Henrietta, Rochester, N.Y. – Monroe County’s second Chick-fil-A opened Thursday morning at 100 Marketplace Drive in Market Commons plaza.
The fast-food restaurant began serving breakfast at 6:30 a.m., by which point drive-thru customers were already lined up.
Business hours are 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Because of coronavirus pandemic restrictions, initially, the eatery will be offering drive-thru and carry-out service only. People can go inside the restaurant to order at the counter, but they can’t dine-in. They also can choose contactless ordering and payment through Chick-fil-A’s mobile app, the Atlanta-cased company said in a statement.
Chick-fil-A grand openings are known for drawing enormous crowds, fueled in part by First 100 events in which the first 100 people in line for a grand opening are eligible to win one free Chick-fil-A meal a week for a year. However, in another pandemic-related change, the chain has temporarily suspended the promotion, opting instead to provide 52 free meals to “100 local heroes making an impact in Rochester.”
That freebie aside, traffic jams persisted for months around 2140 W. Ridge Road in Greece after Monroe County’s first Chick-fil-A opened there in the spring of 2018.
Henrietta officials approved plans for the Market Commons plaza location, at the site of the old Joe’s Crab Shack, in August 2019 after developers agreed to have a left turn signal installed at Jefferson Road, which intersects with Marketplace Drive.
Chick-fil-A customers will have to enter the plaza off of Marketplace Drive near LA Fitness.
Drive-thru traffic will proceed through the parking lot of the plaza, also home to CoreLife Eatery and Smashburger restaurants. Henrietta Deputy Supervisor Craig Eckert said there is room for about 100 cars to line up.
Henrietta Supervisor Steve Schultz said that kind of space — around 1,800 feet — should prevent Chick-fil-A traffic from “spilling out into the road system,” as happened in Greece. “We should be able to contain it to within the plaza,” he said.
Customers will exit back on to Marketplace Drive and be able to access Jefferson Road from there.
During the first few days the restaurant is open, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office will have two deputies on-site to deal with any traffic issues, Eckert said. Chick-fil-A is covering the cost of the deputies’ presence, he said.
And to keep things moving, on Thursday and during the restaurant’s “honeymoon period,” Chick-fil-A workers will take orders in person from customers waiting in two drive-thru lanes and hand them their food as it becomes available instead of just at the drive-thru window.
In Irondequoit, a Chick-fil-A restaurant remains one OK away from becoming reality. Developers still need site-plan approval from that town’s Planning Board to put a Chick-fil-A with a drive-thru at 1115 E. Ridge Road at Portland Avenue, where a closed Staples store now sits.