Chick-fil-A 'very close' to deal in North Riverside

New restaurant eyed for Harlem and Cermak

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By Bob Uphues


A Chicago alderman may have wanted to keep a Chick-fil-A fast-food business out of his ward, but North Riverside is ready to welcome the Georgia-based chicken sandwich chain to the southwest corner of Cermak Road and Harlem Avenue.

While Chick-fil-A has not yet asked the village for any zoning variances or permits, the company has submitted site plans for a 4,162-square-foot restaurant with double drive-thru lanes.

Alan Saposnik, the manager of the North Riverside Plaza shopping center, said the chain has not yet signed a lease for the corner property, but a deal is nearing completion.

"The negotiations are getting very close," Saposnik said. "Once that happens, the next step would be for the company to request a special use for the drive-thru. The hope is for that to happen in the next 30 days, but I'm not in charge of that; they are."

The company submitted the site plan to the village at this time in order to start the permitting process for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District storm sewer requirements, since such permission could take several months to obtain.

"They wanted to start that process while going through negotiations," said Saposnik.

Karen Byrne, who handles the village of North Riverside's building applications, said her understanding was that Chick-fil-A would like to begin construction in September. However, depending on the length of time it takes to obtain permits and clear the site, construction could be delayed until next spring.

According to Saposnik, Chick-fil-A does not like to do construction during the winter months.

The site plans on file with the village indicate the building that formerly housed Pearle Vision would be demolished to make way for the new restaurant. According to Saposnik, a newer version of the plans calls for two of the four curb cuts into the property — the one closer to Harlem Avenue on Cermak Road and one closer to Cermak Road on Harlem Avenue — to be removed.

A double drive-thru is shown running along the east side of the restaurant, with parking for about 30 cars located on three sides of the building.

The plans also indicate that up to three fuel tanks might be located below ground at the site, which was once a gas station. It is not clear whether the tanks are still there and need to be removed.

Chick-fil-A drew fire last fall from Chicago Ald. Proco "Joe" Moreno, who protested the arrival of one of the chain's restaurants in his Northwest Side ward because of the company's support of groups that oppose marriage equality and gay rights.

The company makes no secret of its devotion to conservative Christian principles. All of the company's more than 1,500 locations, for example, are closed on Sundays. The company's founder, Truett Cathy, explains on his website that the practice is "a testament to his faith in God" and an illustration of the company's corporate purpose "to glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us. To have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A."

Chick-fil-A has five locations in the Chicago area, one on Chicago's Near North Side and four suburban locations.

The company did not respond to an email sent May 8 by the Landmark asking about their plans for the North Riverside location.

Email: Twitter: @RBLandmark

Reader Comments

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Lauren Skippers from Brookfield, Illinois  

Posted: May 14th, 2013 4:52 PM

I know openly gay people who work for the company, not just counter jobs but in corporate offices too. Just because the founder doesn't agree with *the issue of* gay marriage doesn't mean he hates all gays, or wants all gay people killed or something. Everyone needs to stop being so dramatic. Last I checked this is America--freedom of religion, freedom of ideas, even if they're not in lockstep with your own. Like others have said--if you don't like it, bring your business elsewhere.

Eman Laerton  

Posted: May 13th, 2013 11:55 PM

75 jobs? Right 50 part time/ min. wage. High profits? Yeah, 50 min wage/ part time jobs. Yes, corporations did that long before Obamacare was even a neuron in Sean Hannity's head. What? You think hiring more people with less hours to curb employee benefits is anything new? And if you call in sick, you're 1 strike away from getting canned. Hope no one coughs on your chicken.

Chik-fil-a rocks! from Riverside   

Posted: May 13th, 2013 10:01 PM

Child-Fil-A does rock and it is true that they have THE NICEST employees ever, 2nd only to Culver's. Say what you want about Truett Cathy, he knows how to run a great business with happy employees AND he has done a lot for foster children; he has funded and built family- based foster homes for kids for years. YEA FOR CHIK-FIL-A!


