Coon Chicken Inn

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Coon Chicken Inn was an American chain of four restaurants founded by Maxon Lester Graham and Adelaide Burt in 1925,[1] which prospered until the late 1950s. The restaurant's name contains the word Coon, considered an ethnic slur, and the trademarks and entrances of the restaurants were designed to look like a smiling caricature of an African-American porter. The smiling capped porter head also appeared on menus, dishes, and promotional items. Due to change in popular culture and the general consideration of being culturally and racially offensive, the chain was closed by 1957.[2]

The first Coon Chicken Inn was opened in suburban Salt Lake City, Utah in 1925. In 1929, another restaurant was opened in then-suburban Lake City, Seattle,[3] and a third was opened in the Hollywood District of Portland, Oregon, in 1931. A fourth location was advertised but never opened in Spokane, Washington. Later, a cabaret, orchestra, and catering were added to the Seattle and Salt Lake restaurants.[4] The Portland location at 5474 NE Sandy Blvd. closed in 1949 and was converted into another restaurant. It's currently the location of Clyde's Prime Rib.[5] The Seattle location also closed in 1949 and is no longer standing.[6] That address at 8500 Lake City Way is now occupied by The Growler Guys restaurant.[6] The Salt Lake City location at 2941 S. Highland Drive closed in 1957 and is now a parking lot.[7]

In popular culture

A fake advertisement for the restaurant is shown in the 2004 mockumentary C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America where it is depicted as being successful in a fictional timeline where the Confederacy defeats and annexes the United States in 1864 with the help of the United Kingdom and France.

A Coon Chicken Inn advertisement is a plot device in Ghost World, a 2001 American comedy-drama film directed by Terry Zwigoff. Unlike the actual chain, the restaurant chain in the film changed its name to Cook's Chicken to hide its racially insensitive past, and was still in business in modern times.

See also


  1. "Coon Chicken Inn - The Black Past: Remembered and Reclaimed". Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  2. "The History of Coon Chicken Inn": Ferris State University, Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia Retrieved: 15 June 2020
  3. "Coon Chicken Inn". Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  4. "Jim Crow Museum: Coon Chicken Inn". Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  5. Jab, The (August 27, 2015). "Le Continental - Clyde's Prime Rib, Portland, Oregon".
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Coon Chicken Inn (Seattle)".
  7. "Whatever happened to … the chicken restaurant with the racially charged name?". The Salt Lake Tribune.