The lure of free fried chicken* (*many restrictions apply) proved to be too strong to ignore for hardcore Jollibee fans this weekend, many of whom queued up on Friday night for the chain's first Manhattan outpost's grand opening at 8 a.m. on Saturday. The Philippines-based fast food joint is Anthony Bourdain-approved, and has a pretty dedicated fanbase.

First on line was Justin Callen and Faye Javie, who grabbed their spot at noon on Friday, some 20 hours before the doors opened. By 9:30 on Friday night there were around 25 people in place, chairs unfolded, umbrellas at the ready, Port Authority bathrooms staked out, phones being charged at a handy outlet on the wall outside the restaurant. Customer number 41, who juuuuuust missed out on the free chicken offer, arrived at 2:30 a.m. He blamed the subway for showing up late, saying “the MTA is terrible on the weekends”.

However, the miserable weather did ensure that even "stragglers" who got there at 7 a.m. on Saturday morning still easily qualified for a free Jollibee plush toy, of which there were 300. And some overnighters were most excited about the free Funko Pop! Jollibee collectible figure, given to any customer who dressed as a bee (while supplies lasted).

About that free chicken prize: in celebration of the company's 40th year in business, the first 40 customers received certificates for one free 6-piece Chickenjoy bucket (regular price $12.99), redeemable once a month for a year, but only if they spent $20 on their initial order on Saturday morning. So not only did you have to spend the night out in the rain, you also had to shell out some cash when you were finally let inside.

Anyway, there was a raucous ribbon cutting promptly at 8 a.m., complete with confetti gun, a giant dancing Jollibee, and an army of smiling counter workers ready to take orders. Playing loudly on repeat throughout the morning was the chain's inane jingle, "I'm your friend, I'm Jolliebee! Jolly friendly Jollibee!"

As far as the actual food goes, the fried Chickenjoy was very good, with crisp, falling-off skin and juicy meat (though I wasn't a fan of their signature dipping gravy); the Chicken Sandwich felt more generic; and the Jolly Spaghetti with hotdogs was much too sweet for my taste. I didn't get to try the Halo Halo Sundae, but it looked festive (and Bourdain loved these—see below video).

Of course, the nostalgia factor runs high at places like this, and for anyone who grew up with Jollibee (which launched in the 1970s; there are 1,300 stores around the world today), the familiar flavors and atmosphere will be enough of draw. And don't forget, there's one in Queens, too.

Jolliebee is now open at 609 Eighth Avenue between 40th and 39th Streets.