Chick-fil-A San Jose opened this morning with dozens of fans camping out in the parking lot.
The fast food joint opened its doors at 53 Headquarters Dr. near North 1st Street bright and early at 6 a.m.
Chick-fil-A knows how to celebrate a grand opening. It gives away a one-year supply of free Chick-fil-A meals to the first 100 adults in line on opening day. The supply is worth about $350 and is for one meal a week.
Even after the freebies were long gone, the lines remained long at the new San Jose location. At noon there were at least 50 people waiting outside the door. Many said they just had to have a chicken sandwich and those waffle fries.
San Jose's Chick-Fil-A Opens
While those in line said they were there for the food, the opening came with a side of controversy.
Same-sex marriage supporters rallied outside. The group was small in the morning hours, but a larger protest was planned Thursday evening.
Protesters said they were angered after Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy said in a July interview, "We are very much supportive of the family -- the Biblical definition of the family unit ... We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives."
Chick-fil-A San Jose Opens Thursday
Chick-fil-A says it applies biblically-based principles to managing the business. "For example, we believe that closing on Sundays, operating debt-free and devoting a percentage of our profits back to our communities are what make us a stronger company and Chick-fil-A family," the company website states.
That statement goes on to say:
"The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our Restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect –regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender. We will continue this tradition in the over 1,600 Restaurants run by independent Owner/Operators. Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena. Our mission is simple: to serve great food, provide genuine hospitality and have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A."
San Jose's new restaurant is one of 92 locations the chain plans to open across the country this year, which it says will create nearly 7,000 new jobs
Chick-fil-A is also opening a restaurant in Walnut Creek in the coming months as well as one in Novato next year.
Chick-fil-A is calling the San Jose location the first in the Bay Area, but old-timers know that there used to be one in the Sunnyvale Town Center shopping center.