As a kid, Pioneer Chicken was in walking distance, on the corner of Sunset and Echo Park. When I first moved to EP, we would go grocery shopping at the Guadalupana and Pioneer Market. Right next to the market was Pioneer Chicken. We didn’t have it all the time but it was golden fried goodness when we did.
As the neighborhood changed, Pioneer Chicken disappeared. There was another location farther down Sunset, next to the Circuit City on Fountain. That one was replaced by a Del Taco. The two grocery stores we used to go to eventually also disappeared.
My wife had been talking about Pioneer Chicken recently, as she had her own childhood memories of the once famous chain.
There are two locations left. The closest is mere minutes away from us on Soto in Boyle Heights. We swung by today and picked up 12 pieces of chicken, spicy rice, and mashed potatoes with white gravy. Both my wife and I were in nostalgic bliss. Thankfully, our 18-year-old daughter also thought the food was delicious. She confirmed we were not confusing sentimentality for taste.