Eat at Joe’s

No, this is not THAT chicken place. From the Toronto Star, a case of oopsy mistaken identity:

Chick-Felays and Chick-fil-A may sound similar and both serve chicken as their main dishes, but the similarities end there, something Chick-Felays founder and CEO Nabeel Khan has been trying in earnest to point out.

“We had one guy come into one of our restaurants, ordered his food, and then refused it, asking us how we could be so discriminating,” said Khan, recounting a string of such encounters between customers and employees at Chick-Felays’ four locations in southern Ontario. “We had no idea what he was talking about. He said, ‘This is garbage,’ and walked out.”

Khan says it was only several weeks later, after a few more visits from enraged customers, that he learned the president and COO of U.S. chain Chick-fil-A, Dan Cathy, had made public statements in June and July declaring his opposition to same-sex marriage, sparking a firestorm of controversy south of the border.

Khan then realized customers were mistakenly linking his two-year-old chain to the American company. He’s been in damage control mode ever since.

Yes, it’s easy to see how that could happen, eh? Both names rely on odd spellings of the word filet. In fact, I privately refer to the US bigot chain as Chickfilla, which rhymes with Godzilla and is full of filler.

This chain, however, sounds like it serves really delicious chicken filets, flame-broiled rather than brined, breaded and deep-fried (and horrible for your health) like those other guys. And apparently they specialize in hot spicy pepper sauces, too. Yum! I’d definitely eat that.

But you know what REALLY leaves a good taste in my mouth? THIS:

“It shocks me that people would ask ‘How can you discriminate?’ How could you think that? We’re brown people,” chuckled Khan, who has found humour in the angry customers’ outbursts.

Now, when patrons inquire on a possible relation between Chick-Felays and Chick-fil-A, Khan says his employees point out that the spelling, the menu and the logo are all different. But most importantly, the beliefs are different, he says.

“We welcome everyone, customers and employees, with our arms open and our hearts open,” he said, sitting in a booth at Chick-Felays’s newly opened Mississauga location on Latimer Dr. “Working in the service industry, it’s nonsense to publicly say what (Dan Cathy) said. It’s not good for business.”


Interestingly enough, no customers have come forward saying they support Chick-fil-A’s stance.

Well, of course not. This is CANADA. We have equal marriage rights here, and abortion rights too, and Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs are all welcome. And anyone who wants to oppose them is going to find himself very much alone.

And probably out of business before long, too.

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