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Despite rumors, Chick-fil-A says it’s not coming to Buffalo

The rumors that Buffalo may get a Chick-fil-A are getting louder, helped along by a hoaxed graphic circulating online.

The graphic lists locations and opening dates for future Chick-fil-A restaurants in Amherst, Cheektowaga and Orchard Park, but the company denies the rumors.

Chick-fil-A said that, while it’s always evaluating new markets, Buffalo Niagara isn’t on the books yet. But it’s also not off the table.

“While we hope to serve the Buffalo community in the future, we do not currently have any locations to confirm,” said Brenda Morrow, a company spokeswoman.

In June, it confirmed to the Albany Business Review that it was scouting locations in that region – which would be its first in upstate New York. It also has a location in New York City. In the past, chains that have appeared elsewhere in the state have expanded into the Buffalo Niagara region once they get a supply chain established. That was the case with Sonic Drive-In, which announced plans for its current Cheektowaga location just six months after news broke that the chain was headed for Rochester.

Michael Mulvaugh of North Tonawanda fell in love with Chick-fil-A on a trip to Virginia in 2006. Since then, he has made pilgrimages to the Erie, Pa., location more than once to get his Chick-fil-A fix.

His favorites are the chicken bites, with waffle fries and Polynesian sauce, which is like a more tangy sweet and sour sauce.

“They make you feel welcomed, and the chicken is really above everyone else,” he said.

Staff there knows that if someone asks for their chicken sandwich packaged “Buffalo style,” it means to separate the chicken from the buns so it doesn’t get soggy on the drive back.

Currently featured on the Chick-fil-A website is a letter from a superfan in Lewiston titled “Please come to Buffalo.” The fan said the first thing they do when they travel for work is search for the closest Chick-fil-A. She commended the service and food and said she regularly makes the trip to Erie, which has the closest location to Buffalo.

“I’m not the only who has this feeling where I live and I’m sure I’m not the only one taking the run to PA to get Chick-fil-A. So please come to Buffalo, Niagara Falls or Western New York,” she wrote. “The millions of tourists alone that we get from Canada and all over the world will give you amazing exposure and I’m sure would more than keep the local business thriving.”

Loyal fans have successfully lobbied other national chains to come to the region in the past, among them Trader Joe’s, Sonic Drive-In and Whole Foods.

Chick-fil-A has courted controversy in the past, making statements against same-sex marriage. Those statements resulted in a boycott of the company, which was followed by support from anti-same-sex marriage customers who filled the restaurant and parking lots.

The company’s stores stay closed on Sundays in order to observe the Christian sabbath. It also requires franchisees to abide by a host of rules, including church involvement, and to go through a long vetting process.

email: schristmann@buffnews.com

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