Posted: May 13th, 2013 6:58 PM

In case you're confused, arcane doesn't mean old. Look it up.

To: each  

Posted: May 13th, 2013 3:03 PM

I wouldn't exactly call 1985 "arcane". The law was passed because some dealers wanted to be closed on Sunday but didn't want to lose any sales to the competition. So, like any good Christians, they got a law passed to impose their beliefs on everyone. I've noticed that there are many Jewish owned dealerships that are closed on Friday evenings. I guess they either don't have any political clout or don't feel the need to push their beliefs on others, so we can still buy a car on Friday evening.

to each his own  

Posted: May 13th, 2013 10:47 AM

Car dealerships do not choose to be closed on Sundays. That's due to some arcane law. Be that as it may, if a business is willing to give up profit as it sets its operating hours because of beliefs held, more power to it. I don't have a problem with that. I will not, however, be patronizing the business, because I will be exercising my right to NOT support those who would deprive fellow human beings their civil rights.


Posted: May 13th, 2013 8:17 AM

It's great that they will hire 75 people....what happens if one of them turns out to be gay? Or do they have some sort of 'gaydar' test in their interview process? Jesus taught peace and tolerance of all - something too many 'Bible readers' seem to overlook.

Drumstick Daddy!  

Posted: May 12th, 2013 6:58 AM

That's impressive 'Keith T.' I have no bone to pick with you!

Keith T  

Posted: May 11th, 2013 7:50 PM

Chick-fil-A was voted "best food in the sector" among America's quick-service chains. Also, they topped the lists for cleanliness, service and value; according to a survey of 38,000 customers. LA Times, Oct. 3rd, 2012 CFA has had 45 consecutive years of annual sales growth since their inception in 1967. CFA ended 2012 with $4.6 billion in sales ?" up 14 percent from $4.1 billion a year earlier. That's a $500 million increase in just one year! They will hire 75+ employees at the new store at NR.

to Dr X from Brookfield  

Posted: May 11th, 2013 7:13 PM

Dr X your right we do need something like that here. We will see what the recycle people in office do in the next couple of years?


Posted: May 11th, 2013 6:28 PM

Nice to see the overall support here for CFA. Couple of nasty, bitter lefty-lunatics, carping like old ladies, but most of the people posting seem to be neutral or supportive. I hope these griping piss-ants stay away. That's the best possible outcome.

Eman Laerton  

Posted: May 11th, 2013 6:11 PM

If you don't want a corporations religious views brought into a news article about said corporation. They should keep their mouth shut. I see our pious village leadership giving away the store once again. The Cristi brethren + God's chicken make a perfect fit. They'll need lots of tax breaks for being in such a bad location as Harlem & 22nd. Who would want a business there. Also, perhaps a Gay person is God's test on someone's tolerance. Fancy that? Enjoy your pork and mixed fibers.

R. McDonald from North Riverside  

Posted: May 11th, 2013 2:42 PM

What election are you talking about. That so called one candidate only election. That was a fully of baloney election. Here we go again.

A Chordette for Chikin!  

Posted: May 11th, 2013 2:15 PM

Hey 'R.McDonald' won't find your favorite on a 'Chick-fil-A' menu. You'll have to go elsewhere for your close-minded 'corn-on-the-snob'. The rest of us will find will find this on their menu:

DR. X  

Posted: May 11th, 2013 1:34 PM

North Riverside residents should be thrilled, more tax revenue, and some jobs being created. More than Brookfield has accomplished, as a matter of fact, Brookfield should wise up and offer a better deal and get them here. We also have many church going people that would love to have them.

So what'st the big deal?  

Posted: May 11th, 2013 1:27 PM

I recall when EVERYTHING was closed on Sunday. Looking back, that's not a bad idea. As the Chick-fil-A cows plea, "eat more chiken." I can't wait for them to open nearby. I love them. Wish another store that is closed on Sunday would open here, too--Hobby Lobby.

