CRESTVIEW — The wait is finally over.
The highly-anticipated opening of Crestview’s first Chik-Fil-A restaurant officially came May 31, when new owner Kyle Schisler cut the ceremonial ribbon in front of the building.
The wait especially paid off earlier that morning for 100 lucky customers who camped out overnight in order to win free Chik-Fil-A for a year. The first 100 customers to show up May 30 were given gift cards for 52 free meals.
Chik-Fil-A fans began arriving just before 6 a.m. the day before the opening and built a tent city in the parking lot. Customers played games, enjoyed free food and drinks and bonded over their love for the fast food establishment.
“Family, friends and camaraderie; meeting new people,” Thomas Adcock said when asked why he would wait in line for 24 hours at a Chik-Fil-A opening.
Adcock played cards with a group of people including Suzanne Hartzog as they passed the time before the grand opening.
“I’ve always wanted to do one of the first 100 for a good long time,” Hartzog said. “It’s really fun. We’ve played games, we’ve had free food, and we’re playing cards.”
The restaurant will be the second location Kyle Schisler and his wife Morgan have owned. They previously owned a franchise in Omaha, Nebraska, but sold the franchise to move to the Crestview area.
“For me, it’s always felt like home,” Schisler said. His wife’s family lives in the area, and he attended college in Pensacola. “There’s just something special about it. Whether it’s the ocean air or whatever … it just feels like home, like this is where I want to live. Most people want to vacation here, and I’ve always felt like I wanted to live here.”
The new Chik-Fil-A, located at 3000 South Ferdon Boulevard, will be open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday.