The colonel’s back in town and some Yellowknifers couldn’t be happier. The city’s new KFC restaurant opened to much fanfare on Monday morning with vehicles lined up around the block.
Jestine Amora won Cabin Radio’s Colonel’s Choice Contest to be the first person in line as KFC returned to the city following a six-year absence. She said she has a special connection with the franchise.
“I’m super excited. Chicken has always been a family staple,” said Amora.
“When I first moved to Yellowknife in 1997 as an immigrant, my parents took me to KFC first.”
The NWT’s love for the restaurant – known for its secret chicken recipe involving 11 herbs and spices – is a cultural phenomenon that has even been documented by researchers.
KFC was the first fast food chain to set up shop in the territory, but the restaurant in Yellowknife closed its doors in 2015.
“The day when it closed, it was really sad because you know everyone in Yellowknife loves chicken,” Amora said.
She isn’t the only one celebrating the restaurant’s return.
The first vehicle arrived at the KFC drive-through at 7:45am in anticipation of the restaurant’s opening at 10:30am.
At one point, there were around 60 vehicles waiting in line. Municipal enforcement officers blocked off a section of one lane of Old Airport Road to accommodate the lineup.
A self-identified “pretty big” fan of KFC, donning a sweater and a face mask baring the franchise’s logo, was among those in line.
“I’ve been waiting years so I‘m pretty excited,” he said.
Dozens of people stood outside the restaurant’s front doors for the chance to order inside. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, only 25 customers are allowed in the restaurant at a time.
The restaurant scaled back plans for a grander opening ceremony after the city’s weekend surge in Covid-19 cases. Nevertheless, it was still easily the number-one destination in the city on Monday.
“I cannot wait to get my mouth into that chicken,” shouted one excited customer who opted to order inside, followed by cheers from onlookers.
Andrew Goodwin contributed reporting.