‘Washington’ fried chicken just doesn’t sound as good

By John Owen | Dec 01, 2011

 Longtime residents of Edmonds and environs will recall that when they drove to Seattle in the pre-freeway era, they almost always passed a landmark that evoked an exclamation from everybody in the car.

"Hey, there are the Twin Tepees."

Maybe you stopped for a sandwich and a shake or some breakfast pancakes.  The aptly named eatery did a big business at the location across from Green Lake.

It was a part of the Walter Clark restaurant empire in Seattle. At one time Clark was president of the National Restaurant Association and had a lot of friends in the industry.

He noted at one convention that a long-time  associate had been forced to close his restaurant in a southern community because of a highway relocation.

Clark offered him a job up in Seattle and before long the gentleman was installed in the back kitchen at the Twin Tepees.

After a couple of months Clark visited the site and asked the manager how  the new guy was working out.

The manager shook his head and said he was forced to admit that the new hire  just wasn't worth the wampum. 

"When we're at our busiest, preparing for the dinner rush, this guy is usually off somewhere in a back kitchen messing around with bottles and shakers of salts and seasonings."  

So Walter had a chat with the cook in question, who admitted his heart really wasn't in his new job or new home.  

He said he thought he'd move back down south and try a different approach.

He did just that and named his first restaurant something like, "Colonel Saunders' Kentucky Fried Chicken."

That story was recalled in my mind recently when somebody down south discovered what was described as a treasure trove of original recipes jotted down by a chef named Harlan Saunders.  

According to the authors of the national newspaper accounts, the "find" was akin to the discovery of King Tut's Treasures.

The news accounts also pointed out that the original recipe for Colonel Saunders Kentucky Fried Chicken was locked away in a bank vault, like the Hope Diamond.

And of course that was the recipe created in the back kitchen of the Aurora Avenue eatery  in Seattle.

Now you know why the kids from Edmonds traveling by car to Seattle gave out a war whoop, whenever they passed the Twin Tepees.

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