R. McDonald  

Posted: May 11th, 2013 12:56 PM

I should have known what a pious and christian town North R-side is, after reading all the comments on their recent election. Your town deserves the type of clientele that the mall delivers to your doorstep.

bible thumping idiots from riverside  

Posted: May 11th, 2013 11:57 AM

@they are America- go back to the Bible? Really? You're a special kind of idiot, aren't you? You're probably wearing a cotton/poly blend right now, so we should take you out back and stone you to death, right? so sick of bible thumpers and their moronic, antiquated views.

Jackie L from Brookfield  

Posted: May 11th, 2013 11:36 AM

If they want to be closed on Sunday let them! Where's the complaining about car dealers being closed on Sunday? Where's the complaining that the big box stores are OPEN on "family" holidays like Easter and Thanksgiving! If you don't like a business's beliefs or practices then don't go there but I'll be a lot of the people complaining about them being closed on Sunday are the same people going to the big box stores on what used to be holidays!

THEY ARE AMERICA from North Riverside  

Posted: May 11th, 2013 11:10 AM

They are America they want people to go to church and follow the bible. Look what happened a year or so ago about their hiring practices. Kudos to them they are what we need here. Normal people that go back to the bible. Thank God for them Hurray!!! Go ChikFila.


Posted: May 11th, 2013 9:16 AM

Now people are caring about calories over fiscal revenue brought into town??....What a joke, it's a first class operation and you don't have to eat there if you don't want to.....Stay home and eat a salad, but don't begrudge a place because of the calorie content.....Foolish...So Foolish.....Your probably the genius who orders a Big Mac and a Diet Coke....Brains should be essential when making a valid point on any blog people...

No laughing matter  

Posted: May 11th, 2013 9:10 AM

To say anything about their beliefs is a joke. If this was a Muslim, Jewish, Baptist, Buddhist or any other denomination, not one person would make a comment about their beliefs in fear of backlash and discrimination...Go back to your holes you "sheeple"... I for one don't discriminate over faith. I've never seen anyone trying to push literature or their beliefs in my face at a ChikFila...Because one person has a belief we should lump them all together??....Watch out what you preach against?


Posted: May 11th, 2013 9:04 AM

Have you ever been to a Chik-fil-a.....By far they are the most courteous employees in the food service business anywhere in the US..That is why they are successful and delicious food helps. I dare anyone to go to the Oak Brook or Chicago location and deny that the employees aren't respectful and helpful more than any fast food place in Illinois...They also work in communities with donations..We should be so lucky to add another gem to this Village...I for one is in favor of this addition....

Countin' Cal!  

Posted: May 11th, 2013 8:44 AM

'Chick-fil-A' chicken sandwich: 440 cal. / 28g protein. 'Jamba' Banana Berry Smoothie: 290 cal. / 3 g protein. Wouldn't it be nice if these two eateries could be situated side by side?

Jamba? from Brookfield  

Posted: May 11th, 2013 8:22 AM

Something healthier would be better. This area gets fatter and fatter... And if you don't like the company or what it stands for...DONT GO THERE.

A Chordette 4 Chikin!  

Posted: May 11th, 2013 6:53 AM

Gee 'R.McDonald''re both fast and furious! Do you want fries with that hatred? Enjoy:

R. McDonald  

Posted: May 10th, 2013 8:36 PM

Keep these bible thumping fast food throwbacks below the mason-dixon line, where they belong. Bring in a real food restaurant, one we can eat at on a Sunday, if we so choose.

Independent from Riverside  

Posted: May 10th, 2013 5:22 PM

Can't recall the landmark investigating the religious background of the ChewChew, Costco, riverside wine bar, Molly's, FiveGuys, Buffalo Wild Wings or Jimmy John's? Why special attention to this new business? Piling On like a cheap tabloid? Shame on you Landmark. Truth-be-told...the world would be much better place if more of us followed the example of chick-filet.

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