The seduction of Raising Cane's begins at the drive-thru when the car window rolls up, hot boxing the scent of what's to come. I like to hold off until I get home, prolong the pleasure if you will, and once I make it through the front door, attack everything inside that little Styrofoam box. Passionate about serving fresh, never frozen, chicken fingers, Raising Cane's decided to create a National Chicken Finger Day.
And that day is today.
To celebrate, the popular franchise will gift all members of the Caniac Club with an extra finger. On top of that, again, today only, Caniacs can apply online to win a trip to the National Fried Chicken Festival. This magical weekend, also founded and sponsored by the company, takes place September 22nd through the 23rd in New Orleans, LA.
Becoming a Caniac is a lot like becoming a werewolf, one bite is all it takes (also, you need sign up online.)
The franchise has fanatics far and wide, with 385 restaurants in 24 states and countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia.) Raising Cane's was founded in 1996 in Baton Rouge, LA by Todd Graves. He named it after his yellow Labrador, Raising Cane. Thanks to their fresh philosophy and whatever the hell they put in the Cane's sauce, the rapidly growing company was even awarded "Top 3 quick service restaurant chains" in the nation last year.
The menu is simple; it begins and ends with chicken fingers. And for the record they're fingers, not tenders. There's a difference. The Caniac Combo has exceptional value, it includes just about everything on the menu, Coleslaw, Texas Toast, Crinkle-Cut Fries, Cane's sauce and your choice of a drink. That will run you around $12. (You're going to need extra sauce.)
Let's break down the beauty of a hot meal from Cane's. First and foremost; the finger. If you tear one in half immediately after receiving, a little poof of steam releases. The meat is perfectly tender and the crisp, flavored breading begs to be dipped into Cane's sauce, a lightly spiced and slightly Cajun-y loose mayonnaise. Show of hands how many people automatically order extra sauce. That's kind of what I thought.
"[Cane's is] probably the most consistent relationship in my life." -Jeff Fernandez, head chef, BCK: Kitchen & Cocktail Adventures
The Texas Toast is special too, buttery and toasted just like a lobster roll. Finished off with Crinkle-Cut fries and that new convenient little Heinz ketchup packet? Game over.
Raising Cane's is even open late on the weekends (till 3:30 a.m.) Take that, everyone else. Oh okay, Whataburger, you're cool too.
The Houston Press decided to reach out to a few more people, because in the words of LeVar Burton, host of the Reading Rainbow, you don't have to take my word for it...
"The chicken is always hot and fresh. Crinkle-cut fries and Texas Toast along with the sauce makes for a great meal; they also have incredible cubed ice." -David McLean, also a writer
"So saucy. Perfectly crisp chicken with juicy tender white meat. I think they should hire me to market their products." -Austin Waiter, executive chef, Tony's restaurant
"Do I know Raising Cane's? I enjoyed Raising Cane's in Baton Rouge before they came to the great state of Texas. They need to be open later than 3:30 though, that's for sure." - Brian Brossa, owner, Enoteca Rossa
"I like a little chicken with my Cane's sauce. And if you're not crazy about the coleslaw, you can sub it with an extra toast. That toast is bomb af." - Kylie Spence, bartender
"I went through their drive-thru and had Dex in the back with the window rolled down and they gave her a treat." - Jordan Villarreal, neighbor
"Last year, we attempted to get chicken nuggets from Chick-fil-A for a New Year's Eve party, a staple for soaking up alcohol-fueled revelry. But, it was a Sunday and they were closed. We opted for two massive containers of chicken fingers from Cane's. I ate half of them on the way home. So far, 2018 has been a winner. I credit Cane's." - Jeff Balke, Houston Press contributor
"It's amazing to me that a fast food place can excel at just one thing in a field where the more is the merrier. Raising Cane's (+ Cane's sauce) really finds just that one thing you're craving and hits it over and over again." - Justin Yu, chef-owner, Theodore Rex, Better Luck Tomorrow, Public Services Wine & Whisky
"I probably ate them enough in college to get a sponsorship deal." - Carlos Brandon, Houston Press contributor
"We need to find you a real job. Get back in a kitchen. You're a sinking boat right now." - Kevin Naderi, chef-owner, Roost
"To me, Raising Cane's is a once-a-year thing when I'm craving that Texas toast and cavity-inducing sweet tea. I like how their breading on the chicken is different than other fast food restaurants." - Patrick Feges, chef-owner, Feges BBQ
"...And I like the crinkle fries!" -Erin Smith, chef-owner, Feges BBQ
"The chicken fingers at Raising Cane's are great. It's just simple, well executed comfort food. A lot of chicken places over complicate fried chicken, but it doesn't need to be that way-simplicity wins." -Kevin Kobayashi, executive sous chef, Ramen Tatsu-Ya
"I like it because it smells like college football." -Ben Tucker, David's friend
"I f*cking love Cane's. They do one thing, and it's perfect. It's hot, and fresh, crispy, tender, juicy chicken. It's consistent as hell. I've never had a bad experience. I go at least two or three times a month... it's probably the most consistent relationship in my life." -Jeff Fernandez, head chef, BCK: Kitchen & Cocktail Adventures