HUB’s Planned ‘Slim Chickens’ Comes With Penn State Connection

When Penn State announced that the Chick-fil-A location in the HUB would close by the end of the spring semester, students were outraged.

Removing the wildly popular location will certainly sting for a while, but students should remain optimistic about what’s to come. After all, Chick-fil-A’s replacement certainly didn’t wind up at Penn State just by chance.

Slim Chickens began in 2003 as a small fried chicken restaurant in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and has since grown into a country-wide franchise with more than 120 franchises throughout the United States. Penn State’s joint will be its first venture in the state of Pennsylvania.

Nearing the end of its deal with Penn State, Chick-fil-A notified the university that it would not renew its contract without converting into a full-service restaurant, which prompted Penn State to search for a replacement.

Jackie Lobdell, Slim Chickens’ vice president of franchise development, said she was thrilled when Penn State reached out to her in search of a replacement fried chicken restaurant for the HUB.

“When [Penn State] first got ahold of me,” Lobdell said, “I would bend over backward to accommodate anything that they needed because I would really love to see my brand on campus there.”

The Lobdell family is no stranger to Happy Valley. Jackie’s daughter, Lyndie, is a freshman on Penn State women’s hockey team. Lyndie committed to play for Penn State when she was 14, and Jackie remembers that journey quite fondly.

“[Lyndie] loved coach Kampersal. She loved the campus. I mean, it’s beautiful, right?” Lobdell said. “It’s not called Happy Valley, or Hockey Valley, for nothing.”

In a job that often deals with “stone-cold operating” restaurant owners, Lobdell said she welcomed the opportunity to sign on with an established school like Penn State, especially since she was already tied to it.

“To do [a deal with] a university, especially with the size of Penn State, and that I’m personally connected to, it was really great,” Lobdell said. “I’m so excited that we’re going to be on campus. Oh, and they’ll love the food.”

Slim Chickens’ express location in the HUB will feature a smaller menu than its traditional one. It’ll include chicken sandwiches, tenders, french fries, and coleslaw, in addition to limited-time offerings added occasionally to vary the selection. Five specialty dipping sauces will also be available, including daily house-made buttermilk ranch and cayenne ranch flavors.

Although all of our hearts may still be broken at the devastating loss of Chick-Fil-A, there seem to be good things to come.

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About the Author

Matt Rudisill

Matt is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism from a little town called Parkesburg in Chester County, PA. More often than not, you can catch him yelling about the Phillies and the Steelers on his Twitter (@mrudy26). Matt is also an elite wiffleball pitcher and is not afraid to back up that claim. Direct all wiffleball challenge invitations, or other legitimate requests, to [email protected].

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