BOSTON (CBS) – His predecessor told Chick-fil-A to stay away. But Mayor Marty Walsh is taking a different approach to Chick-fil-A’s plans for a restaurant in Boston.
The closed-on-Sundays chicken chain confirmed last week that it is looking to open its first Boston location in the Back Bay on Boylston Street.
“Chick-fil-A has gone through a process here in the community and I’ll be kind of paying attention to see what the story is and what’s been going on, any feelings we have. I have not heard anything negative about Chick-fil-A coming in,” Walsh told reporters on Tuesday. “I know there was a situation here many, many years ago with Chick-fil-A coming in.”
Six years ago, Northeastern University students successfully blocked Chick-fil-A from coming to campus, citing the chain’s support of groups against same-sex marriage. When Chick-fil-A tried to pursue another location near City Hall later in the year, Mayor Tom Menino wrote a letter to company president Dan Cathy, urging him to back out.
“There is no place for discrimination on Boston’s Freedom Trail and no place for your company alongside it,” the late mayor wrote.
Walsh said Thursday that he believes Chick-fil-A’s philosophy has changed since the chain faced nationwide protests for its stance on marriage. A 2017 Business Insider story on how Chick-fil-A “shed its polarizing image” states that the company is aiming to be more inclusive and franchise owners are told “not to let their activities in the community alienate or exclude any particular faiths or religious organizations.”
Back Bay Association President Meg Mainzer-Cohen told WBZ-TV last week the proposed location at 569 Boylston St. is a good spot for a fast food restaurant. She said her organization has talked with Chick-fil-A and that the process is still in the beginning stages.
There are currently 11 Chick-fil-A locations in Massachusetts.