BILLINGS — Chick-fil-A is expected to break ground on its first Billings restaurant next week, according to the construction company that started installing fencing around the West End site Tuesday.
The restaurant will be located at 670 South 24th St. W., using the same parking lot as Planet Fitness. Cars were allowed to park inside the fencing Tuesday, but Engineered Structures Inc. fully closed it off by the afternoon.
Crews are expected to start construction Monday, with an estimated 4.5-month building timeline. The superintendent, who is working on his eighth Chick-fil-A build, estimated the restaurant would be open by October.
“Just super excited," said Billings resident TJ Wierenga. "I can’t wait to announce to the group that this is actually happening.”
The group Wierenga is talking about is this Billings MT for Chick-fil-A Facebook community she founded 10 years ago, long before there were any concrete plans to open the restaurant in the Magic City. There’s currently just one in Montana, all the way up in Kalispell.
"I started that group in 2012," Wierenga, who moved to Billings from Texas, said, "and it's just been, ‘Come on Chick-fil-A, you can do it!'"
After filing zoning plans in January of 2021, the popular nationwide fast food chain was mum on the potential location for over a year, leaving residents like Wierenga wondering if her dream had died.
"With COVID, pandemic, mandates, murder hornets, it was like, of course we’re not going to get our Chick-fil-A," she said. "That would just fit, right?"
But the city of Billings issued building permits to Chick-fil-A on March 30, and Tuesday, ESI installed fencing around the property boundary lines and marked the corners of the building on the pavement.
News spread fast across social media, with the biggest concern being traffic coming into the location. 24th Street and nearby King Avenue is one of the busiest intersections in the city. Even super-fan Wierenga herself acknowledged the issue in her community post.
Another question raised - where will Chick-fil-A find its workers? They can count on at least one.
"My daughter would really like to work there. Maybe we can work something out," Wierenga said with a smile.