Popular Christian fast food chain Chick-fil-A is offering a different kind of menu item for its sandwiches during the liturgical season of Lent.
For Roman Catholics, eating meat is not allowed for Ash Wednesday and Fridays during Lent, with fish being considered an acceptable substitute.
In an announcement made earlier this month describing that what it called “fin-tastic news,” Chick-fil-A, which is owned by a Southern Baptist family, said that it was bringing back its Chick-fil-A fish sandwich just in time for Lent.
Selected locations of the chicken sandwich chain began offering the dining option on Wednesday, which was the beginning of Lent, and will continue to do so until Saturday, April 20, the day before Easter.
“The fish sandwich will join the Chick-fil-A menu, along with the Deluxe Fish Sandwich and boxed 2- and 3-count fish entrees and meals, served with Waffle Potato Fries,” explained Chick-fil-A.
“The sandwiches are 370 and 430 calories, while the 2- and 3-count boxes are 190 and 280 calories, respectively.”
Chick-fil-A also created a web page to help patrons locate the restaurants which will be serving their seasonal fish sandwich.
This is not the first time that the dietary regulations of Lent have influenced a fast food menu, as McDonald’s filet-o-fish sandwich owes its existence to the fish-on-Friday rule.
In 1962, Lou Groen, owner of the first McDonald's restaurant in Cincinnati, Ohio, came up with the filet-o-fish sandwich because his neighborhood was mostly Catholic, leading to poor sales on Fridays during Lent.
McDonald's eventually adopted Groen's fish sandwich nationally over company head Ray Kroc's "Hula Burger," which consisted of a grilled pineapple instead of meat, after a selling competition that Groen's fish sandwich won.
A fast-food company founded and led by a devout Southern Baptist family, Chick-fil-A is known to close its restaurants on Sundays due to it being the Christian Sabbath.
This connection to Christian beliefs has also been a source of controversy for some, as the chain periodically receives backlash for its leadership’s views on social issues like homosexuality and same-sex marriage.
For example, Rider University of Lawrenceville, New Jersey, refused to allow a Chick-fil-A to open on its campus despite student support due to the company’s views on LGBT issues.
Cynthia Newman, a dean at the university, recently resigned from the school over the decision, stating in a two-page resignation letter that “university leadership had made such a judgmental statement about Chick-fil-A’s values.”
“I am not willing to compromise my faith and Christian values, and I will not be viewed as being in any way complicit when an affront is made to those values,” stated Newman, as reported by kcra.com.