Reporting Bill Hudson
COON RAPIDS, Minn. (WCCO) – In Coon Rapids, a parking lot is over run with tents as superfans from all over the nation are prepping for the opening of a new Chick-fil-A.
“We have people from California who drove in, Kansas City, Iowa, Illinois,” Coon Rapids franchise owner Jason Griggs said.
The Georgia-based Chick-fil-A restaurant chain is opening two new fast food locations in Minnesota. Stores in Coon Rapids and Maple Grove will be the chain’s first stand-alone restaurants in the state.
Wanda Mickelson made the drive from Kansas City for the prize of a chicken meal each week for a year. She will be among the first 100 in line when the store opens Thursday morning who will be rewarded with 52 store coupons.
“We have two sons and we go to these openings for the fun and friends,” she said. “I’m kind of a Chick-fil-A groupie.”
The parking lot is full of folks playing football, games and singing songs. The lyrics all revolve about the joys and fascination with eating Chick-fil-A chicken.
“We want that Chick-fil-A,” sings the group of girls from California who call themselves Way Out.
Griggs said the secret to the chicken is much more than the pressure cooking.
“It’s 100-percent refined peanut oil,” he said. “It’s 100 percent boneless all-white meat. We hand-bread every filet that comes through in our milk and egg wash.”
The Chick-fil-A company is debt free and posted $5 billion in sales last year. That was despite a backlash over a gay marriage comment made by its CEO. His comments were later moderated to quell negative reactions that were calling for a boycott of the company.
“We love chicken and we love Chick-fil-A and what it stands for — the family,” Mickelson said.
The restaurant chain is not open on Sundays.