Ezell's Famous Chicken is tackling Tacoma for the third time, opening a store next month at the corner of South 19th Street and MLK Way.
As first reported by The News Tribune, the restaurant is scheduled to open on Oct. 15. Ezell's opened two licensee-run restaurants in Tacoma in 2005; both restaurants closed within three years.
Co-founder Lewis Rudd is confident the corporate-owned location won't suffer from the consistency and service problems which plagued the first two Tacoma stores.
"It will be modeled after our corporate stores, with corporate management," Rudd says. "We don't want to be a disappointment this time around."
The Tacoma expansion represents the first rung on a ladder reaching toward national prominence, a longtime ambition for the fried-chicken chain. Ezell's this year registered as a corporate franchise, and Rudd says the company's long-range plan calls for 20-30 Puget Sound area stores within five years.
"We're just going to continue to pursue our dream of having a nationwide company," Rudd says. "We've got some good systems in place, and we understand the importance of having a good team in place."
Rudd believes Ezell's won't have any trouble replicating its signature double-dipped chicken in outlets across the country. "We should be able to do what others have done," he says.
In the meantime, Rudd says Tacoma residents are looking forward to welcoming Ezell's to the Hilltop neighborhood.