Echo Park drive-thru and classroom

The future Little Caesars of Echo Park received some alfresco training this afternoon in the drive-thru of the former Pioneer Chicken stand on Echo Park Avenue. The signs on the building still say Pioneer Chicken – the first outlet in what was once a fast-growing, fast-food chain – but the instructor said Little Caesars expects to start selling pizza and Crazy Bread next Friday. The change is stirring up some nostalgic feelings for the run down restaurant, including this tribute by Daily Dish blogger Jessica Gelt who once could view the drive-through from her apartment window:

“There was something about it — its white brick exterior,
stained with soot; its diminutive horseshoe drive-thru; its crudely advertised specials; and its iconic sign featuring a jovial, portly chef in a covered wagon, wearing a red bandanna and proudly hoisting a piece of mouthwatering, golden fried chicken — that spoke to the essence of the neighborhood and its history. It was rough and tumble, it was homey, it was a bit noir, and staring at it made my tears slightly sweeter and the whiskey I was sipping burn all the better. Had I been looking out at the polished laminate windows of a Little Caesars franchise, with its cartoon Roman emperor slurping bad cheese pizza off some kind of spear, I would have likely fallen into an actual depression, instead of a sentimental one.”

Photo by The Eastsider

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