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Diehards line up in Loop to get their fill of Chick-fil-A

Updated: July 22, 2013 6:31PM

They really must want their fill of Chick-fil-A.

Roughly 80 people gathered outside the popular fast food chain’s new restaurant at State and Lake Wednesday hoping to win a free combo meal every week for a year as part of the company’s promotional grand opening giveaway.

“You have to watch out for professional Chick-fil-A-ers,” Nathan Bordelon, of Lake View, said.

Bordelon, 25, has previously attended other Chick-fil-A “First 100” events in the country.

At one, he met a couple who lurked outside 70 new Chick-fil-As, hoping to be one of the first 100 people in line to get 52 coupons for a free sandwich, waffle fries and a drink.

No one in line Wednesday had that impressive of a fast food resume, but Gale Ahrens, 60, said she’d been to nine other openings. This was her tenth.

“My friends think I’m crazy, but I tell them, ‘If you came, you’d understand,’” Ahrens said.

The crowd let out a collective whoop at 6 p.m. when they were let into the restaurant and told they were on their way to chicken heaven.

But they were only halfway there. At midnight, after a meal and some music, the dozens of men and women, who brought chairs, blankets, sweaters, and snacks, planned to camp outside on the sidewalk.

Only at 6 a.m. Thursday when the State and Lake Chick-fil-A was expected to open for business could they officially claim their prize, they were told.

Chick-fil-A made headlines in Chicago last year when Ald. Proco “Joe” Moreno (1st) tried to block it from opening its first free-standing restaurant in Logan Square because of the company president’s well-known opposition to gay marriage.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel also criticized the Chick-fil-A’s president’s views. “Chick-fil-A’s values are not Chicago’s values,” he said at the time.

Chicago currently has a Chick-fil-A at 30 E. Chicago near Loyola University’s downtown campus

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