The Charbroiled Chicken That Changed My Life

Sorry, this post isn’t about art.

It was 10pm when we piled out of James’s car into a dark parking lot. We were weary-eyed and winded from a day’s worth of roller coasters at Six Flags, and we were still in East Central LA. I joined my pastor in line as we waited among locals while the sign “Dino’s Chicken and Burgers” shined in the dark street of W Pico Blvd and South Berendo.

I asked, “What should I order Bryan? I’m really feeling a burger or something.”
“Don’t. Order the Chicken Ala carte. Trust me, you won’t regret it.” he says.

Our entire church group buys the chicken in pairs. “1/2 chicken with french fries, tortilla, and cole slaw” it says. My friend Leah and I could barely finish the entire box, but by the end of the night, our fingernails were like clogged gutters.

From that day on, I had Dino’s for my birthday every year as well as any time I get the chance to visit Korea Town. It’s a tradition I can’t let go and the spice they use has changed my perception on charbroiled chicken. I can’t see chicken the same way again.

There’s no way I can find something that can top Dino’s in Fountain Valley even though I’ve tried. So far, I’ve only been browsing Chick-fil-A only because I fell in love with their sweet tea. But Chick-Fil-A “chikin” is too southern. The chicken sandwich is not match for a half chicken charred to perfection with a combination of Mexican spices. El Pollo Loco doesn’t even do it right (although I do enjoy some of it now and then).

I think the hardest part about loving Dino’s is the fact that Charbroiled Chicken is almost unheard of. It’s rather difficult encouraging my friends to try it because they always want Roscoe’s for some reason. Chicken and waffles are served in every IHOP diner across the US. But there only exists one original Dino’s on W Pico Blvd. I have to say, I would love for them to expand, but I don’t want to tarnish their authenticity.

I need help finding some place like Dino’s. I’m tired of all the new hip, crisp clean chicken restaurants in Orange County. I want something that looks like it’s rich in flavor and history. A fast food that literally knows what you want the second you come up to order.

“I want 3 of your famous–”

“Tres pollos a la carte por favor!”

*.00001 sec later gives me three boxes*

Something you crave for and are willing to drive up to Central LA, buy five boxes for the entire week, and just eat until you hit the bone.