At a corner on the way from the interstate to our neighborhood, Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers is building a new store. Like Federal Express, Cane's was a business school project brought to life. The concept--a fast food restaurant with essentially a one-item menu--fried chicken fingers. The first Cane's opened about 10 years ago in a run down property at the edge of the Louisiana State Univesity (LSU) campus in Baton Rouge. For whatever reason--friendly staff, hot food, simple operations--Cane's has been a big hit. The franchise first expanded into buildings left from failed fast food restaurants. Then they did well enough to design and build their own buildings, the latest of which will open soon about 1.5 miles from our house.
A new feature of this store is a giant red letter LCD sign. Other stores have been content with manual sign boards, but the owner must have figured that this one in a very high traffic location deserved something special. For weeks now while the store hires staff and prepares to open, the sign has rotated among its various messages - date and time; Opening Soon; and one of the franchises two main slogans "The Sauce is Boss" (many people, my daughter included, attest to this statement and the unique quality of Cane's "secret" barbecue sauce--their other slogan is "One Love"--referring to how Cane's and their customers love their one-item menu).
Sitting at this intersection at least twice a day, I soon tired of the Cane's sign and its repetitive message. I wasn't alone. The directly neighboring restaurant, a somewhat dingy establishment called Sherwood PoBoy (po boy = sub, hoagie or grinder where you may live), changed their sign to highlight their menu and to refute Cane's assertion about its sauce. Sherwood Po Boy's feisty message - "Catfish Plate is the Boss." I've only eaten at Sherwood PoBoy once, after I discovered that the ill-named Daiquiri Cafe across the street didn't serve any food, and I wasn't too impressed, though I didn't order their touted Catfish Plate. Still, I admire their spunk and sense of humor as they fight for survival against one of the marketing giants of Baton Rouge.
Oh yeah, unless you're from Baton Rouge, you may not know the origin of the franchise's name. Raising Cane was the founder's dog. He (the dog, not the founder) has passed on, but son Raising Cane II carries on the tradition. Sherwood PoBoy is on Sherwood Forest Boulevard. Their menu features poboys, despite the new exalted status of the catfish plate.