Chick-Fil-A is expanding its footprint on the Upper East Side with a second restaurant planned for the neighborhood. While it took the first Chick-Fil-A on the UES a little while to cause big headaches for neighbors, concerns are already being raised about the new location.
The super-popular chicken chain is set to open its second restaurant at 1528 Second Avenue, between East 79th and 80th Streets, in half of the storefront formerly belonging to Lester’s department store. However, Upper East Site has learned the new Chick-Fil-A will not be a full-service restaurant like its sibling a little further north in the neighborhood.
Customers will only be able to place orders to go and there will be no seating offered despite the establishment’s rather large proportions, according to a memo sent to residents of the adjoining 36-story Continental Towers condominium at the corner of East 79th Street, that was obtained by Upper East Site.
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That’s because the new restaurant is technically not a restaurant at all, according to Chick-Fil-A’s landlord.
“Please keep in mind that this store is not a ‘restaurant’ under the Zoning Code,” reads a letter sent to the condo board by ConTowers — a similarly-named, but separate company holding a long-term lease on the land adjacent to the condominium.
“Accordingly, there is no in-store seating permitted under the Chick-fil-A lease. The premises shall be used for food preparation and take-out service only.”
Upper East Site has reached out to NYC Department of Planning to determine whether this is in compliance with applicable zoning. The agency told us that the property is currently zoned for a use as a restaurant, so seating could be included by the restaurant if desired.
It’s not clear why ConTowers made the zoning claim — we reached out to clarify but did not hear back.
Meanwhile, residents of the condo have already raised concerns about everything from the odors created by the chicken restaurant’s kitchen and the potential to attract vermin to excessive sidewalk traffic, according to an email from the condo board to residents.
To ease their concerns, ConTowers said the new Chick-fil-A on Second Avenue will be required to install filters that can remove smoke and grease from the restaurant’s kitchen exhaust system. The landlord also pointed to lease stipulations regarding placement of trash and requirements that the sidewalk be kept clean.
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What isn’t addressed in the memo obtained by Upper East Site, is how the new take-out only restaurant will contend with scores of delivery workers congregating on the sidewalk with their ebikes and double-parking their cars on Second Avenue to pickup delivery orders — which has become an unmitigated disaster on Third Avenue, between East 86th and 87th Streets, outside Chick-Fil-A’s other UES location.
Despite repeated NYPD crackdowns on illegal parking outside the restaurant and efforts by the franchisee to keep the sidewalk clear, the location continues to be crowded and traffic in the street is often bottlenecked.
Chick-Fil-A is the second tenant announced to takeover space formerly occupied by Lester’s department store, which closed its doors permanently last December. Upper East Site had previously reported that Goldfish Swim School would occupy the northern half of the space.
Upper East Site has reached out to Chick-Fil-A for more information on the new location, but did not hear back by time of publication.
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I walked by the Third Avenue Chick-Fil-A the other day and the nearest traffic lane is basically an ad-hoc drive-thru for CFA customers, and moped/bike parking by the dozen, as you reported last week.
Not sure why the NYPD isn’t aggressively ticketing these double-parkers every day. It would cut down on things real fast. And similarly the bikes/mopeds should be ticketed for blocking the roadway.