New airport terminal will have Dunkin’ Donuts, Chick-fil-A, River City Brewing

The new airport terminal will have an all-new lineup of restaurants.

The new airport terminal will have an all-new lineup of restaurants.

Can we all agree that the dining situation at the current Mid-Continent Airport terminal is beyond sad?

That will change when the new terminal opens next spring.

The Wichita City Council is expected on Tuesday to approve a plan for food and beverage service in the new terminal that will feature a food court filled with Dunkin’ Donuts, Chick-fil-A and a branch of River City Brewing Co., complete with its craft beers.

That’s worth buying a ticket.

Read more about it in this story I just whipped up.

West Chick-fil-A opens tomorrow; Campout under way

The "First 100" campout is under way at the about-to-open Chick-fil-A at 21st and Maize.

Wichita’s second free-standing Chick-fil-A opens on Thursday, meaning Wichita’s second Chick-fil-A campout is under way.

About 125 people are set up with tents and card tables and games in the parking lot of the about-to-open Chick-fil-A at 10515 W. 21st St., where they’ve been gathered since 5:30 a.m. Their goal: to remain in the parking lot until 6 a.m. Thursday, when the restaurant officially opens. Those who do will win a coupon book good for free Chick-fil-A food for a year.

Owner/operator Jason Lansdown in his Chick-fil-A tie

It’s part of the chain’s “First 100″ event, which it puts on every time it opens a new store. An identical event drew a crowd of 150 campers when the east-side Chick-fil-A at 7990 E. Central opened in March.

Today’s crowd, which included alternates plus friends of registered campers,  was made up of adults, teens and kids from both Wichita and beyond. A 2-year-old girl napped on a blanket on the sidewalk against the building while four teenage boys played a game of four-square nearby. Four people played cards at a folding table under a tent while children navigated the parking lot tent village on their scooters. One woman identified herself as a professional Chick-fil-A camper, who drove from Oklahoma City to participate. This was her fourth “First 100″ campout.

Among the campers was Bryan Aubuchon, whose 3-year-old daughter, Nicole, developed an affinity for Chick-fil-A while on vacation in Kansas City this summer. She loved the playground and the food. “It’s all she ever talks about,” he said with a laugh. “She dances around singing ‘Chick-fil-A. Chick-fil-A.’”

Aubuchon took off work for the campout. Though he planned to man the tent throughout the hot day on Wednesday, he promised Nicole she could sleep in the tent overnight.

Owner/operator Jason Lansdown was on-site wearing his Chick-fil-A tie on Wednesday morning. He said that police officers will be stationed at the restaurant Thursday through Saturday at least to help direct traffic in and out of the restaurant, which is surrounded by hard-to-navigate road construction at 21st and Maize.

One camper's cart of supplies

The restaurant opens at 6 a.m. Thursday. Hours are 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.

Also, until 9 p.m. tonight, the Kansas Food Bank will be at Chick-fil-A collecting donations for the “Food for Kids” program, which sends food home with schoolchildren in need. Particularly needed, officials said, are items such as granola bars and peanut butter. Anyone who drops off a donation by 3 p.m. will receive a coupon for a free Chick-fil-A sandwich. Donations can also be made by clicking on the Chick-fil-A logo at Customers can bring in the receipt and collect a sandwich coupon.

Details on Chick-fil-A camp out, sandwich giveaway

Chick-fil-A west is ready to go.

Wichita’s second free-standing Chick-fil-A will open at 6 a.m. on Thursday at 10515 W. 21st St., and owner/operator Jason Lansdown admits the timing is… interesting.

As Lansdown feverishly prepared to open the restaurant this week, publicity and opinions have been swirling about the company CEO’s announced opposition to gay marriage and a national “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” that  on Wednesday drew crowds of supporters to restaurants across the country, including in Wichita. A counter-protest “kiss-in” is planned for today.

