By Bill O’Boyle, Wilkes-Barre Times Leader
WILKES-BARRE — It was an odd scene Monday morning in Monarch Court on the campus of King’s College as the lunch hour approached.
Hundreds of students lined up to get a free sampling of Chick-fil-A, the restaurant that will open Thursday in the King’s on the Square building. It will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and closed on Sunday.
As students waited for their free lunch, the Chick-fil-A mascot, an upright white and black cow of TV commercial fame — “Eat Mor Chikin” — stood almost motionless as the first 175 sandwiches were disbursed.
Jennifer Smalley, 18, of New Jersey, is a freshman English/secondary education major at King’s and is very familiar with Chick-fil-A.
“I love Chick-fil-A,” she said. “We have them back home in New Jersey. I’m glad they are coming to Wilkes-Barre and to our campus.”
The Chick-fil-A at King’s on the Square will mark the first Chick-fil-A location in Luzerne County. There is a Chick-fil-A in Scranton, said Brett Lewis, the company’s grand opening supervisor.
The Wilkes-Barre restaurant will open at 7:30 a.m. Thursday and will be open to the public.
The franchisee for the store is Chartwells Higher Education Dining Services, which provides food service for King’s College. Virginia Spataro, marketing manager for King’s College’s dining program, said college officials are trying to get two 15-minute parking spaces on Public Square to allow customers easy access to the restaurant.
According to a pre-event news release distributed by King’s, the college signed a 10-year contract with Chartwells effective July 1. A contract stipulation was the placement of a Chick-fil-A franchise in the combined academic and residential building opened by King’s College in 2014 in the former Ramada Hotel building.
Monday’s give-away was held to build excitement for the opening. In the first five minutes, some 175 chicken sandwiches were given away. Chick-fil-A and King’s personnel had to return to the King’s on the Square building to get more sandwiches. Officials said approximately 500 signature Chick-fil-A chicken sandwiches were given away on a first-come/first-served basis.
About the Chick-fil-A cow mascot
According to the Chick-fil-A website: “In 1995, a renegade cow, paintbrush in mouth, painted the three words “Eat Mor Chikin” on a billboard. From that day forward, the burger-eating landscape would forever be changed.
“These fearless cows, acting in enlightened self-interest, realized that when people eat chicken, they don’t eat them. Today, the cows’ herds have increased and their message reaches millions — on television, radio, the internet, and the occasional water tower.
“Needless to say, Chick-fil-A fully endorses and appreciates the monumental efforts made by our most beloved bovine friends.”