1. Raising Cane’s
Like Popeyes, Raising Cane’s started in Louisiana with the intent of giving the finger to nuggets (see what we did there?!). They’ve succeeded in a huge way, busting out of the south to more than 400 locations nationwide. And while they’re lagging behind their Louisiana fried-chicken cousin in locations, they’ve managed to do the unthinkable: make a better chicken finger than Popeyes. We were just as surprised as you are.
Raising Canes uses straight-up tenderloins for its fingers, which is the only thing on the menu that isn’t a crinkle-cut fry. That means each bite is impossibly tender, dripping clear, non-grease juices immediately after you crunch through the breading, which texturally lands somewhere in the middle ground between Church’s and Popeyes’ flaky exterior and the more batter-style thickness of Chick-fil-a. There’s not a ton of seasoning here, just a kick of salt and pepper. That's kind of the point. When the chicken is this fresh-tasting, juicy, and tender, the batter serves as a complement rather than a star or, worse, something covering up a lesser product. The chicken here is king. And among fast-food tenders, so too is Raising Cane’s.