at the 9:30 Club on Sunday. [Washington City Paper]
Hush Lounge Denied Liquor License — There are concerns in Park View that the bar’s application resembled a club rather than a tavern. [Park View DC]
From Alden Leonard. Contact him at alden[AT]borderstan.com and follow him @aldenleonard on Twitter.
Back to food trucks (did we ever really leave?). Amidst a national controversy over Chick-fil-A’s public opposition to same-sex marriage, last week neighborhood-based Human Rights Campaign (HRC) staged a protest at the fast food restaurant’s food truck downtown.
Protesters held signs that informed diners their lunch money would be going to the Wingate Foundtion, the charitable wing of Chick-fil-A. (See Playing Chicken with Politics and Food.)
You can’t say they weren’t warned. A few months back, there was something of a kerfuffle surrounding the debut of a Chick-fil-A food truck in the District because of their connections to ultra-conservative charities. And DC, particularly Borderstan, is a pretty liberal place. (See Playing Chicken with Politics and Food.)
Outrage to the chain’s stance on gay marriage goes far beyond DC, with mayors in Boston and Chicago publicly saying they don’t welcome Chick-fil-A in their cities (even though they cannot legally stop them from expanding there). Late Friday afternoon, even Mayor Gray got in on the action, tweeting that he “would not support #hatechicken.”
By Michelle Lancaster. You can follow her and let her know your news on Twitter @MichLancaster. Email her at michellel[AT]borderstan.com.
It’s not the first time that the chain has found itself in the center of controversy. It’s no secret that the chain has religious roots, as all restaurants are closed on Sunday at the behest of the founder. Those roots have become more visible of late due to the actions of WinShape Foundation, the founder’s charitable organization.
The foundation promotes Christian values, including a very traditional (read: no gays allowed) definition of marriage. To that end, the Foundation has given more than $3 million to anti-gay groups since 2003. The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated at least one of these groups as a hate group.
The problem for DCist, as outlined by Dean Gold (who owns Dino in Cleveland Park) is that DCist said chicken lovers ‘rejoiced’ at the chain’s food truck, or indicated they should. Gold took umbrage at ‘rejoicing’ the arrival of a corporation that has an anti-gay position as well as their “corporate crap from tortured chickens.”
In tweets and then a piece in the Washington City Paper, he and other food heavies in the area argued, essentially, that if you continue to order that No. 5 meal, you are funding and endorsing an anti-gay agenda.
DCist, in a follow-up piece, pondered if there was a way to separate the politics from the food. But it should be noted that the WinShape Foundation is funded by the corporate entity, and at least some of that funding comes from revenues at restaurants. In other words, a portion of the cash you hand over for waffle fries likely ends up, albeit in a small percentage, funding anti-gay groups.
So, if you are what you eat, where does that leave a supporter of gay rights who also happens to have a particular weakness for the eight piece nuggets with Chick-fil-A sauce? Will you order from the truck and up your donations to the Human Rights Campaign in a fit of greasy guilt? Or are certain politics so abhorrent to consumers that a boycott is the only moral, ethical thing to do?