LYNN —Bobbi Merryman awoke at 5 a.m. Friday morning, but not for school.
The 6-year-old has been awaiting the opening of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen on Boston Street.
“We saw the countdown until they open sign every time we drove by and she kept track,” said her mother, Christy Merryman. “We thought it would be fun to be at the opening.”
The Merrymans, including Rowan, 8, were among the more than three dozen customers who were waiting in line for the 10:30 a.m. opening as a dozen cars waited in the drive-thru.
Patrick Smith and Robert Karakaedos, Lynn crossing guards, joined the line at the eatery, eager to get their hands on the hand-battered chicken marinated in Louisiana seasoning that’s served with Cajun fries, corn on the cob, mac and cheese or jambalaya.
Smith recalls when there was a Popeyes on State Street and the Lynnway three decades ago.
“I like the food,” he said. “I go to the one in Medford and now there’s one closer to home. I usually get the three-piece chicken dinner.”
Harry Megie was there too. But before he got inside the 26,414-square-foot eatery across from Stop & Shop, he complained about the prices.
“They’re charging $4.99 for chicken wings,” he said. “That’s outrageous.”
When asked why he was waiting in line for what he considered overpriced food, Megie said he thought it would be free on opening day.
“Maybe they’re giving away the food today” he said.
That was not be, so Megie reached into his pocket to pay for the wings.
Eugene Stanko, a retiree who was reluctant to join the line, said Boston Street is the place in Lynn if you want a meal.
“Boston Street is a foodie’s paradise,” he said.
The restaurant was expected to open earlier this fall, but it turned out they needed a new electrical transformer and a new light pole. The job was delayed because National Grid diverted its construction crews to Florida in the wake of Hurricane Irma.
Howard Hymowitz, the company’s director of operations, said all the permits are in place and he wasn’t surprised at the crowd.
“Everyone has been looking forward to the opening and so have we,” he said. “We are ready to rock and roll. We chose Lynn because we are constantly looking for great locations and people who meet our demographic.”
As for Bobbi Merryman, she had just one thing on her mind.
“I want the biscuit,” she said. “I’ve waited a long time for one.”