You would think that the Capital District was some sort of backwoods hick region, the way the populace gets so excited about the arrival of a chain store in the area. A few years ago, someone installed a Trader Joe’s on Wolf Road and people lost their shit. Then after that, we got a Sonic restaurant, and you would have thought Taylor Swift was holding a free concert on Troy-Schenectady Road with all the traffic there.
Now comes news that the Capital District is about to get its first standalone Chick-fil-A eatery. Yeah, there’s one at the airport, but you can’t even eat there unless you buy a plane ticket first. So that one doesn’t count. But there’s interest in bringing a Cick-fil-A to Clifton Park.
Now, the minute there’s news like this, two things come to mind. Chick-fil-A has its fans, who claim that chicken served from that restaurant is the best food they’ve ever consumed. And there are Chick-fil-A’s detractors, who note that the ownership donates tons of cash to organizations that denounce LGBTQIA in this country.
Well, for me, there’s a third topic for discussion.
Why do we need another fried chicken restaurant in the area? No, seriously, why do we need one?
Can one not get a decent chicken sandwich from Popeye’s?
Did KFC change their name to KF and stop selling chicken?
Is there not a plethora of tasty mom and pop chicken restaurants in the South End and on Central Avenue, with tasty, juicy fried chicken at the ready?
I mean, seriously, is there such a demand for fried chicken that we even NEED Chick-fil-A in this neighborhood?
Or is it just, “I want one here because everyone else has a Chick-fil-A and we don’t?”
Meh. If you’re really desperate for a chain restaurant to set up shop in the Capital District, then let’s get some White Castle here. Or maybe even an In-and-Out Burger. Or until those arrive, hey, here’s a novel idea, WHY NOT JUST SUPPORT THE INDIVIDUALLY OWNED CHICKEN PLACES IN THE AREA, instead of dumping your money into an organization that wouldn’t serve you a chicken sandie if they thought you were gay?
Then there are the people who cry and moan, “Oh, why can’t we get a Wawa convenience store in the area?” Dude, you’ve got Stewarts, which is 15 times better than any old Wawa. And now we’ve got 7-Eleven stores in the area, so you can get your Slurpee fix if you want to.
And don’t even get me started with those Wegmans stans. It’s a grocery store. Just like Hannaford and Price Chopper and all the rest of them. They don’t serve 15 eggs to a dozen, they don’t have chicken with extra drumsticks, it’s just a grocery store.
I know, I know. I don’t need a Chick-fil-A in the area. But that’s only because they don’t bring anything to the table that I can’t get from Colonel Sanders or from Popeye Doyle.
Your mileage may vary, but that’s your choice.
And if I’m that desperate for a Chick-fil-A sandwich … I’ll rationalize it by buying a plane ticket and eating the food at the airport. So there.
Chick-Fil-A in Clifton Park? Whatever. We’ve had those ridiculous commercials with the cows for the last decade or better. We’ve got KFC & Popeye’s. That should be enough.
But we do have some empty storefronts in Troy that could use one.
I’ve been one who lets the marketplace decide. For the longest time PChop and Hannaford controlled the grocery store race, but then ShopRite, et al came into the area, and an existing tiny health food store moved to a more competitive location.
Shop Rite was here for a while, left, and came back. In between, Hannaford set up shop in the area.
As someone who grew up in the capital district but went to college in Wegmans country, I find Wegmans far superior. We finally got one in Va Beach and I make the occasional trip out just to get things I can’t get at my local Walmart or food lion.
I must confess that when I was a senior in high school in the Carolinas, many, many years ago, the first Chik-Fil-A that I ever experienced opened in the mall near my house, and God’s honest, we thought it was the BEST THING EVER. I literally remember digging change out of drawers and cars to come up with enough money to satisfy my salty meat jones there a few times. But their politics are vile, and I’ve not eaten at one for probably 20 years at this point, and see no reason to change that. I also wrote this piece 12-ish years ago, while still living in the 518, touching on this topic in the aftermath of the failed Krispy Kreme experiment on Route 2 in Latham . . .
The key segment, for those who don’t do links:
“Even as a proud, ex-pat Southerner who truly values the native cuisine of the Carolinas, I’m prepared to acknowledge that the diners of the Northeast offer a culinary niche that simply can’t, and shouldn’t, be effectively provided down South. Oh, sure, you could buy a shiny diner building and plop it down in, say, Salisbury, North Carolina or Orangeburg, South Carolina, but it wouldn’t be right there, just as Cheerwine wouldn’t be right if placed in the cooler cabinets of one of Upstate Yankonia’s many Stewart’s Shops. Some dining concepts are simply regional, and should stay that way. Look at what happened when some bright bulb decided to bring a Krispy Kreme to Latham, New York, smack in the middle of Dunkin’ Donuts and Bruegger’s country. As the kids say today: Epic fail. Same thing would happen to a real diner down South. Folks might be awed by the chrome at first (we’re big on shiny stuff down South), but once the novelty wore off, folks would drift back to Duke’s, or Blue Mist, or Waffle House, or Whispering Pines, or whatever other traditional Southern restaurant they favored before the shiny diner showed up. And if a shiny diner did manage to succeed in the Deep South, it would just demonstrate that too many Northerners had already settled in those parts, disrupting the natural ebbs and flows of community, and forcing said parts to renounce their claims to Deep Southdom, instead being properly reclassified as exclaves of Florida.”
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