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Chick-fil-A looks to open first Madison location at West Towne

2014-04-21T17:45:00Z Chick-fil-A looks to open first Madison location at West TowneMIKE IVEY | The Capital Times | mivey@madison.com madison.com

Madison is poised to get its first Chick-fil-A fast food restaurant, a chain influenced by its founder’s Southern Baptist beliefs and perhaps best known for its public stand against gay marriage a few years ago.

The Atlanta company with more than 1,700 locations in 37 states is seeking city approval to open in the West Towne Mall parking lot at 423 S. Gammon Road.

The project before the city Urban Design Commission Wednesday involves razing an existing one-story Wells Fargo bank and constructing a 5,012 square foot building with two drive-through service lanes on the 1.2 acre site.

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The proposed restaurant is described as a “tall one-story structure” clad in brick in all sides.

“Staff believes the structure is an attractive fast-food restaurant,” says a report from city planner Kevin Firchow.

Chick-fil-A has only one other Wisconsin location in Racine. But it has been on a major expansion binge with 27 new locations opened so far in 2014, including stores in Rockford and Elmhurst, Illinois.

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The restaurant is known for its all-breast meat chicken sandwich. Advertisements feature Holstein cows urging diners to "Eat Mor Chikin," a dig at hamburger-centered fast food competitors.

In 2012, sales of the privately owned chain increased 14 percent to over $4.6 billion.

Chick-fil-A was founded in 1946 by Truett Cathy who opened his first restaurant, Dwarf Grill, in Hapeville, Georgia. In the 1960s, Cathy started emphasizing restaurants in suburban shopping malls and has continued with that concept.

But the company hasn’t operated without controversy. Chief operating officer Dan Cathy's statements opposing same-sex marriage became the subject of controversy in 2012, sparking boycotts across the nation by gay rights advocates as well as counter protests.

Cathy’s comments followed media reports that Chick-fil-A's charitable wing, the WinShape Foundation, had made millions in donations to political organizations opposing LGBT rights.

Chick-fil-A has since released a statement saying "Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.” Its tax filings have shown it has stopped funding all but one organization that was previously criticized.

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(31) Comments

  1. strunz63
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    strunz63 - December 02, 2014 9:57 am
    I gotta check it out.
    Places gotta leave their personal politics, outta their business environment.
  2. Pancho
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    Pancho - November 07, 2014 11:54 am
    I've lived all over the South and don't get the appeal...tried the sammies a couple of times. A bland piece of tasteless chicken breast, a soggy bun and a couple of pickle chips! All politics aside there are countless better choices around Madison, and in that area as well.
  3. Pa Hambone
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    Pa Hambone - April 29, 2014 4:57 pm
    I'm only speakin on behalf of myself. But I bet those chickins is glad this restarant is close on Sundays. People oughta be in church anyways.
  4. Bucky Badger
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    Bucky Badger - April 28, 2014 4:09 pm
    Yes, it's their policy. All Chik-Fil-As close on Sundays.
  5. Bucky Badger
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    Bucky Badger - April 27, 2014 1:14 pm
    Politics aside, I love their chicken sandwich and waffle fries. The business will do well.
  6. River
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    River - April 24, 2014 11:14 pm
    This news gives me a boner.
  7. RDog1
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    RDog1 - April 23, 2014 9:03 pm
    "Progressive" censorship, and immorality LIVES in DANE County!! If you don't buy into their humanist pagan ideologies; then you MUST be SILENCED!!
  8. Lynne4300
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    Lynne4300 - April 23, 2014 9:00 pm
    This will be great, having a "liberal free" restaurant!
  9. Peter DiGaudio
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    Peter DiGaudio - April 23, 2014 7:15 am
    I'll make sure to make the 90 minute trip to eat there. I *heart* Chick Fil A.
  10. walkersuks
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    walkersuks - April 22, 2014 8:49 pm
    Crappy food, terrible demographic and their CEO is a loser... I would visit one strictly for the entertainment factor like a Wal-Mart or some other trashy place.
  11. GOOD DOG HAPPY MAN
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    GOOD DOG HAPPY MAN - April 22, 2014 5:07 pm


    Chick-Fil-A doesn't want to run a-fowl of all the "gaystoppo" in Dane County.

    If you can prove you're homosexual the first Chicken sandwich is free.

