Yep, it’s National Chicken Boy Day. I gotta tell you, I never had the opportunity to eat at his restaurant. In all my travels to Southern California, I’ve never seen the giant Chicken Boy and until recently, had never even known of him. But now that I know he exists, I find Chicken Boy strangely fascinating.
Did you know that when this whole pandemic gotta get the word out to stay safe thing first hit California, fans of Chicken Boy were trying to come up with a way to get the iconic 22-foot tall statue to wear a mask. Turns out, there really wasn’t any safe, practical way to make that happen, so they created a virtual Chicken Boy Message Campaign.
For those of you not familiar with Chicken Boy, he has been called the Statue of Liberty of Los Angeles. That’s a bit unsettling, but hey, his original roost was Route 66 in LA, so it made sense to his promoters.
Way back in the stone ages of the 1960s, a company in Venice, California was manufacturing fiberglass statues for outdoor advertising. Their more familiar works were Paul Bunyan and The Muffler Man. Jumping on the bandwagon of this new form of marketing, a Los Angeles restaurant bought one of their statues and hired a local artist to customize it for their business. The man’s head was replaced with a chicken head, and the arms reworked to hold a bucket of chicken rather than an axe. The iconic statue was a downtown fixture until 1984, when the restaurant owner died. Chicken Boy was sold and went into storage until 2007. He was then restored to his prior glory at a new spot. You can visit him at his current roost at Future Studio Gallery on North Figueroa.
So while Chicken Boy no longer offers the best chicken around, we can wish him a happy birthday and enjoy a home-cooked chicken meal. Here’s to you, Chicken Boy!
Savory Oven-Fried Chicken Breasts
1/2 cup Buttermilk
1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1 teaspoon Louisiana Hot Pepper Sauce
2 Garlic Cloves
4 bone-in Chicken Breast Halves with skin
1/2 cup Flour
1-1/2 teaspoons Smoked Paprika
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon dried Thyme
1/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh Black Pepper
In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the buttermilk, mustard, and pepper sauce. Peel and finely mince the garlic, add to the buttermilk mixture. Add the chicken; seal bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. Drain and discard marinade.
In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the flour, paprika, baking powder, thyme, salt and pepper. Add chicken, one at a time, and shake to coat.
Place chicken bone side down on a rack in a shallow baking pan. Let rest. Heat the oven to 425 degrees while the chicken rests. Spritz chicken with cooking spray. Place rack in the heated oven and roast, uncovered, for 55 minutes or until a thermometer reads 170-degrees.
Serve chicken with favorite sides such as mashed potatoes and Zucchini Ribbons.