ASHWAUBENON (NBC 26) — The first Chick-fil-A in the Green Bay area is officially open. The restaurant had its grand opening at 8 a.m on March 10th. By 7 a.m, cars were already starting to line up for the drive thru.
"It’s known for fast food but it feels like a whole sit-down restaurant,” said Green Bay resident Jenalee Johnson.
Johnson and Marissa Stevenson, two St. Norbert College students, arrived at around 6 a.m in order to be the very first in line. The two say Chick-fil-A is one of their favorite restaurants and that they often visit on special occasions like birthdays.
“I did do my senior photos at Chick-fil-A so I have a deep love for Chick-fil-A,” Stevenson said.
Green Bay Chick-fil-A fans say they were excited to have the restaurant in their home town, as opposed to driving to the next nearest location in Appleton. Raeann Brehm came to the grand opening to support her two children who were starting their first jobs at Chick-fil-A. She says her family frequently visits Chick-fil-A so the job seemed like a perfect fit.
“Looks like they’re doing a good job on taking their orders, I’m so proud of them,” Brehm said.
But controlling the grand opening traffic was no easy task. The Ashwaubenon Public Safety Department collaborated with Chick-fil-A and Bay Park Square Mall officials to direct traffic through the mall parking lot.
“The plan we came up with is to only enter the mall parking lot for Chick-fil-A heading northbound on Oneida Street and making a right turn into the mall parking lot," said Deputy Chief Nick Kozloski. "The right lane will go to Chick-fil-A and the left lane will be for mall traffic that way the only way you can access the drive thru is through that intersection.”
Kozloski says Chick-fil-A paid the full amount for officers to direct traffic from Thursday to Saturday. He says officials decided to move traffic through the mall parking lot in order to avoid backups on Oneida Street.
“We really wanted to avoid having traffic backed up on Oneida Street," Kozloski said. "Oneida Street is busy enough as it was so this was the easiest way we could fit a lot of cars in without backing onto the street.”
Come mid-afternoon, while some customers were waiting in the drive thru for anywhere from thirty to forty-five minutes, they said they thought Chick-fil-A was handling the traffic well.
“When I got here the line wasn’t even out to the street or anything so I thought they did a pretty good job,” said Green Bay resident Michael Brown.