The phrase “eat more chikin!” may soon become popular around the Roanoke CollegeÂ campus, as Salem is finally getting its very own Chick-fil-A restaurant.
On Sept 20, Salem Planning Director Melinda Payne announced that, after more than five years of letter-writing, touring Salem, and general prodding, the fast food chain has finally approved a site plan for a freestanding Chick-fil-A restaurant.
The restaurant will be built in the parking lot of the K-Mart on the 1300 block of West Main Street. The Chick-fil-A company has already begun the permit process so construction can begin.
“I think they’re trying to get it up as soon as possible,” Payne said.
Chick-fil-A was founded by S. Truett Cathy in 1967 in Atlanta, Georgia. Since then, the company has opened 1583 locations in 39 states.
This will be the retaurant chain’s sixth restaurant in the Roanoke Valley.
Chick-fil-A first opened in the valley at Tanglewood Mall in 1983. Since then, free-standing locations have been built in Roanoke on Valley View Boulevard and on Southern Hills Drive, as well as a location inside Valley View Mall.
A fifth restaurant stood on the Virginia Western Community College campus from 2006 until it was replaced by Dominoes in 2010.
The announcement of the opening has created a buzz of excitement amongst RC campus residents.
“There aren’t any Chick-fil-A’s in my area,” said Danielle Sekel ’15, a native of Harding, Pennsylvania. “I’m really excited to have one just down the street from campus.”
“Being raised in the south, I’m so used to Chick-fil-A being literally everywhere. It’ll be nice to a have restaurant so close by to campus,” said April Rust ’15. “And of course Chick-fil-A sauce is about as perfect as dipping sauce gets.”
Chick-fil-A has fielded controversy recently when the New York Times revealed a Pennsylvania restaurant had been providing food for the Pennsylvania Family Institute, noted for its anti-homosexual view in January 2011. Some groups called for a nation-wide boycott of the company. In response to the backlash against the company, Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy announced the company would back no political, marital, or any other type of organizations that might be deemed inappropriate or controversial.
Despite the company’s controversy earlier this year, Payne’s announcement was highly optimistic about the restaurant’s success.
“I think they tend to bring in crowds of people,” Payne said. “Folks in Salem don’t want to make that trek to Roanoke.”
The company is yet to announce a targeted opening date.