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Pioneer Chicken kicks the bucket

March 24, 2009 |  3:39 pm

Pioneerchicken This week, Echo Park locals mourn the loss of the original Pioneer Chicken on Echo Park Boulevard, just north of Sunset Boulevard. Blogosphere lamentations over the grease bucket's closure are plenty, from the Eastsider to Eater L.A. I live a wishbone's throw away from what was once Pioneer Market (now a Walgreens that I call "the great beige blight"). Pioneer Chicken, which was open for nearly 40 years, was apparently named after that market.

In the year and a half that I've lived within sight of the corner, I swear I have never seen anybody set foot in the place. However, I have spotted a run-down pickup truck or two in the drive-through. Most of the action surrounding the restaurant took place in the parking lot next to it, where neighborhood kids on skateboards popped ollies and scraped their knees. My Daily Dish gustatory adventures never included a trip through its doors, probably to the benefit of my arteries but also to the detriment of this postmortem.

However, thanks to my copy of Linda Ronstadt's "Simple Dreams" LP (I have a soft spot for Mom-rock), I've spent many a contentedly mournful hour listening to "Carmelita" (which references Pioneer Chicken, heroin, Alvarado Street and Echo Park), staring out my window and pondering the vanishing, endearing vintage Echo Park griminess that the stand represented. It'll probably become a vegan burrito stand or a pet massage clinic or something, but for today, I'll pour out 40 ounces of transfats for you, Pioneer Chicken.

-- Jessica Gelt

Photo courtesy of The Guide