Ezell's Famous Chicken opened its newest store Saturday in Tacoma's Hilltop neighborhood. This is at least the fifth time an Ezell’s store has opened in Tacoma.
Franchise stores opened from 2000 to 2005 on 56th Street, at the Tacoma Mall, on 72nd Street and at Sixth Avenue. The 56th, Tacoma Mall and Sixth Avenue stores were short-lived, but the 72nd Street restaurant operated for about three years – first by the franchise operator, then by the Ezell’s corporation.
The new store is located at an intersection I am going to nickname Cardiac Arrest Corner. Papa Jones BBQ and Soul Food is a few doors down, and across the street is the Fish House Cafe, home to some of the city's best fried fish and a stellar Philly Cheesesteak. And just across the intersection at the 76 Station is the new Burrito Express taco truck, which makes a mean carnitas taco. And nearby? St. Joseph's Medical Center, just in case you need it.
On my first bite, the restaurant nailed the execution of the chicken, which comes in two varieties: regular or spicy breading. Regular was light and ethereal, the breading well-seasoned and crunchy-crispy. Spicy came with a peppery kick and an extra slap of crunch. It’s not truly spicy – you’ll need to order hot sauce to increase the heat. (Beware of add-on fees; they charge 20 cents for the sauce.) While I thought the chicken was probably the best fried chicken I've had in Tacoma, the side dishes were passable. The rolls, however? Worth a trip on their own: Fluffy, yeasty, delicious.
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Check back Friday, I'll write more about my first bite. Ezell’s Famous Chicken Where: 1902 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Tacoma Info: 253-572-4277 or ezellschicken.com
Our pledge to readers: Sue Kidd dines anonymously and all reviews are paid for by The News Tribune. Reach her at 253-597-8270 or firstname.lastname@example.org.