CRESTVIEW — The long-awaited opening of Popeyes finally arrived.
The restaurant, located off Ferdon Boulevard just south of the Interstate 10 overpass in Crestview, opened Wednesday morning.
When doors swung open at 10 a.m., dozens of people were waiting to get inside.
Smiling employees greeted customers with a resounding “Welcome to Popeyes!”
Rumors about a new Popeyes began circulating two years ago. The original opening date was set for July 24 of last year, but was delayed pending approval by the Florida Department of Transportation.
Late last week, city officials issued a temporary certificate of occupancy, which allowed the restaurant to sell its famous chicken while the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers finishes its paperwork.
Once the paperwork for the permit is completed, the city will issue a permanent certificate.
“We’re super excited to be open,” said Abdul Rogers, a Popeyes employee. “It’s a great atmosphere, very family friendly. We’re looking to overwhelm Crestview with everything we have to offer, from our love to our food.”
Rogers was not the only one happy about the fried chicken chain coming to town.
“I’m so excited to finally see Popeyes open,” customer Shelly Campbell said. “It’s been a long wait, but I think it will be a great addition to Crestview.”
Within 30 minutes of opening, the parking lot was full. The drive-thru line spilled out onto Ferdon Boulevard as motorists waited for their chance to order.
Every parking space was taken, so customers who wanted to go inside had to park their cars on the grass that separated the lot from the road.
“The place looks great,” James Small said. “It’s about time it opened.”