Chicken chain’s new sandwich on track

Published 8:22 pm Monday, March 24, 2014

Owner of the North Suffolk Chick-fil-A, Dan Curran, demonstrates the new indoor grill that he said the company spent $8 million developing especially for the new sandwich.

Owner of the North Suffolk Chick-fil-A, Dan Curran, demonstrates the new indoor grill that he said the company spent $8 million developing especially for the new sandwich.

On Sunday at the chain’s North Suffolk location, Olympic gold medalist LaTasha Colander Clark became the first Virginian — according to storeowner Dan Curran — to try Chick-fil-A’s new sandwich. And it was clear that at least one person is a fan.

The track star arrived at the store on College Drive toward the end of an employee team-building exercise. (And, just to be clear, the company’s Sunday rule was not broken — the store was closed to the public.)

“Seriously, it’s really good!” Clark said, after the sizeable gathering witnessed her take a bite.

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Clark carefully re-wrapped the sandwich to take home to her husband, not wanting him to miss out on the sneak preview.

Technically, two new sandwiches were rolled out Monday after Sunday’s exclusive savoring in North Suffolk: the grilled chicken sandwich, and the grilled chicken club sandwich.

Both are based on a new piece of equipment upon which the company spent $8 million developing over three years, Curran said.

“Three years ago, Chick-fil-A decided they wanted to come out with their new product … and make it have that backyard flavor,” he said. “We found there was no grill that existed that would do that.”

As he spoke, Curran lined up two columns of marinated chicken fillets on a piece of equipment that looked much more sophisticated than your average propane-fired grill.

“So they partnered with a company and invented this grill,” Curran said. “They are not painting on stripes — it’s the real deal.”

Using just the right amount of heat and pressure, the grill cooks the fillets on both sides in three minutes. “This is our first day to try this,” a delighted Curran added.

Before biting into the new sandwich, Clark spoke to the employees about realizing their potential.

“When you want to go above and beyond, sometimes you have to dig right down deep and see what your skills are,” Clark said.

“I was in your shoes too. Everything you do, I want you to know that you have a purpose.”

Quoting from Proverbs, Clark told the Chick-fil-A staff to place themselves around people who would sharpen them, who in turn would also be sharpened.

“He’s actually taking the steps for me,” she said. “I just have to make sure I position myself in the best place possible to shine the brightest in what I do.”

Back to the new sandwich: with its grilled goodness and whole-wheat bun, Curran said it was the “healthiest sandwich on any menu in any restaurant in the United States.”

“Talking about training,” he told Clark, “it’s the perfect little protein-bomb.”