Mike Boyle arrived to the newly opened Raising Cane’s chicken finger chain in Highlands Ranch shortly after 2:30 p.m. on a recent July afternoon. He’d missed the lunch rush but still there was a line both in the drive-thru and inside at the …
Mike Boyle arrived to the newly opened Raising Cane’s chicken finger chain in Highlands Ranch shortly after 2:30 p.m. on a recent July afternoon. He’d missed the lunch rush but still there was a line both in the drive-thru and inside at the counter.
Boyle, as a restaurant-themed radio show host and co-organizer of the Taste of Douglas County, felt a duty to try the renowned chicken fingers. Especially, he said, after seeing Raising Cane’s listed as one of the top five fastest-growing food chains in the U.S. from a Business Insider article.
“Mmm, this is good,” he said after biting into the chicken with an audible crunch. A few minutes later, shaking his head and auspiciously holding up a chicken finger, Boyle seemed to reaffirm for himself: “This is good.”
In-between the crunches and bites, Boyle dished about the upcoming Taste of Douglas County slated for Aug. 17, which he plans with Castle Rock restaurant owner John De Lay.
Raising Cane’s arrived in town too late to make this year’s lineup, he said, but true to tradition, the 2017 event will offer a range of options — from casual to fine dining and spanning cuisines from Mexican to Italian to exclusively dessert venues. There is also a mix of restaurant chains and local establishments, such as Old Stone Church or De Lay’s Pegasus restaurant, both in Castle Rock.
New this year is a craft beer demonstration, led by Castle Rock Beer Co., and cooking demonstrations.
The event started 15 years ago as a way to bring a food show to the area. Boyle and De Lay expected a crowd of about 1,000 people. Instead they got 2,500. This year they expect approximately 2,000 people and plan to cap attendance at 2,200.
For that reason, they encourage those planning to attend to purchase tickets in advance, which run $10. Tickets at the door on Aug. 17 will cost $20 — the box offices opens at 5 p.m. For either price, Boyle promises people will get their fill. He has more than 40 restaurants and food service companies on this year’s roster.
Those include El Meson Mexican restaurant, Black-eyed Pea, Old Chicago Pizza and Tap Room, Mama Lisa’s Little Italy and the B & B Café.
For De Lay, bringing so many restaurants together year after year is one way to show support for the restaurant industry.
“I am so proud of that,” he said.
He also sees the event as a rare opportunity for people to meet the owners and chefs of their favorites restaurants “face to face.”
Ultimately, Boyle said, they hope a Taste of Douglas County offers people an escape from their busy lives.
“This is an opportunity to break out of that,” Boyle said, “to find wonderful restaurants that you enjoy, to find restaurants you’ve wanted to try, maybe restaurants that you haven’t heard of.”