On Tuesday, November 14th, Owensboro’s Chick-fil-A restaurant will celebrate its 14th birthday. But, the current location wasn’t the popular restaurant’s first in town. Chick-fil-A’s very first location in Owensboro was situated inside Towne Square Mall and it opened back in November of 1989. I used to work in the mall- at Disc Jockey just down the hall- and I remember that Chick-fil-A very well.

During the 80s and 90s, Chick-fil-A restaurants were staples in malls across the country. Their advertising tagline was “’The Taste Worth Shopping For” and the company’s television ads typically depicted mall shoppers stopping by Chick-fil-A to eat. Here are a couple of fun and tasty retro TV ads.

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My longtime friend Gina Board worked at the Chick-fil-A inside Towne Square Mall. In fact, she was manager there for several years. While the menu has evolved considerably over the last 30+ years, Chick-fil-A’s signature sandwich was the star of the show then as it is now.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Gina says, “At the time, we only had the signature sandwich, the chargrilled sandwich and chicken nuggets. They eventually added chicken strips.”

Of course, there were also some menu items then that failed to make the cut today. Gina says, “We had a chicken salad sandwich they don’t have anymore.” There was also a sandwich called the ChickNQ, which was piled high with shredded BBQ chicken.  Gina also recalls a “chicken gravy” you could get during breakfast and a “disgusting” side item- a rather regrettable carrot and raisin salad that eventually met its demise and was struck from the menu.

Dave Spencer/WBKR
Dave Spencer/WBKR

The Towne Square Mall location of Chick-fil-A closed in February of 2004. Gina was gone by then, but remembers exactly why it closed. She says, “It closed because there was just not enough traffic in that mall to profit.” Back then, the writing was certainly on the wall, not just for that Chick-fil-A location, but for the mall itself. Earlier this year, Towne Square Mall closed its doors for good.

As for Chick-fil-A, Gina “knew they would eventually open a free-standing unit.” Less than 10 years later, the company did and the Frederica Street location is one of, if not THE, most heavily trafficked fast food restaurant in town.

And tomorrow, the store will celebrate with a big Happy Birthday party by giving every 100th customer FREE Chick-fil-A for a year.


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