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Bill Brown

A complicated man.

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Today is the grand opening of the Chick Fil-A at Raintree and 101.

I went there for breakfast at around 6:15 am and it was surprisingly busy. Apparently, they run a promotion at each new location where the first 100 people through the door get free Chick Fil-A food for a year. Given the number of kids in the store when I was there, I’d say that school let out just in time for these youngsters. I had the chicken biscuit and the Chick-n-Minis. I’d never eaten there for breakfast and they seemed the most representative. They were alright but nothing special. I’m going to try the breakfast burrito sometime before I wholly discount their breakfast offerings.

I also went there for lunch. Just because. I probably won’t eat there for another week or two, so I thought I’d splurge and go twice in one day. I had the chicken sandwich combo. It comes with only pickles, so it was not at all what I was expecting. If I have it again instead of the nuggets, I’ll definitely opt for some additional lettuce and tomatoes. The nuggets represent the highest form of Chick Fil-A delight: they’re pure, unadulterated chicken in a batter that should make Colonel Sanders say, “Damn, I could have saved about ten essential herbs and spices!” I used to save my $3/week allowance as a child so that I could eat a 12 pack every now and then at the long-gone Paradise Valley Mall location.

The lunchtime crowd was unlike anything I’ve ever seen except for the opening of the first In ‘N’ Out location in metropolitan Phoenix, which I waited 45 minutes in line to eat at. The line stretched far out the door; I couldn’t even get on the same street it was on and had to park in the Sam’s Club lot and hike in; and staff were constantly plying patrons with free samples, helpful instructions, and offers of assistance. I don’t know how long they’ll keep it up, but it was certainly something to experience. I was grinning the entire time because it was just so neat that a fast-food restaurant with several Valley locations was inspiring this reaction.

Which was the reaction I fondly remembered from my childhood.