Lewis Rudd is banking on the third location as the charm for Ezell’s Famous Chicken in Tacoma. A new Ezell’s is about to open in Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood, near St. Joe’s Hospital. Rudd expects the restaurant to open late next week. Ezell’s twice before has tried to make a go in Tacoma with franchise stores that opened in 2005 on 72nd and Pacific and Sixth Avenue. The Sixth Avenue location was short lived, but the 72nd restaurant operated for about three years – first by the franchise operator, then by the Ezell’s corporation, which took over the restaurant after the franchise operator closed its doors. Rudd said that operator ran into trouble. “He made a couple of choices we would not have made from a corporate standpoint. It didn’t work out well for him. We believe it’s still a good market in Tacoma,” said Rudd, who founded the restaurant chain in 1984 in Seattle’s Central Area with Ezell and Faye Stephens and two other Rudd and Stephens siblings. The chain counts six locations from Kent to Seattle to Woodinville. Tacoma will be the seventh.
The restaurant is regionally known for its crispy fried chicken. I prefer the spicy to the original. If you’ve had an Ezell’s fluffy dinner roll, you don’t forget them – they’re delicious.
Check back here next week for details of the Hilltop opening.
Ezell's is joining an intersection that's becoming known for slow-cooked meat and deep-fried eats - funny that it's located so closely to St. Joe's Hospital (or maybe that's intentional?). In late July, Papa Jones BBQ opened in the same strip mall, just a few doors down from where Ezell’s Famous Chicken will be. Across from Ezell’s and Papa Jones is the Fish House, home to one of the city’s best Philly sandwiches and so-good-it's-a-sin fried fish. Should we call that intersection Cholesterol Court? Because here's something new to the neighborhood: A taco truck recently rolled up at the 76 Station across from Ezell’s and Papa Jones. I’ll report more next week about the taco truck that, depending upon which sign you read, is either called Taqueria Tu Casita or Burrito Express. My tip: Decent carnitas torta, but the pork-filled tamale was a dry, brittle disaster. More on that next week.
If you don't eat much in the Hilltop, here's an article from March featuring 10 restaurant reviews on the Hilltop that was part of our 10-in-1 neighborhood restaurant series.
Ezell’s Famous Chicken Where: 1902 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Tacoma Info: www.ezellschicken.com