Chick-fil-A with drive-thru to open at former Moko restaurant in Newington

Dec. 23—The former Moko Japanese Steakhouse at the Newington Park Shopping Center is set to be transformed into a Chick-fil-A fast food restaurant with three drive-thru lanes.

The lanes will allow 46 vehicles to queue up as customers wait for their chicken sandwiches and the brand's signature sauce. The chain says it created the "original chicken sandwich" with two pickles on a toasted butter bun in 1964.

This will be New Hampshire's fourth Chick-fil-A with two in Nashua and the other at Tuscan Village in Salem. Every Chick-fil-A is closed on Sundays.

The Newington Planning Board on Monday approved a site plan for the 5,000-square-foot restaurant with 94 seats. The conservation commission approved a landscaping plan earlier this month.

Torrington bought the property in the fall of 2021.

Further plans are in the works to redevelop the shopping center, according to Bob Clarke of Allen & Major Associates. In October, Torrington bought the vacant Sears store at the Mall at Fox Run nearby for $11.5 million, according to a news release.

The company plans to plant 85 new trees in and around the entrance to the plaza. A sidewalk will be added along Woodbury Avenue.

"The attraction of Chick-fil-A here is to get some action and activity down to that side of town," said Gregg Mikolaities, a consultant for Torrington, at the Conservation Commission meeting.

There appears to be a demand with a online petition circulating to bring Chick-fil-A to the Mall at Fox Run. The petition mentions vacant commercial real estate with few new businesses opening in town.

"The nearest (Chick-fil-A) location is in Nashua, NH and many people drive over an hour just to gather some crispy chicken," the petition reads.

Drive-thrus with three lanes appear to be a growing trend with Burger King and Taco Bell also using the design. Chick-fil-A often has employees outdoors during peak hours for both ordering and payments.

The restaurant expects to hire 25 people.