By Bill O’Boyle, Wilkes-Barre Times Leader
WILKES-BARRE — Sydney Reigel and Michaela LaBlanc enjoyed their lunches Thursday, counting themselves among the first customers at the newly opened Chick-fil-A on Public Square.
Chick-fil-A opened at 7:30 a.m., capping off a week-long flurry of promotional activity to introduce the chicken fast-food eatery – the first one in Luzerne County – to students, staffers and the general public. The restaurant will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.
“It was very much anticipated,” said Reigel, 18, a King’s College student from Berwick. “We both had the chicken nuggets. They’re my favorite.”
LaBlanc, 18 of Pittsfield, Mass., was getting her first taste of Chick-fil-A. Having another dining option on campus is a plus, she said.
“King’s does offer plenty of food options,” she said. “I wish we had a Starbucks, or any good coffee shop, on campus.”
Reigel’s major is exercise science, and LaBlanc is in the physicians assistant program; both programs are housed in the King’s on the Square building where Chick-fil-A is located.
Virginia Spataro, marketing manager for the King’s dining program, said Chick-fil-A is one of about a half-dozen dining options on campus.
King’s also offers Leo’s on Mane Burgers and Shakes, Connerton’s Cafe, Monarch Mart, and Sandella’s at Susquehanna Place, in addition to the college’s residential dining hall.
Students provide input on their preferences for food options to be offered on campus, Spataro said.
“We do surveys and we monitor social media to see what the students have to say,” Spataro said. “We also talk to our students face-to-face and ask them what they would like to see offered.”
With the line stretching almost out the door Thursday, Chick-fil-A appeared to be a welcome addition to the King’s dining family, Spataro said.
At nearby Wilkes University, also in the city’s downtown, a dining committee that includes faculty, staffers and students meets to discuss the selection of the dining provider, as well as the on-campus options, said university spokeswoman Vicki Mayk.
Dining options offered at Wilkes are:
• Henry’s Dining Hall – a traditional cafeteria in the Henry Student Center. It includes a salad bar, sandwiches, grill items (burgers, etc.), pizza, vegetarian items and hot entrees. The dining hall is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
• Rifkin Cafe includes Grille Works and Which Wich – the latter is a sandwich franchise.
• Starbucks at Gambini’s offers coffee beverages, sandwiches, baked goods and other snacks.
• Stark Learning Center has two options. They are P.O.D. Market – which blends the features of a convenient “corner store” with a modern market supplying fresh food and produce – and Greens to Go, which offers a selection of salads and salad wraps.