By: Caitlyn Freeman, Editor in Chief
Maryland’s first Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers opened in Uptown, Towson, on Thursday, with nearly 200 patrons waiting in line to get in the door.
The grand opening saw a line of customers wrapped around the building at 4 East Towsontown Blvd, less than half a mile from Towson University. The Cane’s is located in Towson Row, a subsection of Uptown that also houses a Whole Foods Market.
The restaurant’s first customers were Towson residents Dan Fleming and Sam Lewis. The two camped in a tent at the restaurant overnight to ensure their place in line.
“We’re just kind of like, ‘it’ll be a fun thing to do,'” Fleming said. “And it’s cool to be like the first customers of Maryland because this is the first one in all of Maryland. So we can say ‘we’re the first Cane’s customers in Maryland.”
The fast food chain originated in Louisiana in 1994 and is known for its chicken tenders and special dipping sauce. The company has nearly 700 restaurants across 35 states and Guam, according to a press release.
Alongside a DJ, photo booth and an appearance from Doc the Tiger, the restaurant staff handed out Cane’s branded merchandise and held a raffle that gave 20 people free Cane’s for a year. Towson Senior Joe Boh was one of the winners.
“It’s cool,” Boh said.
He and several friends arrived at the restaurant early Thursday morning to get in line for the opening. While one of Boh’s friends, Towson Senior Connor Hineline, said the chicken wasn’t worth the time spent in line, he said he was happy as he was the first customer to pay using cash at the restaurant.
“I just like being the first at something,” Hineline said.
Similarly, Anning Cui, a Towson native and student at the University of Maryland, College Park, said she and three friends woke up at 6:30 a.m. to get in line for “the tendies and the vibes.”
Additionally, she said she was there because she was “…clout chasing Raising Canes.”
Before the restaurant opened its doors to customers around 9:30 a.m., a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held with the Towson Chamber of Commerce.
“I’m so excited to be here, to open the first Raising Cane’s in Towson,” The restaurant’s General Manager, Jeremy Messersmith, said. “What a great time we are in.”
Additionally, the franchise donated $1,000 to the booster program for Towson High School’s Football Team and Messersmith thanked the community for supporting the restaurant.
In her remarks, Nancy Hafford, the Chamber’s executive director, thanked the restaurant for choosing Towson as its inaugural location within the state. Additionally, she emphasized the importance of the partnership between the Towson community and commerce in creating a lucrative business environment.
“We work to make this the best place to live, work and play and open a business,” Hafford said.
The restaurant received a citation from the Baltimore County Executive’s office. County Councilman Mike Ertel, District Six, also gave remarks during the ceremony.
“We really are excited,” Ertle said. “I don’t think I’ve ever been to an opening that’s this energetic, especially this early in the morning. So we’re happy you guys are here, and we wish you lots of good luck, and I’m sure you’re gonna make a lot of money.”