Residents of downtown Chicago may soon "Eat Mor Chikin".
Chick-fil-A opened its first downtown location Thursday at 30 E. Chicago Ave. near Loyola University's Water Tower campus.
The restaurant began a contest Wednesday at 6 p.m. giving a year's supply of Chick-fil-A to the first 100 adults in line at the new location. The supply included 52 certificates for Chick-fil-A meals. Free meal cards were awarded Thursday about 6 a.m. prior to the restaurant's opening.
The new restaurant is expected to create 85 jobs for Chicago residents, expanding the restaurant's Chicagoland chain from its first opening in Aurora less than a year ago.
"We’re excited about this new design which enables us to better meet our customers' needs in areas where property is limited," said Dan T. Cathy, president and COO of Chick-fil-A, Inc. in a statement. "Chicago is an ideal market to introduce this concept nationally based on area demographics and our strong desire to continue to expand in the region."
The 12-hour celebration preceding the opening included music, contests, games and Chick-fil-A. The restaurant began its grand opening celebrations in 2003, and has given away $13 million in free food.
Although Chick-fil-A is Atlanta-based, the restaurant has incorporated Chicago-themed artwork featuring its famous Cow mascot throughout its interior. A bench made from timbers used in the original bleacher seating at Solider Field was also included.
"Although the phone calls, letters and online petitions made it clear many were waiting for us in Chicago, the response to our arrival has been overwhelming and humbling," Cathy said. "We could not have asked for a warmer welcome than we received with our first three locations and know our customers are especially excited to see us open in downtown Chicago."