Pioneer chicken is a childhood favorite of mine going all the way back to when my brother and I were barely tall enough to peer over at the fries being prepared across the counter! The franchise was a frequent must-have up until our early teens, but it was forced to close both of its locations in our neighborhood not long after we finished the eighth grade to be replaced by more popular fast food chains like Little Caesar’s and Del Taco.
Since then, I missed its greasy combinations every time I passed by the restaurant’s old grounds, but the other day when a friend and I were driving through Boyle Heights I just so happened to spot its old sign: the one and only Pioneer chef! As soon as I got home later that afternoon, I shared the news with mom, and it was then quickly settled: we were going the next day.
The following morning, mom and I rolled on through to the place and got our chicken legs, thighs, some mashed potatoes, and of course, the hot and spicy Pioneer rice! And it was great to sit at the old spot’s booth again, knowing that even after all this time, we’re all still here: alive, kicking and enjoying the little roots of our city together.