Raising Cane's (multiple locations) www.raisingcanes.com
We had never darkened the door at a Raising Cane's until the new Greenville Avenue location opened, tempting us with its promise of "chicken fingers" on the sign. After all, we're married to a College Station girl, and in College Station -- a town built on chicken fingers -- most people see Raising Cane's as a direct ripoff of Layne's, the beloved mom-and-pop chicken finger joint that's cured hangovers since 1994. They take their chicken fingers seriously down there, which seems a little weird until you realize it's a town full of Aggies.
The first Raising Cane's opened in 1994 near the LSU campus in Baton Rouge, but unlike Layne's, they've since expanded operations to 15 states. It's a fairly impressive feat for a place with such a limited menu. Raising Cane's offers even fewer options than Chick-Fil-A -- there are no grilled chicken sandwiches, nuggets or wraps here, only chicken fingers in denominations of three, four, six, 25, 50, 75 or 100.
Luckily, the chicken strips are pretty good -- not incredible or anything, but definitely better than any other fast food offering save for Chick-Fil-A. What really makes them is the sauce, however -- a tangy, peppery blend of ketchup and mayo that's so popular you can even buy it in 32-ounce vats for tailgating (though it would be nice if they had other options... like gravy. We love gravy.) The crinkle cut fries are similarly delicious, but the real piece de resistance is the thick, garlic buttered piece of Texas Toast that comes with every meal -- it bests every other fast food bread we've ever had by a mile.
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They don't serve beer, which is a bummer, but they try to make up for it with delicious sweet tea and the fact that your drunk ass can purchase 100 chicken strips from them at two in the morning, so there's that. Obviously, we'll be back often. Unless we're in College Station, in which case we're sticking with Layne's, mostly out of fear for our own personal safety -- those Aggies are crazy, you know?