When I talked called him this morning, Lansdown seemed reluctant to talk much about the events of the week and said he was trying to keep from getting distracted by it all, instead focusing on getting the building and staff ready. But he did say it was bizarre to be staring down an opening date with the chain so prominently in the headlines. “There’s definitely some awareness out there, that’s for sure,” he said.

Today, Lansdown’s crew will be distributing free Chick-fil-A sandwiches near the Best Buy and Walmart at New Market Square, 21st and Maize. They’ll start at about 11 a.m. and expect the 2,000 or so sandwiches to go quickly. (They’ve been conducting the giveaways all over town this week.)

Then, on Wednesday, they’ll start the “First 100″ camp out that’s a standard Chick-fil-A practice when restaurants first open. The east-side Chick-fil-A’s camp out drew big crowds and created a parking lot tent city back in March.

Those interested in participating should show up no sooner than 5:30 a.m. and no later than 6 a.m. Employees will distribute bracelets with numbers to everyone who arrives during that time, then at 6 a.m. they’ll randomly draw 100 numbers. Those 100 people must camp on site until 6 a.m. Thursday morning, when they’ll be treated to breakfast and their prize — a coupon book good for a year’s worth of food at the restaurant. Details can be found on the restaurants Facebook page.

Once open, hours will be 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. For more information, call 316-721-2697.

The official official opening date for Chick-fil-A west

It's getting close.

The corporate bigwigs met with the construction bosses, put their calculators together and came up with the magical, official opening date for new new Chick-fil-A under construction at 10515 W. 21st St.

Thursday, Aug. 9.

Until yesterday, they’d be planning on July 25, but the Aug. 9 date was arrived at using more exact Chick-fil-Science, said owner/operator Jason Lansdown. That means that the campout, which promises free Chick-fil-A for a year to the first 100 people through the door, will  commence on Wednesday, Aug. 8.

Lansdown said he’d offer more details as the date grew closer. Here’s hoping that nasty 21st and Maize Road construction is well wrapped up by then.

Ground breaking today for west Chick-fil-A

Just when you thought the local Chick-fil-Hype had subsided … nope.

Owner/operator Jason Lansdown will officially break ground this morning on the west side stand-alone Chick-fil-A, scheduled to open in July at 10515 W. 21st St. (right at the corner of 21st and Maize.) The 10 a.m. VIP ceremony will have city officials, dancing cows and chicken excitement to spare.

The new restaurant will have a 4,275 square-foot interior that seats 144 and a play area for kids. Another camp out will be staged the night before it opens, guaranteeing free Chick-fil-A for a year to the first 100 people though the door.

Start gathering you camping supplies now.

Wichita Chick-fil-A has third biggest opening ever

I know I said I was done posting about Chick-fil-A for a while, but I couldn’t NOT tell you this.

Wichita’s Chick-fil-A, which opened for business at 6 a.m. on Thursday, had the third biggest grand opening day in the chain’s history, said franchise owner Brad Fuller. There are 1,610 Chick-fil-As across the country.

The only other Chick-fil-As to ever have a bigger opening sales day were two in the Chicago area that opened a year and a half ago. The combined sales of two other Chick-fil-As that opened on Thursday, one in Tennessee and one in New Jersey, didn’t match Wichita’s, Fuller said.

I can believe it. I happened to be in the Central and Rock area on Thursday morning, and it was chaos — chaos that required blocked traffic lanes and several police cars.

There. Now I’m done.

Chick-fil-A campout: Tents, wind and pedestrians in the drive-through

A shot of the wind-blown tent city outside Chick-fil-A this afternoon.

Here’s the story I wrote this afternoon after visiting the ca-razy campers spending the night at Chick-fil-A.

The campers included people from Wichita as well as people from out of town, including some who follow Chick-fil-A openings like they were the Dave Matthews Band.

I saw kids playing on scooters, people constructing jigsaw puzzles on card tables inside their tents, and a couple studying for a test in the bright sun.

A couple of guys started a game of four square in the parking lot, and several were on air mattresses in their tents, snoozing the afternoon away.

