Young and Hungry

Chick-fil-A’s Food Truck Stirs Debate, But Nothing To Do With New Regs

The burgeoning D.C. food truck scene has generated a ton of debate of late, mostly about how the city should regulate the expanding fleet of mobile eats vendors. Likewise, today's news that national fast-food chain Chick-fil-A would soon launch its own D.C. food truck has also sparked some intense rhetoric. This time, though, the banter has nothing to do with parking or sales tax or "vending development zones" or anything of that nature. Instead, D.C. foodies are in an uproar about the company's apparent politics, primarily in regard to gay rights. (Read food scribe David Hagedorn's thoughts here; Dino owner Dean Gold, meanwhile, chimes in here.) The abrupt shift in dialogue from waffle fries on wheels to the country's never-ending culture wars is not entirely surprising—this is Washington, after all. Y&H has reached out to Chick-fil-A for comment. Or, in the alternative, more info on the food truck. In the meanwhile, stick your thoughts in the comments.

Logo courtesy of Chick-fil-A

  • Dean GOld

    Thanks for helping me spread the word. Chik-Fil-A has an operator who supported a hate group anti gay position and then they tried to cover it up. Then corporate defended the position {I think the whole thing was covered on JoeMyGod and Dan Savage's blogs}. Chik-Fil-A is not just owned by a person who hates gays, but they are using their tax exempt foundation and their corporate advantages to further their hate. Mainstream media fails to cover the story and now, the alternative press {DCist} repackages a PR piece with a call to rejoice. The price of liberty is eternal vigilance. Anyone can make a bad editorial call, but then defending your editorial decision as freedom of the press just rubs me the wrong way. Obviously!

    Dean "Snakehead" Gold!

  • Don

    A lot of people ARE excited by it and love their food. I don't understand why you think it's incumbent on DCist to make sure to mention this crappy aspect of Chick-fil-a's corporate culture in any mention of news related to them.

  • Kin

    Thank you, Don, for taking the very words out of my mouth.

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  • Dean Gold

    How we spend dollars shapes r world. Hate gays, spend at Chik-Fil_A & Target.

    Every act of spending money, every time you buy food it is political. If you buy fast food, you are supporting the GMO and better living thru chemicals point of view.

    Chik_Fil_A got caught giving money to an anti gay hate group and then covered it up. They then issued statement after statement fromt heir corporate headquarters in defence of their localoperator. Not once did they take responsibility.

    Here is a list of things allowed in your food that don't ahve to be labeled. Big AG, of which Chik-Fil_A is a player, is allowed to lie!

    If you choose not to think about issues like this, like public health, like our environment, you get what the result of corporate greed and hate bring.

    I am rabble rousing for people to think before the say and spend.

  • Andrew


    it is incumbent upon DCist to do some form of journalism. That could take many forms, including getting commentary from local businesses, food trucks, or DC officials about its impact for future food truck regulations. Alternatuvely, they could have asked DC residents about what they thought about the truck's arrival. you can be sure that you'd find people on both sides of the argument, and upon doing so, DCist may find it relevant to report just why some people boycott Chick Fil A so ardently (or why people love it so much, but that's a no-brainer. it's the peanut oil.). the fact that Chick Fil A has donated millions to an anti-gay organization designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, one of the leading organizations in monitoring hate groups in the US, is relevant knowledge in any article about Chick Fil A.

    As it is, DCist did not do that, and you may say that that's not its responsibility, and that's fine. in that case, commenters fill that gap. it's a valid argument to say that Dean Gold was excessively vitriolic in his remarks, but the answer to that problem is for DCist to do some journalism, receive those comments, and frame them in the article so that they inform the public rather than enrage.

    I'd welcome that over reblogging a publicity stunt from Chick Fil A, which is essentially all DCist could be bothered to do.

  • nick

    I don't hate gays but I love Chick-Fil-A. Mondays are tough.

  • Adam


    Do you feel obligated to disclose your opinions on all political issues because you serve food to the public? How about your employees? Are they vetted? More importantly, do you think all restaurants should feel that obligation? Are you confident you only shop and dine at places that share your views?

