A primer on the enduring influence of Chicken Shack, Blue Store and Raising Cane’s

Chicken Shack

Stop by the Chicken Shack’s flagship location on North Acadian Thruway at lunchtime, and you’ll routinely find a lengthy queue. The tidy line of patrons starts inside at the store’s order window and winds through the center past small Formica-topped tables. The unmistakable aroma of golden-brown goodness wafts through the air, no doubt ensuring mouths are watering.

Founded in 1935 by noted Black businessman Thomas Delpit and now run by the family’s fourth generation, the Chicken Shack is an old-school, homegrown concept famous for its wet-batter-deep-fried bird. Sink your teeth into a behemoth breast or impossibly juicy thigh, and you’re tasting what true fried chicken is meant to be. The two-piece special on Tuesdays, a leg and thigh for less than $2, is arguably the best lunch deal in town.

Any day of the week, however, the Chicken Shack menu is a hit parade of soul food classics. Opt for your favorite white or dark meat pieces, and select sides from what seems a catalog’s worth of country cooking. Rice and gravy, yams, mustard greens, cornbread dressing and lima beans are just a few on offer. And if, for some inexplicable reason, you’re not in the mood for fried chicken, Chicken Shack also serves lunch specials like smothered pork chops, seven steak, meatloaf and pork ribs. But the chicken is the thing. And like the tag line says, it’s knuckle suckin’ good. chickenshack.org


Blue Store Chicken

Once, Triplet’s Blue Store was a lone convenience store in the shadow of Southern University. Then suddenly, its footprint spread like grease on a paper bag. The family-owned Blue Store Chicken concept has grown to eight locations in greater Baton Rouge, with more planned in outlying areas.

Naturally, the menu is outfitted with your choice of white or dark meat. This is a fried chicken joint, after all. But what its fans love most are the wings. Golden brown and generously spiced, Blue Store wings are sold in all manner of quantities. Buy a single wing or a tray of 100, or order a combo paired with Blue Store’s staple eggrolls, deep-fried potato logs or shrimp fried rice.

Founder Mua Phan opened the first Blue Store kitchen inside his Mills Avenue convenience store in Scotlandville in 1993, perfecting a formula for fried chicken that would soon draw legions of fans. In the shop’s early days, his 10 children pulled shifts. Today, Phan’s daughter, Hue Tran, is a CPA and the brand’s current operator. In 2016, she set in motion a growth strategy that has seen Blue Store spread from north Baton Rouge to all corners of the city. Her siblings each operate individual locations. One of the newest Blue Stores is a stand-alone building that opened last fall on Burbank and Staring. It joined locations on Highland Road, Bluebonnet Boulevard, Old Hammond Highway, Jones Creek Road, North Boulevard and Plank Road. Regardless of where you find one, you might just consume the wings with a fountain drink in the parking lot before heading home. Find it on Facebook

Raising Cane’s

For many in Baton Rouge, fried chicken has ceased to be the bone-in stuff of yesteryear. Instead, it means Cane’s.

The origin story of Raising Cane’s is forever inscribed in the city’s history. The multibillion-dollar fast food chain’s first location opened at the corner of Highland Road and State Street in 1996. It was the brainchild of Baton Rougean Todd Graves, who raised money for the business working as a boilermaker and salmon fisherman in the Pacific Northwest when banks turned him down.

Over its nearly 30-year history, Raising Cane’s has exploded in growth. Today, there are more than 780 locations in 39 states and five countries. By the end of 2024, the total is expected to reach 850.

The beauty of Cane’s is its simplicity. The main difference in the menu’s four box combo options is the number of chicken fingers. Graves has said he was inspired by the stripped-down ease of California chain In-N-Out Burger’s menu and wanted to create something similar solely devoted to chicken fingers.

Alongside marinated, battered and deep-fried chicken tenderloins, Cane’s boxes house trademark crinkle-cut fries, coleslaw, Texas toast and Cane’s sauce, the remoulade riff whose recipe remains a company secret. raisingcanes.com

This article was originally published in the April 2024 issue of 225 magazine.