Raising Cane’s corporate staff began looking into the property in 2019, Dan Olsen, DeKalb’s Principal City Planner, said. The property and building were formerly home to an Applebee’s restaurant, but the location had been vacant since the Applebee’s closure in June of 2018, according to city records.
News of the chain’s arrival was confirmed in February of this year, when the City of DeKalb approved the company’s plans to demolish the former Applebee’s that sat at the location and build a new 3,357-square-foot structure on the property, according to city records.
“They liked the location of that former Applebee’s… so they chose to buy it, and then demolished the building,” Olsen said. “They went through the petitions to get a special-use [permit] for it, for the drive-through. Once they got that through the planning and zoning commission [and] city council, they got the building permit.”
The demolition of the former Applebee’s building took place in June. Grandell said the fate of the business that previously occupied the site did not worry him.
“I assume we’ll be great in the market and I think NIU students will naturally gravitate towards our one love, which is our quality chicken fingers,” Grandell said. “I think they’ll love us for who we are. I think that the college students… and the local residents will really enjoy it.”
Grandell said he believes the company’s local outreach will also make them a success in the DeKalb market.
“We’re excited to hopefully partner with a variety of different opportunities in the area,” Grandell said “We already signed up to be [Dekalb Chamber of Commerce] members and we’ve already done a lot with the park district, so we’re on our way to digging ourselves into the community.”