The owners of the outlots at the Costco development in the 2500 block of Harlem Avenue didn’t have to wait long to find another restaurant chain to fill the void created when Famous Dave’s decided to pull the plug on its expansion plans there last summer.
Instead, the final vacant outlot along Harlem Avenue in front of Costco will be the new home of a Louisiana-based fast-foot chain — Raising Cane’s.
“It’s 99.9-percent a go,” said Karyn Byrne, code enforcement officer for the village of North Riverside, who said the company is finalizing its lease with the property owners, Pinecrest Associates.
Village officials have met with Raising Cane’s engineer and architect and have been corresponding with a project management team for the new restaurant, according to Byrne.
“They’re looking to be open by October,” Byrne said.
Raising Cane’s — which sells only one main item, fried chicken fingers — has about 250 restaurants nationwide, principally in the south and southwest. The North Riverside location will be one of the first two Raising Cane’s restaurants (the other is slated for Oak Lawn) to open in Illinois.
According to a site plan provided to the village by Raising Cane’s officials, the North Riverside property will be home to a 3,575-square foot brick-and-stucco restaurant with a drive-thru and a 45-space parking lot.
Raising Cane’s was founded in 1996 by Todd Graves, who says that the idea for the restaurant grew out of a college business class assignment. Graves reportedly pitched a fast-food restaurant menu revolving around one item, chicken fingers.
Graves said his idea bombed with his professor and with bankers he later tried to obtain loans from. So, he raised the startup money himself and launched the first restaurant just outside Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, where the privately held company is still headquartered. The restaurant is named after Graves’ dog.
Chicken fingers are also still the only main food item on the menu. They are offered with four sides — coleslaw, Texas toast, fries and a dipping sauce.