Southern comfort is coming to East Lansing

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In the life of a college student who struggles through studying for important exams, turning in assignments on time, pleasing professors to getting by on the broke college student budget – there are little things better in life than deep fried fast food. For southern students and chicken connoisseurs alike the new restaurant that’s about to arrive on Grand River and M.A.C. Avenue is about to shake up the city and give out-of-state residents a taste of home.

Raising Cane’s, a Louisiana based restaurant company, announced in mid-February that its first Michigan location would be in East Lansing. The chain has more than 500 locations across America, however it has not stepped farther into the Midwest and nort-east parts of the country. So why Grand River over anywhere else in Michigan? That’s the question on every Spartan’s mind upon learning that the king of chicken strips is coming to town.

Human Resources freshman Victoria Locricchio, an out-of-state student who is originally from Florida, said there’s no better place in MIchigan to start a store than at the capital and with some out-of-state students, this isn’t just food – it’s comfort.

“Coming from the South and being brought up here there are definitely a lot of things I miss, obviously we have McDonalds and Chick-fil-A and Burger King, but (East Lansing) doesn’t have a few of my favorite places to be honest.” Locricchio said. “So, since I have had (Cane’s) once or twice, I think it would be really nice to see it up here again and I think it would be very comforting.”

For many residents of Lansing who just want a bite to eat after work or a treat after classes no matter the age or place in life, chicken tenders will always be a comfort just a few streets over from the Northern Campus.

Marketing senior Lucinda Krieger is from South bend, Indiana and is studying at the Broad college.

“I mean, it’s really exciting to have something at home also here on campus. It definitely feels a bit more easy through that transition – a lot easier to have foods that you have back home,” Krieger said, “Yeah. Overall I can say I’m excited.”

While not having much on their menu, Raising Cane’s keeps it simple with homely southern options. Golden chicken fingers, crispy french fries, crunchy Texas toast, refreshing coleslaw and a dubious coveted special sauce, it doesn’t take much to get it right.

Marketing junior Gabe Dillon, a Michigan native, said, “I am excited to try it. I did hear about their sauce and apparently it’s pretty good,” Dillon said, “I’m probably more likely to go to Canes’ because of the location because – it’s pretty close to campus.”

Chick-fil-A in Okemos offers a similar menu as a chicken centered chain, yet college students and residents may take a second look at Cane’s for their policy behind the chicken.

“I don’t like Chick-fil-A due to their underlying values and beliefs that they fund to,(politically)” Krieger said, “But I don’t really know who Raising Cane’s backs or funds to but I haven’t heard anything negative. So I am more likely to choose them than Chick-fil-A.”

Chik-fil-A’s owner is a big GOP donor, who has in the past backed conservative leaning candidates in past elections throughout the decade as well as pushing the agenda of LGBTQ+ discrimination. On a far different end of the political spectrum, Raising Cane’s supports LGBTQ+ rights and its owner had backed the GOP and Biden during the 2020 election cycle, donating to local food banks and other organizations to provide food to those who need it most.

Raising Cane’s is now recruiting and hiring kitchen staff and managers to share its one love for southern staples in the area and has been announced to open in late 2022, according to the company. Whether you’re a Michigan native who just has a thing for greasy goodness or from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Cane’s may be East Lansing’s newest hot spot.