Raising Cane's

Raising Cane’s, a popular Louisiana-based restaurant chain famous for its chicken fingers, plans to open its first Colorado Springs location in a new retail center on North Academy Boulevard. The chain has three locations in the Denver area and one in Castle Rock and Fort Collins.

Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers is raising expectations in Colorado Springs.

The Louisiana-based restaurant, popular among “caniacs” for its marinated and breaded chicken fingers, plans to open its first Springs restaurant on the city’s north side, the latest national or regional restaurant chain to expand to the Pikes Peak region.

Raising Cane’s would open in a new retail center being developed on the southeast corner of North Academy Boulevard and Agora Point on the site of an old Elephant Bar restaurant, according to documents filed with the city’s Land Use Review Division. Elephant Bar closed in 2016 and its building has been torn down.

Raising Cane’s would occupy a standalone, 3,067-square-foot building with a drive-thru and a 300-square-foot patio on the roughly 2-acre site, the documents show. The retail center also will include an 8,411-square-foot multitenant building.

Restaurant officials declined to comment about a Colorado Springs location, although they released a statement suggesting that their plans might not be final. In any case, it’s unknown when the Springs restaurant would open, how many it would employ and whether additional locations would be planned.

“Raising Cane’s is continuously evaluating opportunities to grow restaurants all over the world, and especially in Colorado,” company officials said in their statement to The Gazette.

“Many factors go into our decisions, and ever-changing market conditions can affect planned locations and launch dates. We will make a public announcement if and when an official expansion decision has been made.”

Documents filed with city planners were submitted on behalf of Confluent Development, a Denver real estate company that will build the retail center where Raising Cane’s will locate. Confluent officials didn’t return calls Friday.

Raising Cane’s has more than 380 locations, most of which are in 24 states and the rest in five Middle Eastern countries. It has five restaurants in Colorado — in Castle Rock, Centennial, Highlands Ranch, Fort Collins and Parker, according to its website.

The chain opened its first restaurant in 1996. In addition to its made-to-order chicken fingers, its limited menu features fries, cole slaw, Texas toast and drinks.

“Our concept is simple and unique,” Raising Cane’s says on its website. “We only have ONE LOVE — quality chicken finger meals.”

Raising Cane’s would join a raft of other restaurants that have opened or said they plan to open in Colorado Springs. Several have pointed to the Springs’ growing population and healthy economy as reasons for expanding to the Pikes Peak region, while others have established their brands in Denver and now are looking to leverage the distribution, production and marketing networks they’ve put in place.

Among other restaurants and bars who’ve announced they’re coming or have submitted plans showing they’re expanding to the Springs: In-N-Out Burger, Chuy’s, Hop Jack’s, Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar, Anthony’s Pizza, Atomic Cowboy, Fat Sully’s Pizza and the Denver Biscuit Co. Chains that have already arrived include Oskar Blues, Hungry Howie’s, Billy Sims Barbecue, the Brass Tap and Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar.

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