Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers (Oak Lawn)
If you have kids, you know how important chicken fingers are. We eat a lot of chicken fingers. Frozen chicken fingers. Homemade chicken fingers. Fast food chicken fingers. Baked chicken fingers. Fried chicken fingers. Lots of chicken fingers.
If you’re in that situation, haven’t you ever wondered why no one has made a restaurant that only serves chicken fingers? If you have, you haven’t heard of Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers.
We were back in the Chicago area for J’s birthday. We typically take a long weekend around that day so she can be with her parents. She and I usually try to get in to the city for dinner, but this year we had something even better than dinner in the city. Hamilton tickets.
Tickets for Hamilton can be hard to get on weekends, but there are still some seats available on week nights. I asked J if she wanted to take a couple of vacation days and go to the show Thursday night. She did. I bought tickets.
We decided to drive to J’s parents when I got off work at Midnight on Wednesday. We prefer to wake up in Chicago rather than get up early and drive. I’m still wide awake after getting off work, so the two hour drive doesn’t bother me.
We got up on Thursday and wanted to get an early lunch. J and I were leaving to head in to the city around 4:00 because we didn’t want to take a chance with traffic. With light traffic, we’d get downtown around 5:00. With heavy traffic, it could be closer to 6:00.
I sort of slept in because I still couldn’t fall asleep when we got to J’s parents. When I rolled out of bed around 11:00, J asked if I wanted to go pick up lunch. I asked if she wanted chicken and she knew exactly what I was talking about.
Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers has been open on Cicero Avenue near 111th Street just inside the Oak Lawn city limits for about a month. This location is the second Illinois location with one in North Riverside opening before this one and one in Naperville coming soon.
Raising Cane’s is not a place most Michiganders have heard of. They’re a fairly large chain with over 300 locations but most are in the south. The chain got it’s start in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1996. The Chicago area stores are the closest to Southwest Michigan, but if you’re ever in Columbus, OH for a game, there are several locations in that Metro area.
I walked in just after 11:00 on a Thursday morning. There were a few cars in the drive thru line and a handful of people already waiting for food inside. The small menu, consisting almost entirely of chicken fingers, is on a couple of boards hanging over the order counter. The only real decisions are how many do you want and do you want it as a meal.
There were six of us at J’s parents house, but instead of ordering a meal for everyone, we decided to get two of the Carniac Combos. This option comes with six chicken fingers, Texas toast, fries, a drink, and Cane’s Sauce. The two meals set me back a little over $21. I was given my receipt and a couple of large drink cups to fill up while I waited for my food to come up.
I went to the pop machine to grab a Coke for myself, but like all good Southern restaurants, Raising Cane’s has their own line of Sweet Tea. That’s what J wanted, so I filled her cup with ice and tea before heading into the dining room to wait for my name to be called.
The dining room is pretty typical fast food dining room. It’s a new building so everything is clean and polished. There are the standard tables and booths in a dining room that depends a lot on natural light during the day. The decor incorporates Chicago sports teams on to the bare brick walls and a clean look that looks more like a sports bar than a fast food place.
One signature of the Raising Cane’s restaurants is the logo painted on the brick wall. This started with the original store in Louisana when they found the logo of a previous tenant on the wall when they were renovating. They decided to incorporate it into the design and it’s now something they use in all of their new construction as well.
It took about ten minutes for my name to be called. I grabbed the bag which contained two large Styrofoam boxes then headed home to hungry people who were waiting for the food.
Each of the boxes come self contained with the chicken, toast, fries, and slaw. I pretty much polished off one of the boxes by myself while J and the kids shared the other one.
I started in on the chicken. This chicken is incredibly delicious for fast food chicken. It has the typical crispy breading, but the chicken inside is very tender and juicy. I was a little disappointed in the size of each piece of chicken though. They’re pretty stubby fingers…meaning they’re not very big. Each piece of chicken took me about two bites to finish off.
I went towards the fries after picking off a few pieces of chicken. These were really nothing special. They were crinkle cut fast food fries that were nice and crispy, but that’s about it.
The Texas Toast was kind of the surprise of the meal. Again, it was a pretty small piece of toast, but it packed a lot of flavor. The bread is grilled fresh and brushed with garlic and butter. I would have liked a couple more of these, but J wouldn’t share hers with me. She liked it too.
The last two things in the box were the cole slaw and the Cane’s Sauce. I didn’t really have any interest in either. I just don’t like slaw. Nothing to do with this one in particular. I didn’t even try it.
The Cane’s Sauce, again, is something I just didn’t have a lot of interest in. I don’t use a lot of sauces. The chicken was so good on it’s own I didn’t really see the need to dip it in anything. J was a big fan though. If you’re familiar with Fry Sauce, that’s essentially what Cane’s Sauce is. It’s a mayo and ketchup mix with spices. I took a taste with a fry just to see and it’s about what I expected. If you like sauces, chances are you’ll love this one. I’m just not a sauce person.
I really liked Raising Cane’s. I wish the chicken pieces were bigger, but the food itself all tasty much better than typical fast food. The chicken is much more chicken place than fast food place that serves chicken strips. It has that big, flaky breading, but there’s a good ratio of breading to chicken. The pieces are big, meaty pieces so you get a good mix of crunchy and juicy, delicious meat in every bite.