Two more national and regional restaurant chains — Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers and Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar — are getting closer to making their debuts in Colorado Springs.

Raising Cane’s has scheduled a May 29 opening for its first Springs restaurant, which is under construction on the southeast corner of Academy Boulevard and Agora Point in northern Colorado Springs. The site, where a now-demolished Elephant Bar once stood, also is home to a multitenant retail building where Snooze an A.M. Eatery opened Wednesday.

The Raising Cane’s building — about 3,100 square feet with a 300-square-foot patio — and drive-thru appear to have been completed. Work crews this week were moving dirt for a parking area in front of the restaurant.

As it prepares for its opening next month, Raising Cane’s plans to hire 90 employees to staff its restaurant, which will be its seventh in Colorado. Raising Cane’s encourages job seekers to apply online at RaisingCanesJobs.com.

Interviews are being scheduled through May 20 at the Homewood Suites hotel, 9130 Explorer Drive. Walk-ins are welcome, but the restaurant asks that job seekers apply online.

Raising Cane’s hasn’t confirmed it will build a second restaurant in Colorado Springs. But documents submitted last year to city officials show Raising Cane’s also plans a location in the Powers Pointe shopping center, southwest of Powers Boulevard and Barnes Road.

The fast-casual Raising Cane’s, founded in 1996, has more than 430 locations in 27 states and a handful of Middle Eastern countries.

Across the street from Raising Cane’s, California-based Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar has launched work on its building, which is going up at 7605 N. Academy, on the south end of the Chapel Hills retail center anchored by Best Buy and Whole Foods.

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California-based Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar is building one of its restaurants in a Whole Foods-anchored shopping center at 7605 N. Academy Blvd., on the site of the now demolished My Big Fat Greek Restaurant. Lazy Dog expects to open in late fall. RICH LADEN, THE GAZETTE

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Lazy Dog has razed a building that once housed the My Big Fat Greek Restaurant; it’s constructing a nearly 8,500-square-foot restaurant with a 1,929-square-foot patio, according to the latest plans Lazy Dog has submitted to city officials.

Lazy Dog is targeting a late fall opening, said founder and CEO Chris Simms. It will hire 200 people starting in late summer, he said.

The chain, founded in 2003, is based in Huntington Beach, Calif., and has 30 restaurants in six states, including Aurora and Westminster, its website shows. It’s done well with its Denver-area locations, and Colorado Springs was a natural extension for the chain, Simms said.

“Just seeing the shared passions that we’ve found with Denver really got us excited about coming down to Colorado Springs,” he said. “People really appreciate the quality of the food and the warmth of the hospitality.”

The casual dining, sit-down restaurant has an expansive menu that features pizzas, burgers, sandwiches, ribs, steaks, seafood, salads and soups — all designed to appeal to millennials and baby boomers, Simms said.

“The goal that I had for the menu was to have this base of comfort food so that anybody can find something that they recognize and then to make that comfort food memorable,” he said. Dishes are made from scratch daily, with layers of “texture and flavor that really kind of stick in somebody’s mind,” Simms said.

Lazy Dog also is designed with a ski lodge-like decor, and will feature fireplaces and a chandelier, among other amenities. Diners can bring their dogs to the restaurant’s patio, although the animals aren’t allowed inside. Dogs get their own menu, which includes hamburger and chicken.

The location on the Springs’ fast-growing north side was appealing, as was the location in a shopping center near Whole Foods, Simms said.

“Whole Foods is a great retailer that we do really well next to,” he said. “We share some of the same type of guests — people who care about what they put into their bodies.”

Business writer, Colorado Springs Gazette

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