The Chick-fil-A parking lot on Wednesday
Why would 100 people sleep here on Wednesday night? They never heard of Nickelsville? Kelly O

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Controversial Southern fast-food chain Chick-fil-A opened today on the busy corner of Northeast Eighth Street and 116th Avenue Northeast in Bellevue. Yesterday morning, at the asscrack of dawn, hundreds of people showed up at the edge of the restaurant's parking lot, armed with coolers, tents, sleeping bags, air mattresses, cornhole games, cribbage boards, and books. Oh, so many amazing books! By 5:30 a.m., exactly 100 people had been chosen and tagged with numbered wristbands that allowed them to set up camp until the following day. The scene was eerily reminiscent of an Occupy camp, except that these 99-percent-ers weren't there to protest. They were there for free chicken. The idea was that the first 100 customers at the first local outpost of the potentially-only-formerly-homophobic Southern Baptist chicken franchise would be rewarded with one free Chick-fil-A meal a week for a year. But there were rules: Once inside, no one was allowed to leave. They could receive visitors, however. People will do anything for free meat. Here's what it looked like:

Know Thy Neighbor
Know Thy Neighbor. Kelly O

Still closed on Sundays, Dan Cathy's once-biblical business is now booming in the Northwest, with two more locations opening this month in Lynwood and Tacoma.

Chosen One #86
Chosen One, #86. Kelly O

Not inventors or creators of actual chickens
Because obviously, Jesus invented chickens, duh. Kelly O

I thought some LGBT protesters might show up, but none did. I wasn't the only one who anticipated some conflict. As Pharrell Williams's "Happy" played over a loudspeaker, a guy told me someone delivered about $250 of Domino's pizza, with a note that "these are for the protesters." The scene was sunny and relaxed—even "joyous." Kids threw Frisbees. Moms and dads sat in lawn chairs near their tents, waiting for their number to be called so they could join the line for free food.

SHERYL (left) We've been walking our 10,000 steps, getting our exercise in, were not all just fat people here for free food.  DAVIS (right) Even my gay friends are like, CHIIIICKEN!, and willing to cross the line. Where do you draw the line, get mad about this, yet have an iPhone, who exploit workers in China, so I do and don't agree. I like the chicken!
Sheryl (left): "We've been walking our 10,000 steps, getting our exercise in, we're not all just fat people here for free food." Davis (right): "Even my gay friends are like, "FREE CHIIIICKEN!" and willing to cross the line. Where do you draw the line? Can you get mad about this, yet have an iPhone—a company who exploits workers in China? So I do and don't agree. I do know I like chicken." Kelly O

SPRING BREAKER, READING GREAT EXPECTATIONS…  Were waiting for the free chicken! If you leave youre disqualified. At breakfast they walked us through the drive-thru and gave everyone free biscuits. For lunch, they practiced having us inside with the new employees, and had us order even though there was only one option. I said Ill have what everyone else is having.
Spring breaker, reading Great Expectations by Charles Dickens: "If you leave the parking lot, you're disqualified, and they check our wristbands when we line up. At breakfast they walked us through the drive-thru and gave everyone free biscuits. For lunch, they practiced having us inside with the new employees, and had us "order" even though there was only one option. I said, "I'll have what everyone else is having." Kelly O

JEFF, WEARING A CHICK-FIL-A NAME TAG Im not really an employee, someone gave me this name tag at my bachelor party.
"Jeff", wearing a Chick-fil-A name tag: "I'm not really an employee, someone gave me this name tag at my bachelor party." Kelly O

WHAT ARE YOU READING?: HIM: A Lucky Child, its an Auschwitz memoir. HER: God in My Everything, its what my church group is reading.
"WHAT ARE YOU READING?": Him: A Lucky Child, it's an Auschwitz memoir. Her: God in My Everything. It's what my church group is currently reading." Kelly O