  12. hispeech
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    hispeech - April 22, 2014 2:32 pm
    I am SO READY for Chick-fil-A, I have missed it for YEARS!!!! after moving from Houston. They have the best chicken sandwiches. I am sure that several companies have believes that I don't agree with but that has nothing to do with good food. At least they were open and honest. So many people are full of hatred that they keep hidden until an opportunity presents itself!
  13. cwenos
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    cwenos - April 22, 2014 11:53 am
    Will not shop there due to controversy. Gave up Papa John's awhile ago for the ACA. Money talks.
  14. HockeyTeam
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    HockeyTeam - April 22, 2014 11:03 am
    It would also be a lot smarter to be open on Sunday's. Chick-Fil-A makes up for their lack of business savvy with a tasty waffle fry.
  15. HockeyTeam
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    HockeyTeam - April 22, 2014 11:00 am
    Well at least taking a stand against Chcik-Fil-A will come with a decreased risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, etc...
  16. NicksAunt
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    NicksAunt - April 22, 2014 4:48 am
    I don't care what you people do, but I will personally keep that place in business. I love Chick-fil-A!
  17. midwestguy
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    midwestguy - April 22, 2014 2:18 am
    How's that again? A fast food franchise is opening in Madison? Wake me up when there's some actual news.
  18. elsewhere
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    elsewhere - April 22, 2014 12:03 am
    Irregardless of the company's political stance, do we really need another fast food restaurant in Madison? I'm not a fan of earthy crunchy organic sustainable free range only food, but fast food is just a quick way to a heart attack.
  19. pete
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    pete - April 21, 2014 10:57 pm
    @crowbarr who said: "I just got out my birkies, tuned up the Trek, polished up my helmet and will hit the Farmers market for my meat and veggies..."

    this Trek you bought, is that one of them China made models shipped over here to sell to frauds like you? Hope you're proud, taking a stand against one mega-corporation while touting your affection of another. You epitomize what is wrong with Madison, the charlatan capital of the world.
  20. Reply
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    Reply - April 21, 2014 10:01 pm
    Ditto. The product says more than the politics.
  21. FrankDrebinPS
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    FrankDrebinPS - April 21, 2014 9:53 pm
    Krispy Kreme this ain't. Chick-fil-A will make bank where ever they are in the city.
  22. Crow Barr
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    Crow Barr - April 21, 2014 9:47 pm
    You're bad, and, like my little lady says: "In your dreams!"
  23. Buggsddp1
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    Buggsddp1 - April 21, 2014 9:46 pm
    Love the flying cows and food was not bad when we were in Pasadena for Rose Bowl 15 years ago.
  24. DaveJ
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    DaveJ - April 21, 2014 9:17 pm
    Pfffffff, Eat mo bettah.
  25. River
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    River - April 21, 2014 8:09 pm
    Tried it once while traveling. Didn't understand the fuss. Hope they do well though!
  26. Cornelius_Gotchberg
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    Cornelius_Gotchberg - April 21, 2014 7:57 pm
    @Crow Barr;

    Who knows? Madison's fickle, always has been, always will be.

    It's one of the busiest corners in town with a LOT of folks within ~ 1 mile.

    No sweat off my sack, I myself don't do fast food & haven't for ~ 26 years.

    You honestly going to be in town this weekend or you just whizzin' in the wind?

    If you are let me know. As Block Captain in my Midvale Heights neighborhood it's my sworn duty to let my charges know that a ~ Lefty Chipaway County septuagenarian will be on the prowl, and likely a slow one at that.

    When I say "a slow one," please note that I do not refer to the prowl...

    I don't roll through right-on-reds, I accelerate into them.

    It's in The Gotch handbook.

    The Gotch
  27. Crow Barr
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    Crow Barr - April 21, 2014 6:39 pm
    Kernel Gotch, glad you were the first to jump in on this story. What is your take on any eatery having any luck in the West Towne Mall parking lot??

    Hope you enjoy the chicken, sharing your consumer dollar with the Kentucky Colonel.

    I just got out my birkies, tuned up the Trek, polished up my helmet and will hit the Farmers market for my meat and veggies, please don't hit me as I stop at red lights and you are rolling through those right-on-red's!
  28. davea
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    davea - April 21, 2014 6:25 pm
    I second that!
  29. thedudeabides
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    thedudeabides - April 21, 2014 4:59 pm
    Lousy "food," lousy politics. Pass.
  30. commonsense7474
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    commonsense7474 - April 21, 2014 4:47 pm
    I wonder is this restaurant will be closed Sunday like other Chick-fil-A establishments.
  31. Cornelius_Gotchberg
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    Cornelius_Gotchberg - April 21, 2014 4:38 pm
    Cue the shrillest of the shrill "Tastes like Hate" Lefty response in 5...4...3...

    It's not enough that only Lefty doesn't patronize a business that doesn't act like Lefty wants it to.

    EVERYONE needs be bullied to get on board.

    Perhaps Chick-fil-A might "evolve" on this issue, just like Hillarity Clinton, Joltin' Joe, & Hopey Changey himself did.

    When I say "just like they did," I mean when it becomes politically expedient to so do.

    The Gotch
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