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Review: PIONEER CHICKEN (Sunset/Fountain)

for lunch yesterday i had what is, in my opinion, the best fried chicken in los angeles. pioneer fried chicken has the perfect coating. from appearance alone it looks airy and yeasty. while it is both of those things it is still very substantial and crunchy. the chicken underneath is moist, salty, and has the perfect amount of rangey-ness. like you can taste the farmhouse. this is gourmet fried chicken. it is comparable to the 26 dollar fried chicken that you get at the so-called nuevo-american restaurants such as cynthia's or memphis.

there is a scene in serial mom where beverly (kathleen turner) is spying on this couple that goes to her husband's dental practice. she is looking through their window during dinnertime and the couple is eating fried chicken like there's no tomorrow. they are ravenously picking, prodding, and chewing every last morsel off of every bone as the skin hangs from their mouth. yes, that was me yesterday. after i went through the drive-thru at the corner of sunset and fountain i parked my car in their parking lot and dug in with the air conditioning blowing and "misty" playing on the radio. i never chew chicken bones like i never eat in the dining rooms of fast food restaurants. but with pioneer chicken it's a whole different story. the coating is so good it's a necessity to chew it off of every rib and thigh. my chicken came with a side of fries that were deliciously crisp never soggy or greasy. to top it all off, pioneer chicken sells individual cups of hagen daaz ice cream in every flavor. i chose dulce de leche. i love dulces!!!

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  1. I just came back from there. It's where I get my gizzard fix.

    1. Is this the same Pioneer Chicken that used to be a chain?

      1 Reply
      1. re: Grubber

        Yes...there are a few independently owned locations in So Cal still. This is one of the last remaining.

      2. The chicken is indeed good. But it doesn't travel well. KFC or Dinah's is great for picnics but Pioneer seems to get greasy when it cools. Why?? I don't know.

        1. Yes this used to be a chain...there used to be a lot of them back in the day. Now I only know of two...the aforementioned East Hollywood one (next to Circuit City) and one down the street (Sunset) in the heart of Echo Park. My parents used to get this for take-out every Sudnay. I loved it but we had it too much and I got sick of it, hsha. Whoa! Now I'm having flashbacks of my youth...Pioneer chicken, fries, gizzards and cole slaw with Pepsi eaten at a Griffith Park picnic...And I'm holding my hot wax observatory souvenier in one hand.

          But I hadn't had it in years, despite the fact I live nearby. yeah I remember them gizzards.

          Actually I did go there a couple years ago, but I had the chicken kebab and nothing of the fried variety (sacrelige!!!)
          They seem to have other stuff there like middle eastern dishes, fish fillets, burgers and sandwiches...Their menu used to look spartan, now it's a chaotic wall of various signs.

          1. There are a few remaining franchises scattered throughout LA:

            Pioneer Chicken [Bell Gardens]
            6323 E. Florence
            (562)927-9135

            Pioneer Chicken [Boyle Heights]
            904 S. Soto St.
            (323)262-4562

            Pioneer Chicken [Echo Park]
            1321 Echo Park Ave
            (213) 481-1232

            Pioneer Chicken [Miracle Mile]
            5970 West Olympic Blvd
            (323) 954-0454

            Pioneer Chicken [Silver Lake]
            4376 West Sunset Blvd
            (323) 663-2441