JADE, WITH A SIKU, LARGE SUITCASE AND CONTAINER OF SPANISH RICE This is technically not a pan flute, those are longer—this is a Siku. I absolutely LOVE the chicken sandwich and waffle fries here! Right now Im eating Spanish rice that I brought from home. I packed my work clothes, and I am going straight to work after this ends tomorrow morning.
Jade, with a siku, large suitcase, and container of Spanish rice: "This is technically not a pan flute, those are longer—this is a siku. I absolutely LOVE the chicken sandwich and waffle fries here! Right now I'm eating Spanish rice that I brought from home. I packed my work clothes, and I am going straight to work after this ends tomorrow morning." Kelly O

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KEN, WEARING A VINTAGE CHICK-FIL-A DENIM SHIRT You must be from the Bellevue Journal American! Oh, The Stranger? How cool is that!!! The alternative paper! I used to like reading the personal ads in the back. Ive been waiting for this for 16 years. I used to live in Atlanta. Ive even had people FedEx me Chik-fil-A from Denver. I heard about this opening, and  I had to come here. Theyve provided us with games, exercise, phones, football, its been a great experience. Im really CRAZY for this brand! And everybody else here is just as crazy as I am! Theres a 70-year old woman here in a cow suit! This is really a cool thing. People here have great values. I dont want to know anyones political stance on anything, just shut up and make a great product! Ive got lots of gay friends.
Ken, wearing a vintage Chick-fil-A denim shirt: "You must be from the Bellevue Journal American! Oh, The Stranger? How cool is that!!! The alternative paper! I used to like reading the personal ads in the back. I've been waiting for this for 16 years. I used to live in Atlanta. I've even had people FedEx me Chik-fil-A from Denver. I heard about this opening, and I had to come here. They've provided us with games, exercise, phones, football, it's been a great experience. I'm really CRAZY for this brand! And everybody else here is just as crazy as I am! There's a 70-year-old woman here in a cow suit! This is really a cool thing. People here have great values. I don't want to know anyone's political stance on anything, just shut up and make a great product! I've got lots of gay friends." Kelly O

TRIPLE GENERATION BOVINE REPRESENTATION Jeanne (grandma), Lacey (mom, who was reading a book called The Blood Gospel before this photo was taken), and Evelyn (girl): LACEY We made these suits! They do cow appreciation day every year on a secret date, and you get free food!!! We thought more people would be dressed up; but were the only cows. [Are you three related?] We are three generations! Evelyn and Grandma drove by this corner every day and watched the progress… The Denny's came down, walls went up, then the sign... Were so excited. I like the #2—the Deluxe chicken sandwich. Grandma, she likes the salads.
"Triple generation bovine representation" Jeanne (grandma), Lacey (mom, who was reading a book called The Blood Gospel before this photo was taken), and Evelyn (girl). Lacey: "We made these suits! They do cow appreciation day every year on a secret date, and you get free food!!! We thought more people would be dressed up, but we're the only cows. [Are you three related?] We are three generations! Evelyn and Grandma drove by this corner every day and watched the progress… The Denny's came down, walls went up, then the sign... We're so excited. I like the #2—the deluxe chicken sandwich. Grandma, she likes the salads." Kelly O

STEPHANIE Do we look crazy? Like a strange species that migrated to this food source? Really, its like a BIG tailgate party! Only a hundred people though—and only certain people are allowed in to visit their family members. When we line up for food, they count us, they double check our numbers. Weve played lots of games ,done some fun group activities. At other openings, theres usually a DJ and a dance party, but in City of Bellevue you cant have music after 5 pm. Oh, were also here because we get 52 free meals! If youre chosen as a First 100 you get a whole year of free Chick-fil-A! I did the math and figured for the time Im spending here its equal to making $10.88 an hour.
Stephanie: "Do we look crazy? Like a strange species that migrated to this food source? Really, it's like a BIG tailgate party! Only a hundred people, though—and only certain people are allowed in to visit their family members. When we line up for food, they count us, they double-check our numbers. We've played lots of games, done some fun group activities. At other openings, there's usually a DJ and a dance party, but in City of Bellevue you can't have music after 5 p.m. Oh, we're also here because we get 52 free meals! If you're chosen as a "First 100," you get a whole year of free Chick-fil-A! I did the math and figured for the time I'm spending here it's equal to making $10.88 an hour." Kelly O

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