Traffic-averse Atlantans might want to avoid one of Old Fourth Ward’s busiest intersections on Thursday. Unless you’re really hungry.  

Chick-fil-A has announced its latest intown Atlanta location—one of more than 180 restaurants spread across the metro—will officially open for drive-thru, dine-in, and carry-out business in three days.

Located where Boulevard meets Ponce de Leon Avenue, the Chick-fil-A will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday—closed, of course, on Sunday.

The Old Fourth Ward restaurant, which replaces a Texaco gas station and convenience mart, has attracted criticism from neighborhood groups and Atlanta urbanists for being a car-centric, potential traffic-jam magnet in a section of town that prides itself on becoming more walkable, a couple of blocks west of the BeltLine.

Aspects of the exterior include a really hip urban mural. Submitted

Aerial of the corner where Chick-fil-A replaced a Texaco gas station and convenience mart. City of Atlanta Planning Department

Indeed, Chick-fil-A’s latest Atlanta outpost features two drive-thru lanes, tucked back off Boulevard near the drive-thru Popeyes next door. Other features such as bicycle racks and a colorful mural (with bikes and pedestrians!) are meant to reflect that the chain is operating in an urban environment.

Chick-fil-A announced today the Old Fourth Ward location will offer about 115 full and part-time jobs. The same owner and operator who opened the Glenwood Place Chick-fil-A in 2016 and still runs it, Jamerian Myles, has been installed to lead the new Ponce/Boulevard location.

The three corners across the street feature a drive-thru Dunkin’, a drive-thru bank building, and a Shell gas station.

The opening marks Chick-fil-A’s first location on Ponce, where the company has been trying to establish a cash-cow presence for years.

Rendering of what's considered the O4W Chick-fil-A's "main entrance." Designs by Chick-fil-A, via Midtown Neighbors Association

Just four blocks away on the same street, Chick-fil-A is also cooking plans to build a second new eatery. That would replace longstanding Dugan’s bar and restaurant, which is moving to a location near Northlake Mall, as part of a sea change in established, beloved Ponce businesses making way for new development.

The Ponce/Boulevard Chick-fil-A was built within the BeltLine Overlay District—a zoning measure meant to encourage inclusive development that’s friendly to both pedestrians and mass transit, with more greenspace than asphalt.

When presented with the initial restaurant proposal in 2020, both NPU-M in Old Fourth Ward and NPU-E in Midtown asked Chick-fil-A reps to go back to the drawing board, condemning the concept's prioritization of vehicle access in a densifying urban community. Other concerns involved additional traffic, the general suburban-style layout of the proposal, and the fact that a large parking lot would consume such a prominent intown corner.

Plans were later tweaked to include a brick façade, walk-up window, and drive-thru closer to the back of the property. But the general concept is what stands today.

Will this chicken emporium be the source of a traffic apocalypse triggered by drive-thru lines spilling into busy streets, or merely the latest car-centric addition to surrounding blocks? Beginning Thursday morning, we shall see.

Sneak peek at the Ponce/Boulevard Chick-fil-A's interior. Submitted


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