HONOLULU (KHON2) — Chick-fil-A is finally moving forward to open its first location on South Beretania Street three years after announcing that it is expanding to Hawaii.
Some area residents raised traffic concerns while others were excited.
Construction is expected to start later in July, so the first Chick-fil-A in Hawaii should be open by early 2022.
The popular restaurant chain with more than 2,000 restaurants on the mainland will be built where Burger King stood for years. That has now shut down and posted signs say it will reopen at another location. Chick-fil-A is known for its chicken sandwiches, nuggets, waffle fries and sauces. Fans are more than ready.
“I think that’s amazing! Chick-fil-A is an amazing fast food chain restaurant and it’s gonna be great for Hawaii for sure,” said Makana Kaaloa, a Manoa resident.
“I’m excited, my husband has been talking about it for the longest time because they always go up to Arizona and there’s a Chick-fil-A up there and he is so happy that it’s coming to Hawaii,” said Papakolea resident Wyomie Pilor.
But residents of the Queen Victoria condominium, which is right next to the site, are more worried about traffic tie-ups.
“Our driveway in and our driveway out is right along Beretania which is a very busy thoroughfare and we just want to make sure that the traffic doesn’t back up as they go into Chick-fil-A,” said Michael Shatz, resident manager of Queen Victoria.
Shatz said company representatives have met with the condominium board to address their concerns, but the board is still waiting for Chick-fil-A to present a plan to prevent traffic jams with its drive-thru. While Burger King also had a drive-thru, Shatz says residents expect a lot more congestion because this will be the first Chick-fil-A in Hawaii.
“So I think there’s maybe a pent up demand and a greater anticipation for it, so that could bring a lot of people out,” said Shatz.
Chick-fil-A said the restaurant will be a franchise when the Atlanta-based company made its announcement in 2018, owned and operated by a local resident, and will employ about 80 people. The company says it will also open restaurants in Kapolei and Kahului, Maui in 2022 and it is working on a deal to open in Kaneohe.