By Kylie Balk-Yaatenen - March 18th 2024



Plans to demolish a longtime Famous Dave’s barbecue restaurant at Milton Avenue and Humes Road will move forward, allowing for construction of a new drive-thru chicken restaurant there.

The Janesville Plan Commission voted unanimously Monday night in favor of taking procedural steps regarding minimum setbacks from the north property line and signage, that were needed for construction to proceed on the new Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers at 3030 Milton Avenue.

The commission also on Monday night approved a site plan for the new restaurant, as a conditional use, and approved a corresponding conditional use permit.

According to documents submitted to the plan commission, the 2,800- square-foot Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers would have two drive-thru lanes and 33 parking spots. It would be open from 10 a.m. to 12 a.m. daily, depending on staff availability and local demand, the planning commission was told.

Plan Commission members said Monday night’s vote was their final word on whether Famous Dave’s can be torn down and replaced with something new.

Plan Commission Chairperson Kathy Voskuil said it was only narrowly considering a conditional use of the property to allow for more signage and to allow for a drive-thru --- not whether a restaurant should be there, nor which restaurant the property owners can allow to locate there via a lease on the property.

She said if city ordinances and other considerations are met, construction of the new restaurant is up to the property owners, SGAS Holdings LLC of Hermosa Beach, Calif.

Commission member Doug Marklein said opinions about the new restaurant or the fate of Famous Dave’s should be shared directly with property owner John McLaughlin, whose email was listed in Monday’s meeting docs as

A memorandum presented to the Plan Commission by city staff said the new Raising Cane’s would fit in well with commercial activity along the Milton Avenue/Humes Road corridor “and is likely to draw additional visitors to the area who may elect to patronize other retail and service offerings available in the vicinity.”

City staff also expressed a belief in the memorandum that redevelopment of the property is “consistent with the pattern of incremental reinvestment and redevelopment activity occurring along the community’s established commercial corridors in recent years,” and predicted it “will continue to advance that trend rather than slowing its progress.”

Famous Dave’s manager told The Gazette in February that it has an active lease and had not been told by its landlord, SGAS Holdings, that it was being kicked off the site.

According to city documents, Aaron Swerdlow, the CEO of Equitas Investments,submitted the request for a conditional use permit on behalf of SGAS Holdings LLC.

Famous Dave’s Manager Dominique Shopa Olsen said in an interview in February that the local management had not been informed that the restaurant was being closed and torn down, only finding that out via local media reports.

Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers has over 750 locations across the United States including one restaurant in Madison. Based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, it would be the fifth chicken restaurant to open in the Milton Avenue and Humes Road area on Janesville’s northeast side.

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