Raising Cane’s, a fast-food restaurant specializing in chicken fingers, will be opening in Springfield sooner than originally planned.

In March, Jason Zwerin, vice president of company restaurants, confirmed to SBJ that Raising Cane’s was coming to Springfield as part of the company’s aggressive expansion plans.

“We’re very excited to be planting such strong roots in Illinois,” said Zwerin, “So far, our 21 restaurants in the state have been very successful, and we’re planning to open 15 more this year and next just in Illinois.”

Raising Cane’s began opening locations in the Chicago area in 2017 and is now expanding further downstate.

At that time, Zwerin said the company was planning to have its Springfield location open in the second quarter of 2023. However, demolition of the building at 3100 W. White Oaks Dr. is already underway, and a company spokesperson told SBJ that Raising Cane’s is now targeting a December opening.

Casa Real most recently occupied the 9,000-square-foot-building, which is being torn down to make way for a new 3,300-square-foot structure that will have a double drive-through window. In addition, each restaurant is tailored to that particular community.

“We want to be known globally but have a very local presence and identity. You will see things very specific to Springfield in our dining rooms,” said Zwerin.

Casa Real’s last day of operations at the corner of Wabash Avenue and Veterans Parkway was May 29, and owner Jose Lopez announced plans to reopen in Legacy Pointe. He said he has signed a lease for the former Quaker Steak & Lube restaurant at 1121 W. Lincolnshire Blvd.

“I think it’s time to get away from all the restaurants on the west side. I see this as investing in the future, moving out toward SCHEELS,” Lopez said. “We’ve all got our fingers crossed, but I think it’s looking a lot better this time,” he said of plans for other development in the area.

Lopez originally hoped to have his new location open in June, but now tells SBJ he is looking at mid-July, due to delays with obtaining certain materials and products.