Friday, March 23, 2018

Chick-fil-A Hopes Downtown Athens is Prepared to Eat Mor Chikin

Chick-fil-A is one step closer to bringing its chicken sandwiches, waffle fries, frosted lemonades and the rest of its popular menu to downtown Athens.  The Red & Black - an Athens-based publication focusing primarily on the University of Georgia and Athens news - broke news of the restaurant's approved plans Wednesday evening. 
Photo courtesy of Chamberlain Smith

The Atlanta-based quick-serve chicken chain gained approval from the Athens Historic Preservation Commission to open a new location at 101 College Avenue, once home to The Varsity.  According to real estate website CoStar, the building at 101 College Avenue was constructed in 1900.  The Varsity occupied the space from 1932 until  1979.  A second Athens Varsity location that opened in 1964 at 1000 West Broad Street remains open.  

101 College was subsequently occupied by Fusebox Pinball, China Express, and most recently, Five Guys Burgers & Fries, which closed this past October.  

The Athens Historic Preservation Commission met Wednesday evening and approved the plans for the popular chain to move forward with their plans.  Design plans for the new restaurant are still being finalized, but the new Chick-fil-A will hope to take advantage of the significant pedestrian traffic in the area with Kent Thagard of the chain's design team telling The Red & Black that he plans to create Chick-fil-A's and Athens’ first walk-up restaurant.

The Athens Chick-fil-A is being designed by Birmingham-based CCR Architecture & Interiors.  CCR's prior work with Chick-fil-A includes their Five Points location in Birmingham and their Avalon location in Alpharetta.  CCR also designed the converted former Birmingham bank headquarters of grocery delivery startup Shipt and the former Birmingham headquarters of Zo√ęs Kitchen.  

The Five Points Chick-fil-A, is be similar to the Athens location in that it, too, despite being in a freestanding building, does not have a drive-thru.  

Restaurant patrons will be able to walk up to an outdoor window, place their order and then pick it up inside.  There will be limited seating inside and outside with windows that will open in warmer weather to "pull the inside outdoors."  There will also be a designated entrance for mobile orders where customers can easily pick-up their food. Overall, the restaurant is about 2,000 square feet, far smaller than a typical Chick-fil-A.     

Other renovation plans include brick for the exterior of the building, glass blocks for the storefront, and a "non-shed" style awning.  Thagard tells The Red & Black that he drew inspiration for these ideas from the look of the space when The Varsity occupied it. “We want to go back to its original look and feel,” Thagard said.  

"The Historic Preservation Commission approved the plans and modifications for the restaurant with exception to a change in the size of the sign on the exterior of the building.  The current design plans for the “C” in Chick-fil-A sign to be 5 feet tall with the rest of the letters of the sign at 2 feet. For comparison, the “H” in the Horton’s Drug Store sign downtown is 4 feet tall.  The HPC requests for the “C” in Chick-fil-A to also only be 4 feet tall, and Chick-fil-A plans to accommodate its request."

According to their website, Chick-fil-A already operates five locations in Athens.  Four traditional locations: Barnett Shoals, Beechwood, Epps Bridge and Athens/Atlanta Highway, and a fifth in the Tate Student Center on Baxter Street.  

Are you pleased to see Chick-fil-A coming to downtown Athens?  What other restaurants would you like to see open in downtown Athens?  Have you tried the new Frosted Sunrise at Chick-fil-A?

Please share your thoughts below.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Icedream please. Hold the condom. (I know this wasn't the location...)

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