Members of the campus community desiring hand-battered, fried chicken tenders and Texas toast within walking distance will have to temporarily curb those cravings.
Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers, the off-campus fast-food restaurant situated at 1816 N. High St. closed its doors Tuesday in preparation for its move a few blocks south to 10 E. 11th Ave., where Potbelly Sandwich Shop used to call home. The official grand opening in the new building is slated for Feb. 1.
Tuesday marked the end of more than an 11-year run at the restaurant’s now-former location.
“Just to see what this location is now — it is sad,” said Eric Organo, the chief financial officer of Raising Cane’s Ohio. “Each location has a special meaning, especially because this was the first in Ohio.”
Not only was it the first in Ohio, it was the first store outside of Louisiana and the first franchised Cane’s.
Organo, who began working for the company in 2013, said there is “absolutely” nostalgia associated with the restaurant relocation because of how special that particular location was in kickstarting Cane’s growth throughout Ohio. Despite that, he stressed that there is excitement surrounding the transition.
“We are happy with the new location,” Organo said. “We are thrilled to be in the (South Campus) Gateway. We wouldn’t change anything about our location.”
Part of the reason for the enthusiasm surrounding the relocation, Organo said, is the proximity to Barnes & Noble book store, as well as other off-campus eateries.
Although the now-former location has been “tremendously successful,” Organo said the organization is viewing this next chapter as a bit of a “refresh” for Cane’s.
The new store, Organo said, will keep, essentially, the same hours while class is in session. It will contain the “similar themes” to what the old location had, meaning it will keep parts of the light-hearted wall art, as well as pay homage to Ohio State.
The fact the new store will have a feel in-line with the old location was music to the ears of Alex Raabe, a fifth-year in hospitality management. Even so, the original location will always hold a special place in his heart.
“I’ve loved Cane’s since Day One,” he said Tuesday, sitting inside a booth at the old store for the final time. “It’s kind of sad, though. I’ve had a lot of ridiculous nights here.”
Raabe said he recalls swinging by the restaurant late at night with friends, only to see the line protruding out the door, onto the sidewalk.
“People are like, ‘we’re gonna stay,” he said. “Then I’d be like, ‘I’ll stay, too.’”
Students will be able line up for an early taste of the new store on Jan. 30 from 1 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Andria Morgan, the marketing manager of Raising Cane’s Ohio, said the store will be open for the campus community to preview during that time frame.
Morgan said a “street crew” will be floating around Columbus in the coming weeks distributing flyers that entitle holders to a complimentary three-finger combo.
Some have expressed concerns over how the new location is not as centrally located as the old store, but Organo downplayed those, reiterating that the company is “thrilled” to be a few blocks south.
Raabe said he lives on East 14th Avenue and often would stroll by the store, sometimes making a spur-of-the-moment decision to stop in and grab food. With Cane’s no longer being so close to his house, he will go without it “maybe once or twice a month,” he said. But, all things considered, Raabe said he thinks the move will be a positive one.
“There were some good times here. It will be missed,” he said, as he finished off his last couple Cane’s french fries for a few weeks. “But I don’t think Cane’s is taking a hit. They’ll have a nice, refreshing building. I’m looking forward to the new location.”