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America's favorite fast-food chain may still be unwelcome in some parts of the country, but that list no longer includes Boston. After an unsuccessful attempt to expand into the New England metropolis in 2012, Chick-fil-A will finally be opening its first location there this winter.
The new restaurant will be opening its doors in the buzzing commercial area of Copley Square in Boston's Back Bay neighborhood. According to Boston.com, the chain has confirmed that the opening will take place in the following winter months.
"It's our pleasure to confirm we will be opening a Chick-fil-A restaurant in Boston at 569 Boylston St. this winter," the company said. "We look forward to joining the community and to serving all of our guests delicious food in an environment of genuine hospitality."
But getting to this point hasn't been a straight shot for the chicken chain. While Massachusetts is currently home to more than a dozen Chick-fil-A restaurants, Boston has been a holdout for years. In 2012, when the chain announced it was looking at a potential location on the Freedom Trail, it experienced swift backlash from none other than the late mayor Thomas Menino. Menino expressed in no uncertain terms he didn't want a company that openly stood against gay marriage to set up shop in his city.
"I was angry to learn on the heels of your prejudiced statements about your search for a site to locate in Boston," he wrote in an open letter to Chick-fil-A's then-president Dan Cathy. "There is no place for discrimination on Boston's Freedom Trail and no place for your company alongside it."
Cathy had confirmed to the Baptist Press just a few months prior that his company was, indeed, "guilty as charged" for supporting anti-gay marriage efforts. The support came in the form of corporate Chick-fil-A donations to anti-LGBTQ organizations.
However, Menino later clarified that, besides the bullying tactics, there wasn't much he could do to stop the chain from opening a Boston location.
"Originally, I said I would do everything I can to stop them," he said in a 2012 interview at City Hall. "And that was mostly using the bully pulpit of being mayor of the city and getting public support. But I didn't say I would not allow them to go for permits or anything like that. I just said we would do everything we can, bully pulpit-wise."
A lot has changed since then: Dan Cathy was succeeded as CEO by his son Andrew, and the company had renounced Cathy's homophobic statements. And the people of Boston may have had a change of heart as well: according to a 2020 Boston.com poll, Chick-fil-A is one of their favorite national fast-food chains.
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