The best detail I heard: To get their catered breakfast and lunch, campers lined up and walked through the drive through.

Question of the week: Would you camp out?

A Wichita Chick-fil-Camper early this morning.

I suppose if your answer to my question of the week was “yes,” you’d be at Chick-fil-A right now and not answering my question. But I’m asking it anyway.

Would you ever, as 150 Wichitans were prepared to do this morning, camp out to be the first in line at a restaurant you love? Or is there no restaurant you love enough to sleep on a sidewalk?

If the answer is yes, which restaurant would you camp out for? And would you do it just to do it, or would there have to be an incentive, such as the free food for a year Chick-fil-A is offering?

Answer in the comments section below.

Chick-fil-A campout commences

Wichita campers

UPDATE: (6:50 a.m., 3/14)  Stand down, would-be Chick-Fil-A campers. Managers just told me that more than 100 people showed up at 6 a.m. to camp out, so they won’t be taking any more campers. Watch for my story from Chick-fil-A later today.

In just about 40 hours, CHICK-FIL-A WILL OPEN!!

Wichita’s first free-standing Chick-fil-A at Central and Rock, highly anticipated by fans of juicy chicken sandwiches, is scheduled to open at 6 a.m. Thursday morning.

But the Chick-fil-Craziness starts sooner.

The chain famously gives away coupons good for free Chick-fil-A food for a year to those who camp out to be the first in line. Between 5:45 and 6 a.m. on Wednesday morning, those who’ve gathered outside the restaurant all will be given a number. At 6 a.m., managers will draw 100 numbers. Those people will be invited to camp out until 6 a.m. Thursday morning, when they’ll be let in the doors and handed an envelope that contains their prize — the right to one free Chick-fil-A meal a week for a year. Campers have to stay in line for a full 24 hours or they forfeit the prize.

If 100 people haven’t joined the line by 6 a.m., managers will continue to accept participants until they have 100. A corporate spokeswoman said she’d let me know in the morning how long the line is.

Anyone planning to camp tomorrow? I’ll be there around 1:30 p.m. to interview you, so be sure your makeup and hair are looking their best.

Chick-fil-A frenzy officially begins today

The official opening date of Wichita’s much-anticipated Chick-fil-A is now 17 days away, and franchisee Brad Fuller is releasing details about how dedicated fans can be among the first people through the doors.

The restaurant, which specializes in super juicy chicken sandwiches and waffle fries that absorb ketchup perfectly, will open at the corner of Central and Rock roads on March 15. The building is nearly complete and ready to go.

Today, Fuller launched a scavenger hunt that will award tickets to a Raving Fans Premiere Night Dinner, scheduled for Tuesday, March 13. Today through Friday and March 5 through 9, fans can search for hidden stuffed Chick-fil-A cows using clues released by the restaurant. There will be 20 cows total (one already was found this morning) and those who find the cows get a ticket to the dinner. Clues are being revealed during the 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. hours on radio stations BOB FM, 97.1, and The Wolf, 100.5-FM, on the stations’ Facebook pages and websites, and on the Chick-fil-A Facebook page.

Fuller also told me how the big fan camp-out will work. It’s become tradition for fanatics to camp out overnight in front of about-to-open Chick-fil-As across the country, partially so they can be the first diners through the doors and partially because the first diners through the doors qualify for free Chick-fil-A for a year.

Here’s how it will work: Between 5:45 and 6 a.m. on Wednesday, March 14, those who’ve gathered outside the restaurant all will be given a number. At 6 a.m., managers will draw 100 numbers. Those people will be invited to camp out until 6 a.m. Thursday morning, when they’ll be let in the doors and handed an envelope that contains their prize — the right to one free Chick-fil-A meal a week for a year. Campers have to stay in line for a full 24 hours or they forfeit the prize.

In other words, Wichita, you have 17 days left to enjoy the intersection of Central and Rock before it becomes completely unusable.

I kid. Kind of.