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Youngblood’s Fried Chicken

September 13th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

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Probably the most-lamented fried chicken place I’ve found is Youngblood’s. I dimly remember seeing a Youngblood’s Restaurant at the Old Mill place during the State Fair of Texas about 1968, yet across the internet people swear it was the best chicken ever, and replications of its recipe can still be found.

Julius Harper “Pap” Youngblood was a cotton farmer in Speegleville, just west of Waco, when he bouht 500 baby chicks in 1930, raising them as a sideline to help make ends meet. (Ever hear recordings of Wolfman Jack hawking baby chicks over Mexican radio?) By 1942 “Pap” and his sons, Weldon and Ovid, had got the hang not only of raising chickens, but doing it “from the egg to the table”, processing and delivering feed for the poultry, and dressing the birds in their own processing plant. They opened their first restaurant in Waco in 1945 to advertise their business, and it was so successful they expanded to Dallas, opening their second restaurant in Oak Cliff in 1946 near Colorado and Zang. The above ad  announced the opening of that restaurant. By 1961 Youngblood’s was the fried chicken king of  Texas, with 60 chicken-raising farms around Waco, a chain of 14 restaurants, and about 500 people in their employ.

In 1967 Youngblood’s had more than 30 restaurants in Texas and  at least 6 franchise stores in the state. In 1968 they announced plans to expand with a nationwide franchising operation, but they were too late; the market was already flooded with other fried chicken franchises. That and a series of financial mishaps resulted in overwhelming debt, and all of Youngblood’s restaurants abruptly closed in 1969. Some of the restaurants were sold to Mickey Mantle’s Country Cooking, Inc. and the poultry processing operation was scaled back to about 12 people. By 1970 none of the Youngbloods had any association with their former operation.

youngbloods 57 ad

  1. Beverly Kimbrough
    September 29th, 2009 at 23:29 | #1

    My family ate a lot of fried chicken from Youngbloods on Colorado, and it was good!
    There was a side entrance for orders to go, and there was usually a line out the door.

  2. Timothy Scott
    October 30th, 2009 at 03:58 | #2

    <yes that place turn me into a life time fried chicken person. Their onion rings were great too!

  3. David Parker
    November 22nd, 2009 at 07:52 | #3

    In the mid 60′s I had three kids and their favorite thing to do was go to Fair Park at the Old Mill for a 21 piece bucket of Youngblood’s fried chicken and it only cost $4.95 and sit outside and and eat it.

  4. Nancy Y. Counts
    December 10th, 2009 at 23:06 | #4

    I have “50′s menus from here. My dad was Weldon Youngblood.
    This restaurant was the best producing one of the 10 or so in Texas.

  5. Sandy Granger
    December 15th, 2009 at 06:46 | #5

    I remember (?) there was a Youngblood’s around 7th St. and Davis….I think. I was six when we lived on 7th, so I may be confused.

  6. Julie Yates
    January 5th, 2010 at 05:26 | #6

    My parents got engaged there in 1953. I was born too late to remember Youngbloods. We had moved to Europe by the time they went out of business.

  7. Tim Patten
    January 15th, 2010 at 05:05 | #7

    @Nancy Y. Counts
    As kids, we loved going to Youngblood’s on Broadway here in San Antonio in the 50′s.I would get drumsticks and pour a little honey over the wonderful crisp coating. I would love to find a recipe to make it for my family.

  8. Olivia Doggett
    January 21st, 2010 at 19:34 | #8

    Hey! I was wondering where you found this advertisement? Was there a particular paper that advertised Youngblood’s frequently?

    • marcia
      January 22nd, 2010 at 23:15 | #9

      @ Olivia, I found these in the old Dallas Morning News.

  9. Grace
    February 1st, 2010 at 00:00 | #10

    When my husband was going through Nav. Training at James Connelly AFB we use to frequent a Youngbloods in the nearby area. Was it the same Youngbloods of which you speak now. They had the best fried chicken I ever ate.

    • marcia
      February 2nd, 2010 at 17:29 | #11

      same one!

  10. WayneH
    February 22nd, 2010 at 03:00 | #12

    My family ate once at week at Youngbloods in the 50s, so it was a big part of my life. I always used to have the chicken gizzards. I’ve never eaten any fried chicken as tasty. I remember one time when Davy Crocket was big they encouraged kids to wear their coonskin caps when they stopped in. Babes is supposed to to have their recipe but I ate Babes and it wasn’t the Youngblood recipe.