    While I disagree with Chick-fil-A's views towards gay rights and am glad that any post on any blog that even tangentially mentions the restaurant inevitably turns into OH MAH GOD THEY HATE TEH GAYS in the comments, after seeing this for like five years now it all seems a little disingenuous. For reasons you mention above. The same people who can grasp the big bad fast food chain that doesn't hide their religious affiliations don't understand that where they spend the rest of their money matters too.

  • Dean GOld

    Adam, read my tweets. I protested DCist suggesting we "rejoice" that Chik-Fil-A is coming to DC. I would not rejoice because of its factory farmed approach to its food AND the anti gay, hate group support and the fact that corporatized food is heavily subsidizedin so many ways in American thru reducing diversity and small business viability.

    I do not limit myself to shopping at businesses that have the same purchasing standards as I do when it comes to sustainable foods. There are some that are stricter, and some that have no idea. But, for instance, I do not go to restaurants that serve Blue Fin. I would not go to a fish and chip place that sells cod and skate. But I would not condemn others who do.

    But I do object to a "news outlet" not even mentioning the issue and telling us to "rejoice" when a hate group supporting company comes to town. When I found out about how Target uses their corporate status to support similar hate groups, I stopped shopping there and hence pay more for my pants and boxers.

    I am getting raked over the coals by some {and let me tell you the support I am getting is way more than the negative comments and is very gratifying} but those who are calling me vitriolic are commenting on the hate groups supported by our tax dollars via Chik-Fil-A's tax exempt charitable foundation.

    My employees are free to have any political affiliations and opinions they want, as long as they observe our non discriminatory policy to all. The one employee who made anti gay comments about a fellow team member did not get to finish the hate speech before I terminated him. So did another who make racially motivated hate speech.

  • Adam


    First of all, let me say I think it's great that you aren't afraid to speak your mind and that you put your money where your mouth is. You shouldn't be an exception to the rule. That being said, protecting free speech means those hate groups are certainly allowed to spout however they want. To me, it's as close minded for people to bash you for being 'vitriolic' as it is for people to think CFA shouldn't be allowed to support groups of their choice. Personally I don't like politics in my poultry but I certainly don't have a full boycott on the establishment. I don't eat a ton of fast food to begin with though, and I would absolutely support a local establishment doing the same kind of food the right way first. In short, I'm probably like most DCers: just informed enough to make half a change because it's fairly convenient around here to do it. If you live outside an American metropolitan area, it ain't that easy if you ever want to eat out.

    I agree with your disapproval of the DCist headline, (although calling DCist a news outlet is generous of you), but your choice words do bring out a larger pet peeve of mine, which is the sporadic copy/paste laziness of many of the larger internet food news sources. In general, the bigger culprits are the food blogs, but it certainly spills over. These guys stepped right into a bear trap and had no idea they were doing it. Or maybe that was the idea.

    This could be all be settled if you put a chicken fried snakehead sandwich on the menu. Do it and I will be there this weekend with bells on. No waffle fries necessary.

  • Martin

    I'm DCist's editor-in-chief, and I feel that I need to clarify some points.

    First, Dean keeps saying that I said we should all "rejoice" because an anti-gay group is coming to town. This isn't true. In fact, the tweet he's referring to said "Chicken lovers rejoice." I was referring specifically to the fact the Chick-fil-A has something of a cult following -- because of its chicken. Once he raised the issue of its support for anti-gay groups, I posted his tweet so people could see what he's saying. (His tweet included not so thinly veiled criticism of DCist, but I posted it anyhow because I believe in open dialogue.)

    I understand that in his mind the two issues -- chicken and ideology -- are inseparable. I don't agree. When it comes to food, we don't run a litmus test on every restaurant. Yes, Chick-fil-A's political stances matters to some people, and that's why I posted his tweet mere minutes after he put it out there. But for others, it's just fast food they like. And yes, you can judge them for it -- but not the way Dean approached the issue today.

