‘We’re not leaving without Cane’s today’: Reopened VCU restaurants attract hungry students

Students line up outside Laurel & Grace Place in anticipation of Raising Cane’s reopening on March 22. Photo by Kaitlyn Fulmore

Katharine DeRosa, News Editor

Crunchy chicken, buttery toast, salty fries and signature tangy sauce had students lined up outside Laurel & Grace Place on March 22 in anticipation of Raising Cane’s reopening its doors.

The building at the corner of North Laurel and West Grace streets was closed at the start of the spring semester due to construction on the Laurel Street Parking Deck. Many students were excited to hear about the reopening.

Those first in line, freshman health science major Helen Wong and freshman fashion design major Karen Zheng, got there 20 minutes early. Students cheered when the building opened at 5 p.m.

“We’re not leaving without Cane’s today,” said freshman computer science major Aiswarya Anil. 

Anil secured a spot at the back of the line around 5:15 p.m. and said she was willing to wait “as long as it takes” to get Raising Cane’s.

The line queued down West Grace Street, reaching past the parking deck. About 50 students were lined up before the doors were opened.

“We’ve missed Cane’s so much,” said freshman mass communications major Kofi Mframa.

Mframa and other students in line spoke highly of the Texas toast that comes with each swipe option available at Canes. He said the new option could change his daily meal routine.

“If the Cane’s really speaks to my soul, I might come here more often,” Mframa said.

Freshman health science major Helen Wong and freshman fashion design major Karen Zheng got to Raising Cane’s 20 minutes early in anticipation of the restaurant opening. Photo by Kaitlyn Fulmore

Most students took their food to-go as only one person is allowed per table at indoor dining locations per VCU’s COVID-19 guidelines.

Bento Sushi and Twisted Taco are also located inside of Laurel & Grace Place. All three locations have swipe exchange programs under VCU’s dining plans. 

Freshman forensic science major Alya Shaw said Bento Sushi is her favorite spot in the building. 

Shaw said she can see herself eating at Laurel & Grace Place as the semester continues. The opening may help improve student opinions of meal plans, but Shaw isn’t convinced that satisfaction will last.

“I think after a while, people might get sick of it,” Shaw said.

VCU spokesperson Anna Obermiller said the three locations in Laurel & Grace Place ranked in the upper half of student favorites in a survey sent to meal plan holders. 

Raising Cane’s had the highest number of average daily transactions the first week of opening among the three options at almost 2,000 a day, Obermiller said. Twisted Taco received almost 1,000 daily transactions, and Bento Sushi received 731.

Students in line for Raising Cane’s expressed annoyance over the hours offered and said they wanted the extended hours from last semester to be implemented. Raising Cane’s is open Sunday through Friday from 5 p.m. until 10 p.m.

“I think it would help more if they were open for more than five hours a day, but it’s something I guess,” Mframa said.

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