The AT&T store site at California/Fauntleroy has been up for lease for nine months, according to the Commercial MLS website (the store’s still open). Now, city records suggest a new tenant has been found – Ezell’s Famous Chicken, the Seattle-based fried-chicken chain with a national reputation. The plan is shown on a renovation-permit application filed Friday; we found it while doing routine research in city online records.
West Seattle’s fried-chicken scene has been in flux in recent years – KFC closed in 2018 in the spot that now holds Habit Burger, while Harry’s Chicken Joint departed in 2019 from the space now holding HeartBeet Organic Superfoods Café. But Ma’ono is going strong, and chicken fans who don’t mind driving a few miles south to White Center have their choice of Popeye’s, Bok-a-Bok, or KFC.
Ezell’s, however, is considered fried-chicken royalty – a 36-year-old company with legions of fans including, famously, Oprah Winfrey. They’ve grown to 16 locations, as far-flung as Spokane and Tigard, Oregon; the nearest to West Seattle are in the Central District and Rainier Valley (further than they used to be, with the bridge out).
The corner space in Morgan Junction was built when the old West Seattle Thriftway (WSB sponsor) was rebuilt following the 1997 fire. Its original tenant was a Café Starbucks – a food-service concept the company eventually ditched – that only lasted a year, closing in early 2000. The space became a Tully’s Coffee shop a few months later; that lasted a decade, and cell-phone retail followed.
Again, this is an early-stage filing – on occasion those fall through, so don’t count your (fried) chicken until it’s hatched, as the saying goes. We have a message out to an Ezell’s spokesperson for comment on status and timeline.