By Jim and Marilyn Tortolano
America may not lead the world in math scores or futbol, but we’re tops at inventing new fast food ideas. One of the latest examples of this is Raising Cane’s, a chicken finger fast food eatery.
Chow Lines’ attention is called to this because one of this growing chain will be coming to the Village Center on Beach Boulevard, a mall straddling Stanton and Garden Grove.
The story behind the restaurant is almost as delicious as the food itself. The chain is named after founder Todd Graves’s dog – Raising Cain – and images of the noble yellow lab are all over the clean and bright dining area of the store we visited in Orange, on Tustin Avenue.
Todd Graves, who lists his job as CEO, Fry Cook and Cashier, came up with the idea for a chicken finger restaurant, which was ridiculed by his college business professor. Nevertheless, he persisted. He raised the money – in part – by working up to 90 hours a week at non-chicken jobs. When it came time to build his first joint, he did much of the physical labor himself, with Raising Cane keeping him company.
The chain opened in 1996 in Louisiana and it is now nationwide. Stanton-Garden Grove chicken fans will be happy to see it reach us, because this is pretty darn good fast food.
Of course, the menu here is somewhat limited. Chicken fingers – big ones! – along with sides such as fries, cole slaw and Texas toast – a thick soft bread piece with butter and a hint of garlic – as well as with a wide assortment of sodas, sweet tea and other soft drinks.
However, the chicken is top-notch and delish. The batter is not hard and gum-scratching; it’s tasty and just soft enough. The chicken itself is tender, fresh and juicy. It is a full step above the stuff from Chick-Fil-A.
On top of that, the décor of the dining room is colorful and homey, with football helmets and yearbooks honoring the local high schools such as Orange, El Modena and Orange Lutheran (hint, hint to Kaye’s Kitchen and SteelCraft, et al). This outlet had a busy drive-through lane that testified to the popularity of the food.
It will be a while before we get our own Raising Cane’s, but it tastes like it will be worth the wait. Good dog!
Chow Lines takes a look at eateries in the West Orange County area, both those already operating and those on the way. Have a suggestion for where we should go for another column? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Categories: Arts & Leisure