Ezell's Famous Chicken
17323 140th AVE. NE
Woodinville WA 98072
Forget the Colonel and Discover Ezell's
By: Steve G
Ezell's has come along way from its humble beginnings 20 years ago. The first location opened its doors across the street from Garfield High School in the Central district and has now expanded into 6 locations across the Greater Puget Sound Area. With many celebrities, such as Oprah Winfrey, raving about the chicken and sides served at Ezell's, it has now become a household name of sorts as the icon of fried chicken in Seattle. It even has its own wikipedia entry. Chef Seattle had to set out to see if the legend can live up to its expectations.
The Woodinville location is one of the newer spots to open. As you pass through the door that simply reads "Ezell's famous chicken," you'll notice it's simple setup in a take-out style. On the menu, there's a choice of different types of chicken: original and spicy. The sides to go with your chicken are more expansive than most places with options like Sweet Potato Pie, Chicken Gizzards, Peach Cobbler, and the ever popular Fresh Rolls.
We ordered chicken with half of the box original and the other half spicy. Each piece of chicken is coated in a thick batter that is less oily and less crunchy than the chicken you would find at places like Popeye's and KFC. The original batter didn't have much flavor to it at all. Almost a little bland, we took a fancy to the spicy batter with its dark red skin that had a little more kick to it.
While the chicken didn't really impress us, the sides were the best thing about Ezell's. The famous fresh rolls are a welcomed change of pace from the uninitiated. Gone are the hard and thirst-inducing biscuits of other fried chicken joints. In their place, Ezell's serves up buttery bread rolls that are simply soft and pure heaven. Ezell's adds a little bit of chives into their mashed potatoes to give it an extra kick of flavor and the gravy has a generous helping of ground pepper making it a spicy treat to enjoy. The baked beans were delicious, sweet and tasted as if they have been stewed for hours. The small chunks of meat mixed in worked well to make it a worthy side for the chicken.
In terms of value, the family meals are the best deals. The individual platters run about $8, but for almost double that you can get the family meals that pack away enough food to keep a large family very satisfied. With a big box of chicken, several fresh rolls and a choice of two large order of sides, you can't go wrong with the meals.
Overall, the chicken at Ezell's was good, but not truly amazing to be categorized under "must eat" food. Surprisingly enough, it's the sides, not the chicken, that take the main stage with fresh ingredients and tremendous taste that make it a great alternative to the uber-greasy food you'll find at KFC.