Raising Cane’s grand opening excites local ‘Caniacs’

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Justin Thompson

BY JAKE PURDY (’17), ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY ELIJAH SMITH (’18) AND SAM DUNHAM (’17), INFOGRAPHIC BY JUSTIN THOMPSON (’17)

Chicken finger emporium Raising Cane’s opened in Heath on February 8th and it was the most talked about event in Licking County. It drew people from Lakewood, Newark, Heath, Licking Valley and Granville, just to name a few.

Although it is such a big hit now, early on it was not perceived as a good idea. Founder Todd Graves created the business plan at the University of Georgia and received the lowest grade in the class. His professor said “a restaurant serving only chicken fingers could never work,” according to the company’s website.

The name Raising Cane’s comes from Grave’s dog that he had when he first opened the restaurant. He met with dozens of bankers who would did not give him a loan because they too thought that a restaurant serving only chicken fingers could not work. Graves resorted to raising the money himself as a salmon fisherman in Alaska.

Raising Cane the dog died in 2016 at age 16 but his legacy will live on as their founder adopted a new dog and named him Raising Cane II.

Before there was a Cane’s in Heath, the closest location was 20 miles away from Granville in Pickerington. It was very common for people to make “Cane’s runs” often, usually carpooling with friends to get the coveted Caniac.

The grand opening of Canes lived up to the hype. Hungry Caniacs crowded the parking lot with several policemen directing two different drive-through lines. The unseasoned employees handled the madness of the line that wrapped all the way around the building and out the door into the freezing February weather. The workers did not miss a beat on their first day, as the service was great even though it was slow. It took customers upwards of 40 minutes to get their food.

Junior Nate Miller is a devoted fan who has been waiting patiently for the new location to open. Miller was pleased with the food as well as the service.

“The food was really good and was worth the wait,” said Miller. “I appreciated the traffic officers holding down the fort.”

Senior Hope Cecrle was part of the drive-through rush. The catchy jingle that the staff uses to greet patrons impressed Cecrle.

“I love when they say ‘Hot chicken, Hot Chicken, what combo you pickin’.'”

Meat eaters weren’t the only satisfied customers, vegetarians were able to find their niche amid the poultry frenzy.

“I’m a vegetarian and I went just for the bread and fries which are both very good,” said junior Rebecca Hirsh.

Canes is already supporting local teams with football helmets and jerseys on display from Granville, Newark and Heath.

When a new restaurant opens in Heath or Newark, the hype is immense.This year when the new Kroger opened people talked about it like they had never seen a Kroger before and lines were out the door. However, the hungry crowds surrounding the restaurant on opening day put other opening day crowds to shame. After witnessing the circus that was Raising Cane’s opening day, it is safe to say that the craziness of Cane’s is real.