Beloved fast food chain Raising Cane’s opened the doors to their University City location on May 12, and has been met with lines out the door each morning since its opening.
Located steps away from campus at 39th and Walnut streets, the Louisiana-based chicken finger restaurant opened after months of anticipation from the Penn community, with a line wrapping around the block on its inaugural day. The University City location is the first of 14 new locations that Raising Cane’s will be opening in Pennsylvania.
Raising Cane’s was strategic about getting the word out about their arrival to Penn’s campus. According to Wharton senior Derek Nhieu, a Raising Cane’s food truck made multiple visits to campus preceding the grand opening, building a palpable excitement that spread throughout the community.
The grand opening featured a raffle for free food for a year, as well as a high school cheer team performance.
Nhieu, who has eaten at the Raising Cane’s location four times since its grand opening, is a fan of the restaurant chain. Coming from the South, Nhieu found it hard to find food in Philadelphia that reminded him of home. Meals at Raising Cane’s finally satisfied his cravings, he told The Daily Pennsylvanian.
According to Raising Cane’s restaurant leader Cody Mixon, what makes the restaurant so appealing is the culture it fosters with their employees and the community.
“We're very big on culture. We're very big on active community involvement, giving back to the community,” Mixon said. “That's what sets us apart. I know that we just serve, quote unquote, chicken finger meals. But they're the best chicken finger meals ever and it's because of the love that we put behind what we do.”
To mark the University City location opening, Mixon said the restaurant made a $2500 donation to the Ronald McDonald House, a nonprofit organization that provides support and housing to families with seriously ill children seeking medical care.
Raising Cane’s has six options to their menu, all featuring their signature chicken fingers. A popular choice is the Caniac Combo, which includes six pieces of chicken with a side of fries, coleslaw, bread, and a fountain drink. Combos range from 6 to 15 dollars.
Despite many restaurants facing hiring challenges, Raising Cane’s is doing well on that front, according to Mixon. The new location received significant interest and a sufficient amount of job applications.
College sophomore Valeria Bonomie, a self-described “caniac," used to eat at Raising Cane’s in her hometown of San Diego, driving 30 minutes to the restaurant with friends. While she has not yet had a chance to eat at the new University City location, Bonomie is excited to make her first visit in the fall.
“Cane’s just reminds me of home and so many good times with my friends back home. I'm super excited to have more good times with my friends at Penn and I think that Cane's is definitely gonna become a staple on campus,” Bonomie said. “I think everyone that hasn't gotten the luck to experience it yet is going to be really happy about it.”