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Raising Cane’s Planning to Open Downtown State College Location

A popular national chain is planning to bring its chicken fingers and special sauce to downtown State College.

Raising Cane’s intends to open a restaurant at 228 E. College Ave., which most recently has been a leasing office for Here State College.

Founded by Todd Graves in 1996 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, near the LSU campus, Raising Cane’s has a deliberately limited menu that in addition to its chicken fingers and tangy Cane’s Sauce includes crinkle-cut fries, cole slaw, Texas toast and drinks.

Image of raising cane's cup, and dish with chicken fingers, cup of sauce, cup of cole slaw, crinkle-cut fries and Texas toast
Raising Cane’s menu includes chicken fingers, Cane’s Sauce, Texas toast, fries, cole slaw and drinks. Photo courtesy Raising Cane’s

The chain, named after Graves’ dog, now has more than 530 locations, but currently has none in Pennsylvania.

“We have locations outside of college campuses, but State College was an attractive location for us as we expanded on the East Coast because of this location’s proximity to the Penn State campus,” Adam Caracci, East Coast property development manager, said during a State College Zoning Hearing Board meeting on Tuesday.

The company is seeking a variance related to the positioning of a new accessible ramp at the entrance to the property. Because the 105-year-old building is being converted to a restaurant, Raising Cane’s must bring it into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The current ramp does not meet ADA requirements.

To be able to install the new ramp, landing and stairs without significant structural alterations to the building, the company is requesting a variance to reduce the municipal code requirement for an 18-inch setback to allow them to be placed at the property line.

Raising Cane’s application states that it meets all criteria for an exception and zoning hearing board members all appeared to be in favor of the plan. The request must first be reviewed by the board’s solicitor before a decision is rendered at the June 8 meeting.

After Tuesday’s meeting, Caracci deferred’s questions about a timeframe for opening, number of employees and length of the lease to a company spokesperson, who has not responded to a request for comment.

According to an application for a building permit, Raising Cane’s intends to perform an estimated $1.6 million in renovations to the 3,967-square-foot first story of the building, which is being leased from State College Downtown Properties.

The restaurant will have temporary outdoor seating, which does not require a zoning variance because it will be 15 feet from the curb and entirely behind the property line, borough zoning officer Greg Garthe said.

A rendering shows the planned design for the front entrance to Raising Cane’s at 228 E. College Ave., State College.