Long Island's first Chick-fil-A restaurant is scheduled to open on Sept. 16 in Port Jefferson Station, according to a post on the Atlanta-based company's website.
The eatery would be the chain's first stand-alone restaurant in New York State, joining a small Chick-fil-A outlet in a New York University cafeteria in Manhattan. Two more Chick-fil-A restaurants are planned, in Hicksville and in Commack.
The Port Jefferson Station location, at 5184 Nesconset Hwy., was approved in 2013 by the Brookhaven Town Board over protests by some gay-rights advocates, who expressed alarm about comments opposing same-sex marriage made earlier that year by Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy. Company officials who spoke to the town board in 2013 distanced themselves from Cathy's comments, saying they did not reflect the company's position on gay rights.
David Kilmnick, chief executive of the Long Island LGBT Network, had said then that he planned to encourage a boycott of the restaurant when it opens.
On Friday, he said he has been invited to discuss his concerns with the Chick-fil-A franchise owner. A date for the meeting has not been set, he said.
"We most likely are going to be sitting down with the owners to talk," Kilmnick said, adding the invitation was the result of a chance meeting with a Chick-fil-A real estate representative at Long Island MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma. "They're interested in sitting down and talking with us about the issues and seeing what we can do so that they can be more inclusive."
In an email, Chick-fil-A spokeswoman Brenda Morrow confirmed the restaurant would open in "mid to late September." She said she was not aware of the meeting with Kilmnick.
Company officials have said the chain does not discriminate based on sexual orientation.
Chick-fil-A operates hundreds of restaurants nationwide, most in Southern states such as Georgia, Texas, North Carolina and Florida.
Supporters told Brookhaven officials in 2013 that Chick-fil-A would create jobs and provide excellent service to customers. The restaurant would replace a former car dealership that had been at the site.
Kilmnick said he hoped to work with Chick-fil-A officials to ensure the restaurant follows state laws barring discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
"We certainly will work with them with their [human resources] . . . practices as it relates to diversity and the LGBT community and complying with the law," Kilmnick said. "It's something that they need to comply with, and we're going to keep a close eye on it."