Raising Cane’s, a chicken finger chain that started in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, before expanding nationally and internationally, could be opening its first restaurant in Seattle, according to public records. As first reported by the Puget Sound Business Journal earlier this week, the white meat merchants have filed an application for “Extensive interior and exterior upgrades to an existing building for a new Raising Cane’s restaurant.”
The building in question is at the corner of University Way and Northeast 45th Street, and it’s going to need a lot of upgrades in order to be a functioning restaurant. Longtime Seattleites will remember the location as the old American Apparel, which closed in 2017. Most recently, it was the office of HERE Seattle, a student housing company, but it is now one of several vacant properties on a busy stretch of the Ave, with graffiti scrawled all over it.
Eater Seattle reached out to Raising Cane’s for more information and didn’t get much. The company spokesperson didn’t confirm even that there were definitive plans to open a restaurant in Seattle, saying only, “Raising Cane’s is continuously evaluating opportunities to grow restaurants in the Pacific Northwest. Many factors go into our decisions, and ever-changing market conditions can affect planned locations and launch dates. We will make a public announcement when details are more firm.”
A U District restaurant would be big news for Raising Cane’s fans, as the chain has a minimal presence in the region. Currently the closest location to Seattle is in Portland, Oregon; the company plans to expand into Vancouver, Washington, later this year.