Opening in late November on Hilltop Tacoma near St. Joseph's Medical Center, "juicy and tender" seem like trite ways to describe the Southern-style fried chicken served at Ezell's Fried Chicken. Thighs, legs, chicken tenders and jumbo wings are meaty and tasty.
Searching for authenticity? Those wanting old-school proteins can get down on livers and gizzards made to order; I'm sticking with plump breasts. Marinated in New Orleans-style seasoning, the spicy chicken is peppery throughout; texture fanatics will swoon over the soft meat encased in extra crunchy skin. The Texas recipe original breading is thinner, light and nicely seasoned. Side dishes and desserts like fried okra, crinkle-cut fries, baked beans, sweet potato pie and peach cobbler are offered. White-flour dinner rolls are on the sweet side.
The new space is small - five tables only - and not fancy. It's a fast food restaurant geared more for take-out; freshly made fried chicken takes a while - so call that order in. But Ezell's isn't pretending to be anything else, and that realness is appreciated. I eat my fried chicken over a towel while watching movies at home, so it suits me fine.
The Pacific Northwest franchise is trying to make a go of it again in Pierce County after several failed locations over the years. This time the location and set-up might be just right for long-term success.
Pricing runs $1.95-$11.
[Ezell's Famous Chicken, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday, 1902 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way, Tacoma, 253.572.4277, ezellschicken.com]