Chick-Fil-A Making Play for Tenleytown

18662166743_0d47196202_bRumors that another fast food chain is planning to set up shop in Tenleytown appear to be true. Chick-fil-A has filed for a construction permit with the District Department of Transportation for the former Payless ShoeSource storefront at 4505 Wisconsin Avenue.

Locals were abuzz this spring when word first circulated that the chain famous for chicken sandwiches, waffle fries, and conservative politics planned to open in the neighborhood. And the reaction was less than favorable. Comments on the local listserv ranged from “It is unfortunate that such an offensive fast food restaurant has come to our neighborhood.” to “I don’t like the idea of another unhealthy and unattractive option in Tenleytown.”

Tenleytown, D.C. contacted Chick-fil-A in April when the rumors first appeared. At the time, the company’s public relations department would only confirm plans for a restaurant opening in the DC USA Shopping Center, saying there were “no additional locations that can be communicated and confirmed at this time.” A follow up inquiry this month garnered no further details.

Chick-fil-A would only reconfirm the opening of its first stand-alone D.C. location on Wednesday, November 4 in Columbia Heights. However, with the filing of permit applications for Tenleytown, as well as design plans for another Chick-fil-A location in Van Ness, it would seem the proverbial cat – er chicken – is out of the bag. While clearly nothing is final until plans and permits are approved and an opening date is set, it’s safe to say Chick-fil-A has set its sights on upper Northwest.

A Tenleytown Chick-fil-A would join national chains Panera Bread, Starbucks, Domino’s Pizza, and Robeks on the 4500 block of Wisconsin Avenue, as well as Guapo’s Restaurant, Angelico Pizzeria, and Crisp & Juicy. American Valet dry cleaners, Tenley Liquor, Mattress Discounters, and CVS are the only remaining retail establishments on the block.

image credit: Chick-fil-A by flickr user Mike Mozart


  • Bad food, worse politics.

    • I so agree. But when a building owner has an empty storefront, he’ll take whatever he can get, I suppose.

      • First of all the chik-fil-a will be run by a local operator/managing partner who will be selected in a process so difficult it is harder to achieve than getting into Harvard(based on Forbes magazine article). He or she will be a local person thoroughly invested in the restaurant and the community, and the food tastes great, very few people commenting have ever had the pleasure of a Chik Fil A meal as they are so scarce in this area….I patronize the rockville store regularly as it is near my work….and it is outstanding.


  • Used to live in Cityline and would always tell my wife they needed to get rid of Payless so we could open a chickfila. Place is great

  • Not sure what this does for the neighborhood, except bring another chain in to what is becoming a chain stripped strip (Panera, Starbucks, Best Buy, WF’s, Domino’s, hell even the mattress store) and a needed cash infusion. End result of all this becomes higher rents and the independent/small business can’t manage those rents and it winds up looking like Anywhereville Towne Centre. Not sure what would be better in that space, but something unique would have been nice. Can’t deny anyone putting anything there if they have the cash and the permits, but it is kind’a…well, “wah-hoo….”

  • Chik Fil A has outstanding food for the money, how exactly is a broiled chicken sandwich and a fresh salad bad for you, yes they also sell fried food which some people love…..So dont order it…its amazing how empty peoples lives must be to bother with this kind of BS…push your personal agendas on your family and friends not the public…..My guess is they won’t like you telling them what to do or eat, anymore than I do…..

    • Thank you for that comment!
      Chick-fil-A one of few if only chain to welcome rowdy middle school and big school kids

  • Wilson Parent is spot on! My family has lived in the Tenley-Friendship Heights area for 60 years. We’ve seen many changes to the neighborhood over the years… some good, some bad. This new restaurant will represent a vast improvement over the previous tenant.

  • The issue – for me – is how incongruous this particular retail offer is with the community as a whole. The location will be shuttered on Sundays for religious reasons. Why not put in another drive-thru bank if we want a business in a prime retail location closed on a Sunday? My preference is for a local restaurant to fill the void: Pit Masters BBQ in Spring Valley – a Wagshal’s offshoot. The food is outstanding and a great value delivered for your money. Please, please, PLEASE move to this location!

  • Again, an absurd comment, like it is your call…what about the math of rent and sales what about ownership rights, and most importantly….Chik Fil A is the most successful restaurant in average gross sales for its category……Because the food is good and the value is there….people vote with their wallets….