Fans line up for opening of Buffalo Wild Wings in Bellingham

Spending a cold night on concrete did not deter several people from getting free chicken wings for a year.

More than 100 people were in line at the opening of Buffalo Wild Wings at Bellis Fair on Monday morning, Oct. 27, with several people setting up tents and sleeping bags to make sure they were among the first 100. Each recipient of the promotion received a coupon book with 52 vouchers for snack-size chicken wings, one order for every week of the year. Each snack-size item has about six wings.

Bellingham resident Brian Beaudry likened it to urban camping, saying it wasn’t so bad once you rolled out the sleeping pads, adding that it was fun to hang out with people while waiting for the opening. Temperatures in Bellingham dipped below 40 degrees in the early-morning hours.

For some it was still a tough place to sleep, although the heavy rains earlier Sunday had stopped by the time people started standing in line. Kendall Haner, a freshman at Western Washington University, said they were able to stay occupied by reading and playing games.

It also helped when employees at Buffalo Wild Wings brought out free food, said Mary Richards, a WWU freshman.

“When you’re a poor college student, you try to get all the free food you can,” Richards said with a laugh when asked why she was in line.

While the free chicken wings were an enticement for those in line, many said they were also fans of the restaurant, which is known for its sports theme, casual atmosphere and regular giveaways.

“It was great when I first heard they were coming (to Bellingham),” said Lynden resident Ben Diacogiannis, who was third in line. When he heard about the free wings, though, “Of course I knew I would stand in line for it.”

Even so, Bellis Fair General Manager René Morris wasn’t sure what to expect. She was used to seeing late-night lines during Black Friday, but didn’t know how people would react to a restaurant opening. When she pulled up this morning, she was surprised to see so many in line, she said.

The Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant will be open 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to midnight Sunday.

Chipotle is next up in the mall’s former movie theater space; it is scheduled to open Thursday, Nov. 13. The third tenant in that area, Designer Shoe Warehouse, is planning to open in April 2015.