Mike Keller first came for free food, but now he said it's about the people.
The Cincinnati, Ohio, resident spent Wednesday afternoon on a paved sidewalk playing Yahtzee with two of about 100 people waiting to be among the first let in to Orland Park's new Chick-fil-A restaurant.
The Orland visit is the fifth time Keller camped out for a Chick-fil-A grand opening.
The next morning, he was first in line to win free Chick-fil-A meals for a year.
"You do your first for the food," Keller said. "After that it's not about the food it's the camaraderie you have with the people you're camping out with. I see people here I met six weeks ago at the last opening."
Despite cold winds that battered tents and campers alike, people waiting for the Orland Park Chick-fil-A to open were in good spirits as the doors opened just after 6 a.m. Restaurant employees shouted and banged on pots and pans to greet the waiting customers.
Franchise owner/operator Kevin Bulmann was born in Traverse City, Mich., and grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio where he ran another Chick-fil-A restaurant. He said a lot of his relatives live in Tinley Park and Orland Park, and he spent many summers in the area mowing lawns.
"We're excited," Bulmann said right before the restaurant opened. "We've been anxious for this day for a long time."