I swear, it was only a couple of days ago that I asked my wife if the Pioneer Chicken No. 1 stand (“Since 1964!”) on Echo Park Avenue off of Sunset Boulevard was still operating. It had always looked dark inside, but recently it seemed really dark — as in Lovecraftian, shuttered-room dark. The atmosphere of decay wasn't helped any by the flocks of pigeons drawn to mounds of crumbs left in back of the place.
The Eastsider L.A. blog, which is full of nice details about the place, has now cleared up the mystery with a resounding yes-it's-closed post. This spells the end of Echo Park's Pioneer complex that once included the huge Quonset hut-style building containing Pioneer Market (later remodeled a couple of times) and the Pioneer Laundromat, which was located a few doors south of House of Spirits. It also leaves the Silver Lake Pioneer Chicken joint (itself another vortex of darkness that, nevertheless, has outlasted its next-door neighbor, Circuit City), as the sole survivor of an archipelago of Pioneer Chicken stands that stretched along Sunset Boulevard from Hollywood to Echo Park. We can't wait to see what new, ironically named restaurant (“Chicken”) or coffeehouse (“Pioneer Cemetery”) will replace it.