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Crews demolish former Pizza Hut building in Willmar to make way for Slim Chickens restaurant coming in 2023

Slim Chickens, a restaurant described as something between Chick-fil-A and Raising Canes, is slated to open next year at 1605 First St. S. in Willmar. It will be the third Slim Chickens in Minnesota.

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A worker with Landwehr Construction Inc., of St. Cloud, works to demolish the old Pizza Hut structure along First Street South in the parking lot of Uptown Willmar on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022.
Macy Moore / West Central Tribune
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WILLMAR — The old Pizza Hut building is being torn down to make way for a new drive-thru restaurant — Slim Chickens — set to open about mid-2023.

Slim Chickens, which will be located at 1605 First St. S. in Willmar, will have seating for up to 70 people, but 60 to 65% of its business is typically drive-thru, according to owner Steve Letnes.

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Debris is all that remains of the old Pizza Hut establishment in the Uptown Willmar parking lot after Landwehr Construction Inc., of St. Cloud, demolished the old building on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022.
Macy Moore / West Central Tribune

The Willmar Planning Commission approved site plans for the new restaurant at its Oct. 5 meeting.

Slim Chickens originated in Arkansas in 2003 and there are currently about 200 nationwide, according to Letnes.

He is currently developing 13 Slim Chickens, mostly in Minnesota. The Willmar location will be the third Slim Chickens to be built in Minnesota, with one currently open in Mankato and another being constructed in St. Cloud.

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There are three Slim Chickens in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, one in Fargo, North Dakota, and one in Des Moines, Iowa, but the restaurant's core area is Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma, according to Letnes.

He described the restaurant as something between Chick-fil-A and Raising Canes.

Construction this fall will consist of setting the footings for the new building and installing underground utilities.

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A worker uses a fire hose to spray down debris as workers from Landwehr Construction Inc. demolish the old Pizza Hut in the parking lot of Uptown Willmar on Thursday, Nov. 15, 2022.
Macy Moore / West Central Tribune
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Jennifer Kotila is a reporter for West Central Tribune of Willmar, Minnesota. She focuses on local government, specifically the City of Willmar, and business.

She can be reached via email at: jkotila@wctrib.com or phone at 320-214-4339.
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