The path to January's opening of Chicken Salad Chick in Batavia started with a CNBC interview featuring the CEO of the restaurant chain.
St. Charles residents Kim and Garrett Seaman will open the first Chicken Salad Chick in the Chicago area. A popular chain in the south, Chicken Salad Chick has more than 200 restaurants in 17 states.
"We're really excited to get it open and to know that we're going to be the first out here," said Kim Seaman, who has taken a leave from 20 years of teaching for Batavia School District 101 to open the restaurant.
The St. Charles couple had planned to open the restaurant Tuesday, but announced Friday that circumstances beyond their control had pushed the opening to January 10th.
Seaman said she heard about Chicken Salad Chick through a friend who owns a franchise in southern Illinois. But a CNBC interview in July 2020 got the couple's attention.
Chicken Salad Chick CEO Scott Deviney spoke about the challenges of running a restaurant chain during a pandemic. But he also talked about the bright spots, such as the six new restaurants that opened in June and July 2020, including one in East Peoria.
It was a message that resonated with the Seamans, who, like many others at the time, were taking stock of their lives as they navigated a global pandemic.
"Listening to the strength of the brand, especially as it was going through COVID ... we started looking into it," Kim Seaman said. "We applied the same day."
At that point they hadn't even tried anything on the restaurant's menu.
They got a call from Chicken Salad Chick a few hours after applying for a franchise, only to learn the company wasn't ready to open new stores in northern Illinois. But by August 2021, the Seamans got another call.
"They called us and said, 'We're ready. Are you ready?'" Seaman recalled.
The Seamans got to work and found their restaurant location at 220 N. Randall Road, in front of Menards. The couple plans to open two more locations -- potentially on the east side of St. Charles and in Wheaton -- within the next three to four years.
"This was a great time to try something new," Seaman said.
She said they've gone through extensive training to open the store, and the company has supported the couple as they prepare for their grand opening.
The couple also tried all the food. Kim's favorite is the Cranberry Kelly chicken salad, which includes a mix of dried, sweetened cranberries and slivered almonds. Garret's favorite is the Olivia Old South, a traditional chicken salad with sweet pickles and eggs. The grape salad -- a mix of red and green grapes covered in a sweet cream cheese mixture topped off with brown sugar and crushed pecans -- also is a favorite side dish.
With 12 varieties of chicken salad, customers are sure to find something to satisfy. If chicken salad doesn't hit the spot, the menu includes pimento cheese salad, egg salad, turkey club and turkey pesto sandwiches and sides like mac and cheese, pasta salad and broccoli salad. The menu also includes a rotation of daily soup specials.
Food is prepared fresh daily.
"If you order a scoop, you are getting something we made that day," Seaman said.
But it's not just about the food, she said.
"You're our guest from the moment you walk in to the moment you leave," Seaman said.
Chicken Salad Chick will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The restaurant is closed on Sundays.
To celebrate the grand opening, the first 100 guests on January 10th will receive a certificate for a free large quick chick, or a large chicken salad of their choice, every month for a year. On Wednesday, the first 50 guests to purchase a quick chick salad trio will receive a Chick Tumbler.
The first 50 guests on Thursday to purchase two quick chicks will get a free small cooler and on Friday the first 50 guests who purchase a quick chick trio will receive a free water bottle. On Saturday, the restaurant will offer a buy two get one free special on quick chicks.
For more information about the restaurant, visit chickensaladchick.com.