Demolition is underway Tuesday, July 9, 2024, at the former Stone Eagle Restaurant on East State Street and Trainer Road in Rockford. The site is planned for a Raising Cane’s in 2025. (Photo by Kevin Haas/Rock River Current)
By Kevin Haas
Rock River Current
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ROCKFORD — Demolition of the former Stone Eagle Tavern has started as crews clear the way for a future Raising Cane’s restaurant at East State Street and Trainer Road.

The fast food chain specializing in chicken fingers is targeting an October 2025 opening for its first restaurant in the Rockford area. The company said it expects to complete demolition and site cleanup this year and begin construction of the drive-thru restaurant at 6445 E. State St. in spring 2025.

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Locally owned Stone Eagle Tavern closed in February after 15 years in business when owner Jimmy Vitale learned the property he leased was due to be sold to Raising Cane’s. The building was built and operated as a Cheddar’s before closing in 2009.

Vitale had removed the signature seven limestone eagles and the cupolas before demolition. He previously said he has plans for another restaurant but has not made any further announcements.

Raising Cane’s will build a new 3,225-square-foot restaurant after completing the demolition.

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Raising Cane’s was founded in 1996 in Baton Rouge, Louisana, by Todd Graves, is focused solely on chicken with a menu that includes chicken fingers, fries, coleslaw and Texas toast. There is also a sandwich made with three chicken fingers.

The company now has 800 restaurants worldwide, including five that opened in May. The nearest location to Rockford is 2411 Sycamore Road in DeKalb, which opened in November 2020.

Raising Cane's
Demolition begins Tuesday, July 9, 2024, at the former Stone Eagle Tavern in Rockford. The building opened as a Cheddar’s restaurant and is being razed for a future Raising Cane’s. (Photo by Kevin Haas/Rock River Current)

This article is by Kevin Haas. Email him at or follow him on X at @KevinMHaas or Instagram @thekevinhaas and Threads @thekevinhaas

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