While cruising down Manchester Road, you and your friends begin to mistake the rumbling of your stomachs for the sound of distant thunder. As teenagers, you need something that requires little to no effort to get: fast food. You sift through a mental slideshow of nearby drive-thrus and settle on two popular chicken chains within a mile of each other. As you call out to the group, “Cane’s or Chick-Fil-A?” what you are really saying is “Would you prefer a heavenly, mouth-watering meal hand-crafted by Jesus himself, or a mediocre hunk of misery between two soggy pieces of bread?”

Louis Garr, sophomore, firmly believes that Cane’s is the best choice. Garr visited Cane’s almost every other Friday in middle school, and by the end of the year, the employees knew him by name.

“It’s not even close in my opinion,” said Garr. “Cane’s is more authentic. [The chicken] is more crispy, tender and juicy. How it tastes with the sauce in your mouth is just superb.”

Sandelman, a food service consumer research firm, rated Cane’s as the best quick service restaurant chain in America every year from 2007-2012. Cane’s earned the number one spot in the following categories: taste or flavor of food, quality of ingredients, temperature of food, accuracy in filling orders and the highest quality chicken chain. Chick-Fil-A has a greater variety of entrees, but focusing efforts into only chicken fingers, texas toast, crinkle fries, coleslaw and secret-recipe sauce allows Cane’s to produce higher quality products, superior to anything endorsed by some illiterate cows. The fresh, tender chicken fingers and other essential elements of the meal work together in beautiful harmony.

The final shimmering gem of Cane’s is their signature secret sauce. Keyon Eversgerd, junior, has worked at Cane’s for almost a month and confirms the sauce is just as fresh as it claims to be.

“I’ve only made it once,” said Eversgerd. “But I know that we mix it fresh every morning until it tastes perfect.”

The ingredients of the sauce aren’t open to the public, which only adds to the rarity of this delectable condiment. Pre-packaged Chick-Fil-A sauce is loaded with preservatives, proving to be as fake and unauthentic as the phrase “my pleasure”.

One step into any Cane’s location is a step into a familiar, home-like environment unlike most fast-food chains. Polly Rekittke, junior, finds that posters from the 1980s and framed pictures of dogs lining the walls only strengthen the restaurant’s fun, approachable vibe.

“Everyone working [at Cane’s] is so friendly and welcoming,” Rekittke said. “It’s my favorite part about going there.”

When asked to pick between Cane’s and Chick-Fil-A, 64 percent of the KHS graduating class of 2017 voted for Chick-Fil-A. They left Kirkwood without truly appreciating the underrated glory of Cane’s, but it’s not too late for you. Between the nationally acclaimed chicken quality, irresistible side options, a top-notch condiment recipe and calming ambiance, there’s no way to go wrong. Of course there is always one advantage Cane’s will have over Chick-Fil-A, one critical asset that will never fail: Sunday.

art by Sarah Nash