Chick-fil-A will be opening a restaurant in Coon Rapids in October, but the company was in town Aug. 16 to host a community event at Sand Creek Park.
Almost 2,400 Chick-fil-A free sandwiches were served during the two-hour community party, according to Cindy Chapman, Chick-fil-A spokesperson.
“We were thrilled with the reception and can’t wait to open our doors,” Chapman said.
The boneless breast of chicken sandwiches, for which Chick-fil-A is famous, were made on-site in a mobile kitchen, she said.
The event also included mascots, tethered balloon rides and the dedication of a park bench for Sand Creek Park made from recycled polystyrene cups.
Coon Rapids is one of four locations where Chick-fil-A will be opening stores in the Twin Cities in October and November.
The first 100 adults in line when the store opens its doors will receive a year’s supply of Chick-fil-A sandwiches.
The Coon Rapids restaurant is under construction on the site of the former Bennigan’s restaurant at 3590 River Rapids Dr. NW, which is off Round Lake Boulevard in the Riverdale Village Shopping Center.
The other new Twin Cities locations will be in Apple Valley, Maple Grove and Bloomington.
These will be the first stand-alone stores in the Twin Cities, according to Chapman.
Chick-fil-A already has a presence in Minnesota at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and on a couple of university campuses, including the University of Minnesota, Chapman said.
“We will be bringing 70 to 80 full- and part-time jobs to the community,” she said.
The franchise operator of the Coon Rapids store is Jason Griggs, who is moving from Ohio where he has been a Chick-fil-A franchise operator, Chapman said.
His wife has family in the Twin Cities, she said. “They are extremely excited to be coming here,” Chapman said.
Coon Rapids was chosen as a location for one of Chick-fil-A’s first stand-alone stores in Minnesota because it has the “right mix” of residential and business, she said.
“We are very community based working with schools and organizations,” Chapman said.
Founder Truett Cathy first began serving his Chick-fil-A boneless breast of chicken sandwich, pressure cooked and served on a buttered bun with two pickles, at the Dwarf Grill, which opened in Hapeville, Ga., in 1946.
It was the signature menu item when the first Chick-fil-A restaurant opened in 1967 and it has remained the centerpiece of the menu, according to a press release from Chick-fil-A.
Headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., Chick-fil-A now has 1,738 restaurants in 38 states and Washington, D.C.
It has been named “one of the top three fast-food chains for healthier menu items” by Men’s Health magazine, the “most popular large chain” by Zagat Survey and one of America’s “most inspiring companies” by Forbes magazine.
Chick-fil-A is planning to expand its presence in Minnesota by upward of 10 locations in the next three to five years, according to the press release.
As part of its launch at the first four stand-alone locations in the Twin Cities, Chick-fil-A announced a joint partnership with Junior Achievement.
Peter Bodley is at [email protected]