Raising Cane’s Fresno first location opened its doors to excited crowds and long lines of cars. They are located on the southwest corner of Blackstone and El Paso across from Riverpark Shopping Center this week.
While I normally prefer to support local restaurants, curiosity does get this cat when it comes to a popular chain debuting in our area. I, like most people, like to know what the hype is about.
My son is in high school now and hunting down the best fried chicken is a pseudo-passion of his. It was no surprise when he texted me from baseball practice to ask if we could get Cane’s for dinner. I happily replied “yes” – you know, for research and blogging purposes. (Having a night off from cooking may have had something to do with it too, but that’s not what’s important here. 😉)
When we arrived in the parking lot around 6pm, there were three people from a security company directing traffic into two drive thru lines. Though there is an indoor dining area, Raising Cane’s Fresno is a fast-food, drive thru restaurant and it appears that most people go the drive thru route. It was very easy to get into the (long) lines from any parking lot entrance, thanks to the traffic direction. (Not sure if this will be an ongoing service or temporary, during opening week)
While we waited in line, a Cane’s employee offered us a printed menu so we could plan in advance. Cane’s menu is simple, as they have “one love” and that is chicken fingers. According to the back of the menu, the entire chain was founded in 1996 by a guy who LOVED chicken fingers. He wanted to create a restaurant just for chicken fingers of the highest quality.
There are essentially 4 main menu/meal options and what differentiates them is their size. The meals range from three (hearty) chicken fingers served with one sauce, crinkle fries, and a slice of buttery toast at just under $9. There is also a six finger meal with slaw, fries, toast and two sauces for just under $15. Drinks are included. There’s also a chicken sandwich option with fries and a drink, though this doesn’t seem to be the big draw. Kids meals with two chicken fingers and catering sized trays are also available. The catering sized trays of chicken go up to 100 pieces in size.
Once we’d progressed a bit further in line, an attendant took our order with a tablet. There was an option to pay right with her. Once we progressed to the front of the line near the window, employees were bustling around confirming people’s names and handing off their orders. We had ordered three meals, and from start of the line to food in hand, on a Friday night during opening week, it took us 26 minutes. Not bad at all considering the sheer volume of cars that were there for the same reason.
We ate our food at home, but everything was still piping hot when we got there. The chicken’s breading is crisp and on the lighter side – not super thick. The chicken itself is very juicy and has a good flavor. The buttery, Texas-style toast was pillowy and satisfying. The crinkle fries were fine – nothing thrilling, nothing bad, and the signature Cane’s sauce is flavorful. It’s not sweet like Chik Fil A or Campfire sauce, as I might have expected, but more of a tangy, creamy, and savory sauce. It’s a great pairing for the chicken fingers and fries for sure.
Our family enjoyed our dinner from Cane’s, and their friendly service. I would definitely eat there again, and recommend Fresnans who haven’t been yet give it a try. I’ll personally probably continue to stick to mostly local chicken restaurants and food trucks, as we have so many great ones here, and my preference leans toward a spicy chicken (which isn’t an option at Cane’s). However, Cane’s is definitely good and worth enjoying – and I give major props to the team who opened the local store and are serving with incredible efficiency and friendliness despite massive crowds. Kudos Raising Cane’s Fresno!
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