A tipster spotted a Department of Sanitation police officer handing a ticket to an employee at New York's first and only Chick-fil-A — a chain that just recently reopened after a voluntary closure to correct a slew of Department of Health violations. Eater investigated, and it turns out, the city of New York had an issue with the barrier that keeps the chain's long lines in order, according to franchise owner Oscar Fittapaldi. The line barrier legally must be three feet from the wall, and Chick-fil-A's was four feet, Fittapaldi says. "It's like if you don't remove the snow," Fittapaldi says. "It has nothing to do with the word sanitation. It's just under that umbrella."
Fittapaldi says they usually put it three feet from the wall, but people in line sometimes push it out a bit. He had no idea how the DSNY police noticed or measured it, he tells Eater with a bit of a shrug. "Maybe with their feet?" he says. Chick-fil-A must pay the city an $100 fine for the infraction, he says. DSNY said in a statement that according to the law, sidewalks have to be free of anything that "could impede pedestrian traffic." "The rope line out too far caused the obstruction," DSNY says.
Despite the voluntary closure earlier this month, Chick-fil-A was still busy during Friday's lunch hour. The location usually does about 500 transactions in an hour during its busiest times, Fittapaldi says. The fried chicken sandwich chain's health grade is still pending, but they recently had another inspection where just eight points were docked, including one critical violation for food protection from potential contamination, according to the Department of Health record. Still, Fittapaldi was happy with the results. It's a huge improvement from the nearly 60 points that were docked near the end of last year. "We passed with flying colors," he says.