Finding Chick-fil-A in Omaha can involve drastic measures.
Don’t listen to anyone who tells you that it’s the best fast-food chicken you’ll ever taste; that it doesn’t even taste like fast food; that it tastes like a little bit of heaven in your mouth. A little bit of heaven with a slice of pickle.
Because everything they say is true.
And if you do try Chick-fil-A, then come back to Omaha with that magical taste still on your tongue, you’re done for. You’ll be plagued by powerful, life-long Chick-fil-A cravings that you’ll never be able to satisfy without venturing far, far from home.
That’s why “Who wants Chick-fil-a in Omaha, NE???” has almost 10,000 fans on Facebook.
That’s why people who work at Mutual of Omaha — which has Nebraska’s only Chick-fil-A locked away in its headquarters — never want for lunch dates.
And that’s why I always try to fly through the Atlanta airport, even when I’m headed northwest. (Concourse A.)
If you’ve never tried Chick-fil-A, trust me, don’t.
“It’s not quite Runza, but it’s kind of like that. It makes every other kind of chicken a disappointment, a huge letdown,” said Michael Miller, 41, an Atlanta native who now lives in Omaha. “Whenever I go down there, it’s the first stop. Like from the airport to Chick-fil-A.”
But if you have — if it’s too late for you like it’s too late for me, if you’re already one of the Chick-fil-Afflicted — listen up.
I don’t have great news for you, but I do have news: Chick-fil-A does plan to come to Omaha . . . just not anytime soon. (See
1. Get a job at Mutual of Omaha.
(Or make friends with someone who already has a job there. Or get a job at the Omaha World-Herald and say that you need to have lunch at Mutual of Omaha “for a story.”)
The Mutual of Omaha Chick-fil-A is practically an urban myth. People who work at Mutual get used to answering the question: “Is there really a Chick-fil-A in there?” And the follow-up question, “Um, can you get me some?”
There’s been a Chick-fil-A in the Mutual of Omaha food court since 2002. There are other restaurants under the dome, too, but I didn’t take note of them when I visited Mutual last week. I couldn’t; Chick-fil-A was calling to me like the Ark of the Covenant.
It’s just a mini location, with a limited menu, but you can get the original sandwiches, the nuggets and the waffle fries. And everything tastes just like it does at a real Chick-fil-A.
Knowing that I might never get back in the building, I bought two extra sandwiches with my lunch and put them in my refrigerator to eat the next day. I was like an Israelite, trying to stash away manna in Tupperware. The buns got really soggy and ruined the chicken. Apparently, true Chick-fil-A diehards know to remove the bread before transport.
There’ve been rumors about Mutual opening another Chick-fil-A in Midtown Crossing. But that isn’t possible.
Even though Mutual of Omaha owns Midtown Crossing, it doesn’t own the relationship with Chick-fil-A. The restaurant under the dome is licensed and managed through a third-party catering company.
2. Shop at Midtown Crossing next week. Mutual can, however, give the sandwiches away. On July 23, Midtown Crossing gave out free Chick-fil-A sandwiches to anyone who bought something from one of its Outdoor Market vendors.
“I think I went through 600 Chick-fil-A sandwiches in no time,” said Molly Skold, Midtown Crossing’s marketing director.
The promotion went so well that Midtown is planning another Chick-fil-A giveaway for Saturday .
As someone who doesn’t have almost-daily access to Chick-fil-A, this strikes me as a little cruel. Like Mutual of Omaha is teasing us with its Chick-fil-A spoils.
But I’m also someone who wants a free sandwich. So you’ll probably see me there.
3. Find something to do in Sioux City. But not on a Sunday.Sioux City, Iowa, actually does have a Chick-fil-A location. Des Moines has one, too, in Jordan Creek Town Center in West Des Moines. (“Is this heaven?” “It’s Iowa.”) There’s also a restaurant in St. Joseph, Mo.
But no Chick-fil-A is open seven days a week. The company is still run by the founding Cathy family, and serving God is a central part of Chick-fil-A’s corporate philosophy. The employees have always had Sundays off to spend time at church or with their families.
There are dozens of Facebook groups just about that. About craving Chick-fil-A on a Sunday.
Those spoiled Facebookers should think about what it’s like to live in Nebraska . . .
Where every day is Sunday.
And there’s no Monday in sight.
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