WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — The chicken is hot and the fries are crispy.

Lines could be seen both inside and outside in the drive-thru as Chick-Fil-A celebrated its opening day in Watertown on October 27.

The desire for the fast food chain has been voiced for years as the nearest location was over an hour away.

“It’s a lot closer to where we stay,” Barcelina Eia said, who was one of the first customers on Thursday. “Usually we would travel all the way to Syracuse just to get Chick-Fil-A.”

Plans to open a Chick-Fil-A in Watertown were announced back in January 2021 after owner Merrit Brady had been working with the franchise for years.

Brady said the community support will help the restaurant succeed.

“We’ve got a great product, we’ve got a great community. Everybody is excited,” he shared. “We get to serve the Fort Drum community, which we’re really excited about, so I think long-term, it’s going to be a great thing for the community.”

Continuing a franchise tradition, the restaurant awarded 100 local heroes with free Chick-Fil-A for a year.

Brady chose employees from the Children’s Home of Jefferson County and the Watertown Urban Mission as the recipients. He said he wanted to give back to those helping children in the North Country and working to end hunger.

“We have the power to really honor the folks who are on the front lines, so that was an easy no-brainer,” Brady said.

He added, “We just want to be known as a bright beacon in the community and just really pour back into the community we serve.”

Chick-Fil-A is now open at 1290 Arsenal Street in Watertown’s City Center every day except Sunday.