    Second, we got criticized because we just posted PR. Umm, let's be honest, it was a quick post saying that Chick-fil-A had a food truck coming. There are tons of articles in all types of outlets that have these types of "Hey, so and so is coming to town" articles. If Dino launched a food truck tomorrow, I guarantee you that Dean would have no objection to the Post, the Examiner, DCist and everyone else running short bits saying so.

    I respect Dean for his culinary skills and the strength of his convictions, but he's demonized us in a way that isn't fair or accurate. As a blog that tries to understand and express what it is to be D.C., we have strongly backed gay rights in every form over the years. Writing that Chick-fil-A is coming to town in no means endorsed their political views, and we made sure to include Dean's own perspective as soon as he made it clear. At the same time, I'm a firm believer that people decide how to exercise their opinions themselves. Chick-fil-A starting a food truck is news, whether or not you like their politics. In many ways, that up to the individual consumer. The same goes for Dino -- someone may not like how Dean expressed himself, but still like the food enough to give him their money.

    I'm always open to discuss this more deeply, so feel free to email me at martin at dcist dot com.

  • Dean Gold


    let me respond to your specific points:

    "First, Dean keeps saying that I said we should all "rejoice" because an anti-gay group is coming to town. This isn't true. In fact, the tweet he's referring to said "Chicken lovers rejoice." I was referring specifically to the fact the Chick-fil-A has something of a cult following -- because of its chicken."

    I only said that you said "Chicken lovers rejoice" If you had said Chik-Fil-A lovers rejoice, I might not have even noticed. But as a chicken lover: humanely raised and not chemically abused chickens, not chickens that contribute to the increasing antibiotic resistance problems, not industrially raised chickens that create health and ground water problems for their neighbors to contend with, I resent being told to rejoice that more tortured and chem filled anti food is going to be available in DC.

    As a person who is alarmed at the anti gay sentiments spreading through our country, sentiments that have brought our country to a dangerous hate filled point, I resent being told to "rejoice" that a company that gives millions to certified hate groups is coming to DC without any mention or balance in YOUR reporting.

    "And yes, you can judge them for it -- but not the way Dean approached the issue today."

    I would like you to show me where I attacked any one for liking Chik-Fil-A. I attacked you. And Chik_Fil_A. My face book post shows my shock at your insensitivity tot he Chik-Fil-A issue when I posit: "When did DCist join the ahters?" simply because of your record of supporting gay rights. But when you made a blunder, and the myriad posts in support of my position show that to many it was a blunder, you can''t simply back down and maybe give the issue a full hearing. Posting what David Hagerdorn or I tweet doesn't change your words: "Chicken Lovers Rejoice"

    There are myriad restaurants in Washington DC that try to say how they support local agriculture who sell industrial beef, who serve up endangered and unsustainable fish, who talk about industrially produced foods as though they are responsibly produced. I don't go out of my way to critique each of these organization, as the marketplace will do that eventually. But Chik-Fil-A isn't just spinning food. They have engaged in corporate cover-ups of their gay hating and they have issued statements defending their gay hatred. They are a special case.

    "If Dino launched a food truck tomorrow, I guarantee you that Dean would have no objection to the Post, the Examiner, DCist and everyone else running short bits saying so."

    Hell, give all the PR you want. But when you give PR to a major funder of hate groups without mentioning the hate groups, I don't think that being called on it is out of bounds. I have used inflammatory language because that is the language the hate groups use. Once David Hagerdorn and I and others made the complaints, and you still haven't talked about the issue I and others have raised raise, what does that say?

    Just look at Chris Shott's report: once the post and my response and others became part of a discussion, he gave a nod to what we were saying and not just by quoting my tweet.

    "I respect Dean for his culinary skills and the strength of his convictions, but he's demonized us in a way that isn't fair or accurate."

