Dear Rome, there’s something we need to discuss as a family. And we are gonna get through this.

I don’t know how it happened but this community has come undone over some chicken salad.

For the last month or so I’ve seen (and been a part of) social media discussion over the opening of Chicken Salad Chick, a new restaurant in town specializing in — you guessed it — chicken salad.

First I was simply surprised at the amount of people who were crazy about this particular business. I’ve never had chicken salad from CSC. It’s probably delicious. But you would have thought they were opening a Disneyland in Rome the way people were so excited about it.

Let me say right off the bat that I am glad Chicken Salad Chick is in town. I’m happy to support (and encourage y’all to support) a local business. The building is gorgeous and definitely brings a little class to the area it’s located. When the hype dies down I’m sure I’ll be over there to try some of the different varieties of chicken salad.

What’s funny is that for some reason there are those in the community who go crazy when a restaurant (any restaurant) is about to open up. The same thing happened with Steak N Shake. You couldn’t get near that place for two weeks after it opened. Y’all have been to Steak N Shake before. It wasn’t something people had never experienced before.

And when the new Truett’s Chick-Fil-A opened, there was the same hype. I love Chick-Fil-A just as much as anyone else but it exists in Rome. It’s not new. We don’t need to camp out in front of the building the night before it opens.

And with the Chicken Salad Chick situation I was over here thinking....It’s chicken salad. Have y’all never had chicken salad before? In fact, we have several restaurants in Rome (including Duffy’s Deli) that make delicious chicken salad. Chicken salad is not new to Rome.

But that brings up another point. It seems that some people have turned the opening of Chicken Salad Chick into a competition with Duffy’s Deli. It’s NOT. Romans can (and will) enjoy both places. You don’t have to avoid one to eat at the other.

A Rome resident named Lexie posted on her Facebook page that she preferred Duffy’s to CSC. That’s all she posted. It was her opinion. She didn’t say one was bad or didn’t try to dissuade anyone from going to one restaurant or the other. She simply said that she preferred Duffy’s.

Well let me tell you.....within a day or so she had gotten more than 200 comments on that post. And surprisingly, many of them were contentious. Folks were picking sides and vehemently defending their choice. There were arguments back and forth and no one was more surprised about it than Lexie. She didn’t realize that her simple post about a preference in chicken salad would start a firestorm like that.

Y’’s chicken salad. Duffy’s has great chicken salad and I’m sure CSC has delicious chicken salad as well. You can have both. You can love both. Or you can like the chicken salad at many of the other restaurants in town that serve it. It’s not that big a deal.

I’ve seen other local social media posts encouraging people to support one or the other. We can support BOTH. Both businesses can do well in Rome at the same time.

What we DON’T need any more of is Mexican restaurants. We have enough. The ones we have are fantastic and I eat at several of them regularly. But we don’t need any more.

On the topic of culinary competition, it seems the nation in general was torn asunder the last couple days over the fact that Popeye’s started marketing and selling a chicken sandwich which meant (to a lot of people) that they were in direct competition with the Chick-Fil-A chicken sandwich.

Once again, social media erupted. There were comments and memes and videos about one versus the other. You were either on side or the other. How did we come to this? No one said you could only spend your money at one of those places. Why is it a competition? We can enjoy both. I know I will.

In conclusion I would like to say that it’s OK if you love Chicken Salad Chick. And it’s OK if you love Duffy’s Deli. And it’s absolutely OK if you love both. And you know what? It’s also OK if you don’t like either of ‘em. As my granny would say “It takes all kinds.”

Well I’m glad we had this talk and I think we can all move on from this and put this ugly debacle behind us. Please let this stay in the family. We don’t want Bartow and Polk and Chattooga to find out we’ve been arguing like this. It’s unseemly. We’re better than that.

Severo Avila is features editor for the Rome News-Tribune

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