Original location of Ezell’s Famous Chicken

501 23rd Avenue

Ezell's Famous Chicken, Seattle, 2012, Photo by Joe Mabel (CC BY-SA 3.0)

501 23rd Avenue

Ezell Stephens and Lewis Rudd became friends while working at Brown’s Chicken in Marshall, TX. Together they hatched a plan to open their own fried chicken restaurant. The U.S. Coast Guard brought Stephens to Seattle, where he decided to stay and launch his business. Members of the Stephens and Rudd families followed, and in 1984 Ezell’s Famous Chicken opened for business at this location. Since opening, Ezell’s has consistently hired youth and young adults from the Central District and supported neighborhood nonprofits and community-centered organizations.

Ezell’s became a national name when Oprah Winfrey called in an order and sang Ezell’s praises on air in the early 1990s. Although Stephens no longer owns Ezell’s, it remains family-owned and operated mostly by the Rudds. Their recipe is still a national favorite, winning Esquire magazine’s most “Life-Changing Fried Chicken” title in 2012. Rudd told the magazine that a combination of fresh ingredients, from-scratch preparation, and a New Orleans creole seasoning is what makes Ezell’s chicken stand out.

Walk north on 23rd Avenue toward E Cherry Street.

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