Chick-fil-A Is Closing Its Iconic First Location After 50 Years
Restaurant closures are far from uncommon for major fast-food brands, but an imminent Chick-fil-A closure will be more meaningful than most for the popular chicken chain. The first-ever Chick-fil-A restaurant is reportedly set to close down for good in the next couple of days after more than 50 years in business.
Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy opened this historic location in the Greenbriar Mall in Atlanta, Ga., in November 1967. Though this was the first Chick-fil-A, it wasn't Cathy's first venture into the restaurant business. He and his brother opened a diner in 1946 called The Dwarf Grill, later renamed to The Dwarf House.
"Through the years, that restaurant prospered and led Cathy to further the success of his business," Chick-fil-A states on its website.
The small but mighty Chick-fil-A in the Greenbriar Mall—which only encompassed 384 square feet—helped launch the national brand that Chick-fil-A would ultimately become. However, local reports say the location is now set to close its doors for good this Saturday, May 20. The restaurant's Facebook page is already marked as "permanently closed."
The reasons for the closure were not immediately clear, but according to CNN, the Greenbriar Mall has struggled with shopper traffic and store tenants in recent years. It lost its largest store at the time, Macy's, in 2021. Chick-fil-A did not immediately respond to our queries about the reasons behind the closure.
The closure will mark the end of a "groundbreaking" restaurant that Chick-fil-A says was one of the first eateries inside a shopping mall. The Greenbriar was also a notable spot to host the first Chick-fil-A since it was one of the first indoor malls in the Southeast.
When the Greenbriar location first started welcoming customers in 1967, the Chick-fil-A experience was very different. Back then, the menu was limited to lemonade, lemon pie, coleslaw, salads with boneless chicken breast, and the original fried chicken sandwich, which was only 59 cents at the time. While the restaurant did sell french fries, Chick-fil-A didn't add its famous Waffle Fries to the menu until the mid-1980s.
A plaque was eventually installed at the mall restaurant marking it as the first Chick-fil-A location.
"From this location, Chick-fil-A has grown to become one of the largest privately owned restaurant chains in the nation," the plaque reads. "Thank you to all Greenbriar Mall patrons of the past, present and future."
In more positive Chick-fil-A news, the chain is rolling out new app features that will reduce wait times for customers and help ensure food will be hot and fresh when they pick it up. Chick-fil-A also began testing its first-ever Cauliflower Sandwich in February and brought back its seasonal Watermelon Mint beverages in March.