    I don't think I have been inaccurate. You still have not posted anything about how Chik_Fil-A's politcal activities. They are probably well known only to those who follow alternative outlets like Dan Savage and JoeMyGod exactly because the main stream press and even a lot of independent outlets don't want to touch the controversy. You certainly are tiptoeing around any direct statement or reference to the issues I have raised. If you are the "New Media", then dig into a story once the challenge has been raised. You were challenged, respond with some investigation. As Bev Eggleston is fond of saying "Just because something is accepted, doesn't mean it is acceptable." Supporting hate groups is too sadly acceptable to too many. That saddens and angers me.

    I am outraged at how gays are being treated in many parts of America today. I am outraged at what corporate America is doing to out health and to our environment in the pursuit of profit. I am also outraged that we on the left are losing our sense of outrage at the rhetoric of the right vilifying people because of who they love. I gave up a career at Whole Foods because I did not believe in what they were doing. I try to run my business with integrity and transparency. I say what I believe in and those who support me and believe the same are valued for that support.

    I think that with regard to your reply above, I have pointed out some spin you have used that has misrepresented what I have said, hence this detailed response. But I will stand by my posts and my tweets and my outrage. That is who I am.

    It's been a fun day!

    Dean Gold

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  • Anon

    Dino just lost a customer.

  • Jack

    Ah, the politics just makes the Chick-fil-a taste that much better. It's like a little bit of home in Washington, D.C.

    God bless you Mr. Cathy!

  • Nova Nicoise

    Good for you Dean, screw Anon, you don't need shits like him for a customer!

    Screw Cathy and his imaginary god.

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  • RAY

    In this society, the problem is that anyone that thinks homosexuality is wrong is now called a hate group by those on the other side.

    Saying, I think homosexuality is wrong and saying I hate homosexuals are two different things. Chick-Ful-a's founder has a strong Christian faith that include the belief that homosexuality is wrong. So he supports groups with that view through his very successful restaurant. But if you compared those organizations with say, Westebro Baptist Church, their mission is totally different. They dont' say that they, or God hates them. They yes do argue that it is wrong, but they do not teach to hate gays, or that God hates gays.

    As much as I have to accept that people that think people are born gay, and it is truly for people to be in love with someone of the same gender, the other side should realize that there are still people who think their lifestyle is morally wrong. I don't hate anyone that thinks the opposite, but I respectfully disagree. Chick-ful-a is supporting what it thinks is right. Both sides need to accept there are people with greatly different views, and they will support those views. The word hate seems to be thrown out now when anyone has an objection to what they agree or say. I would totally agree if Chick-ful-a supported a group that flat out said they had a hate or disgust of those that are gay, but that is not the case.

    I understand that to some, Chick-ful-a's views are extreme. If you don't agree with them, don't eat there. (although if you try it that might be a pretty hard thing to do!) However, they are not promoting hate. They just think homosexuality is wrong, which they have every right to. Please fell free to be critical of Westbro Baptist church whic I cannot stand either, but don't waste your time fighting Chick-ful-a.

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  • Timmy

    Oh lord. Dean, we get it dude, what an overreaction. I echo whoever just commented that Dino just lost a customer. I haven't been there before, but had planned a 6-person dinner there in two weeks. Not anymore.

    A tweet saying "chicken lovers rejoice" when one of the most popular fast food chicken chains in the country is arriving with a food truck is the most, inane, boring, and ACCURATE thing you could possible report about this. Yes, no one around here, including me, likes their stance on gay rights, but I don't ask to review the citizenship papers of everyone who works in Dino's kitchen before I eat there, or quiz them on if they give a certain amount of money to PRO gay rights groups (which I fully support, but point being others would take issue with this for political reasons).

    If someone wants to write an article about Chick-fil-A's political positions that's fine, but lets not act like this is so hyper-relevant that it MUST be mentioned in any article about them, that's just idiotic. Must every news mention of Denny's or Cracker Barrel still include a mention of long settled discrimination cases? Should every article about Ben & Jerry's newest flavor also alert people to their donations to left-wing causes? Or should an article saying "Coffee Lovers Rejoice" about a new Starbucks latte offering be required to mention the company is pro gay marriage?

    It's silly. Articles about the politics of various companies have their place. That place is not in general articles about new store or food truck openings.

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