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Fidelis In The News

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A new Chick-fil-A will rise where the old one stood. Photo courtesy of Chick-fil-A

Ken Hoffman checks in with the man who tore down Meyerland's wildly successful Chick-fil-A

May 20, 2024
 

HOUSTON, TEXAS - Since its opening in 1999, the Chick-fil-A at 5001 Beechnut in Meyerland Plaza has been a top-performing Chick-fil-A in the Houston area.

That’s no small waffle-cut potatoes. Houston is the No. 1 market in the entire Chick-fil-A chain with 119 restaurants. Take that No. 2 Atlanta, No. 3 San Antonio and No. 4 Dallas.
So what did Chick-fil-A owner Jesse Chaluh do bright and early Friday morning to his ultra-successful restaurant on Beechnut? He climbed aboard a bulldozer like Bob the Builder and took the first swipe at demolishing the fast-food landmark. Within one hour, with professional workers taking over, the entire building and drive-through lane were reduced to rubble down to the ground.

“I have mixed feelings about tearing down this restaurant,” said Chaluh. “This was my first free-standing Chick-fil-A in Houston. I have a strong emotional attachment to it. But I realize that it’s necessary to scrape and rebuild this location.”

Chaluh also owns the Chick-fil-A restaurant on Kirby and the 59 feeder and the one on S. Post Oak in the Meyer Park Center. All the workers at the Beechnut stores were invited to work at one of Chaluh’s other Chick-fil-A locations.

Chaluh said the Beechnut restaurant simply wasn’t big enough to meet the demands of its overwhelming success.

“When I built this restaurant back in 1999 I thought it would be large enough. No one ever dreamed that Chick-fil-A would be as popular as it is. We thought we had the right size restaurant. But it didn’t take long before we were bursting at our seams. It’s been difficult meeting the expectations of our customers.

“We made renovations and improvements six times over the years but it was never enough. Our staff was constantly leaning on each other in the small kitchen. We had space for only one drive-through. Since 60 or 70-percent of our business is from the drive-through, that was a problem,” Chaluh said.

Construction on a new, much bigger and more modern Chick-fil-A will begin almost immediately on the site. The new restaurant will be nearly twice as large. The parking area will be expanded to accommodate about 100 cars.

“The new restaurant will have a playground. Some new Chick-fil-A locations don’t have a dining room or a playground. But this one will have both. The dining room furnishings and artwork will be completely new. This restaurant will have three drive-through lanes, one of them for mobile orders through the app. That lane will be super fast,” Chaluh said.

The new Chick-fil-A on Beechnut is expected to open in early October and will employ up to 100 people.

 

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