This story was a collaborative effort and published by Long Island Report
Hempstead, NY– Long Islanders may soon be encouraged to “Eat Mor Chikin.” The popular and controversial fast food chain, Chick-Fil-A, is said to be scouting locations in Nassau and Suffolk.
The restaurant is known for its social conservatism in addition to its chicken. The Cathy family, Chick-Fil-A’s owner, is an open member of the Baptist church. That has caused a stir after several media outlets and LGBT advocacy groups alleged the company donated profits to groups fighting same-sex marriage.
“I think it is really unfortunate for any company to discriminate against people that are just trying to be recognized equally under the law,” says Christian Fuscarino, Operations Director of the Pride Network, a regional LGBT organization.
“If [the owners] didn’t want anybody to boycott the restaurants, then maybe they shouldn’t have said anything or openly expressed those feelings,” said Meghan Fitzgerald, a sophomore at Hofstra.
Although the chain denies spending those profits on anti-gay support, when COO Dan Cathy was asked about the company’s stance on these issues, he told The Baptist Press, “Guilty as charged.”
“I don’t care what anybody’s political views are because it’s their own. It’s not mine. I’m just gonna go there and eat the food because I like it,” said Sam Little, a marketing major at HU.
The Atlanta based company has over 1,600 restaurants in 39 states, dominantly in the South. The chain has made expansion to the Northeast and West a high priority with the food’s growing popularity. Still, there are some locals who feel the “out-of-town” Chick-Fil-A run is part of the food’s popularity.
“Every time we go on a road trip, with [Hofstra’s] radio station, we always make sure to Chick-Fil-A stop…Part of it is also because it’s not on Long Island. It’s a bit of a novelty,” said Rob Joyce, a junior.
The closest Chick-Fil-A to Hofstra’s Hempstead campus is on New York University’s Manhattan campus, which has been the center of its own controversy. That location, however, is only open to NYU students and faculty. The nearest public location to Hofstra is in Paramus, NJ, nearly 30 miles away.