  11. July 19th, 2010 at 04:14 | #13

    @Nancy Y. Counts
    Nancy my name is George Keelen I managed the Waco store in 1953-54 I remember your mother Freida Youngblood. Your dad fired me because ho saw my truck at Willis Naler’s
    Restaurant in Dallas I went to Denver Co. and opened a chain of restaurants.called
    Denver Drumstick for a man named Austin Myers. I brought up Ed Rogers,John Anderson and Bill Faubion all old Youngblood Managers. I live in Las Vegas Nv now I got out of the Restaurant business 1968 went into Event and Party Rental Business in Denver.
    Two of my children run it now I retired in 1994.

  12. July 27th, 2010 at 15:11 | #14

    @Nancy Y. Counts

    Do you happen to have the recipe from way back when? Do you sell, or share it? I would love to cherish it with serving it to my family…

  13. Maripat Powers
    August 2nd, 2010 at 19:03 | #15

    I saw the post from George Keelen…George, do you remember one of the Youngblood’s managers named Vaughn Mayfield? He was my dad. When I was little, he managed the Youngblood’s on Zang Blvd. in Dallas, then left to partner with a man on the Pal Waffle Shop in Irving. From there, we moved to Littleton, CO, where he was the manager of one of the Denver Drumstick restaurants. I have great memories of that restaurant, especially the model train track that circled it high up on the walls…loved to hear the train whistle! We only lived in Littleton a couple of years before the call of home (Austin, TX) pulled us back, but I thought you might remember him.

  14. Rodney Bryant
    August 2nd, 2010 at 23:16 | #16

    Youngblood’s was our regular take-out dinner several nights a week. Have never found a better breading since. Lots of fond memories of Youngblood’s. We also continued to eat at Mickey Mantle’s after YB closed.

  15. Kelly Coleman
    August 3rd, 2010 at 04:13 | #17

    My folks grew up in Oak Cliff. I grew up in Mildland and when we travelled to Dallas to see my grandparents who lived on Greebriar Ln. I would almost hyperventilate with excitement when we got to the Beckley exit off the old turnpike. It meant that we would soon be eating at Youngblood’s by Lake Cliff and have peppermint ice cream for dessert at Polar Bear around the corner!

  16. August 8th, 2010 at 22:49 | #18

    Mr Mayfield I remember your dad. I was the first one of the Youngblood Group to go to Denver to open the first DENVER DRUMSTICK Rest. When we opened the second one I brought Ed Rogers to run the #2 Drumstrick. the #3 store Billy Faubion. I left the Drumstick Company and opened my own Restrauant.I sold it in 1968. I have a Event and Party Rental Store in Denver that 2 of my Kids run. I live in Las Vegas NV. sence 1994.

  17. robert keathley
    August 31st, 2010 at 23:21 | #19

    My Corsicana, Tx – American National Insurance Company – Dad was a big Dallas Eagles baseball fan (knew names, numbers and batting averages of all the players). As a young boy in the late 1940′s, I still remember vividly our family outings up the old two lane Hwy 75 via south Lamar (shoping at the big Sears store on Lamar), turning left onto Cadez and crossing the Cadez Viaduct. We’d come early and eat at Youngbloods (still the best fried chicken in the world) on East Colorado before heading back to Burnett Field. Outside the park, streetcars would stop on Colorado and fans would spill forth. My Mom loved Mrs. Inez on the organ. Really was a big league atmosphere for a 9-10 year old boy. Now at age 71, I still cherish those Youngblood / Dallas Eagle memories.

  18. S Martin
    September 10th, 2010 at 05:39 | #20

    @Joy McKee
    I’d love to have the recipe too, the best chicken ever

  19. Al Burk
    October 4th, 2010 at 15:04 | #21

    I live in Pasadena, TX and remember a Youngblood’s on Richy Rd in Pasadena in the 60′s. I will never forget the aroma of the fried chicken. I have been searching for a recipt to give my chicken that same taste and smell. Like you, this is for my personnal satification. I’m not in the restaurant business. I did notice a similar taste in some chicken strips from a local place and started going to food websites looking for that great recipt. Please let me know if you were able to find it. I will pay.. @Joy McKee

  20. J. V.
    November 27th, 2010 at 06:37 | #22

    My Mother used to work for Youngblood’s, one year she agreed to work at the State Fair during her off hours for extra money, I got to go with her and was just thrilled at the thought of being at the fair for a whole day, every time I ran out of money, I went back to my mother for more. My mother used to joke it was the only time she worked that it cost her more than she made. LOL

  21. June 22nd, 2011 at 00:47 | #23

    @Nancy Y. Counts
    I was born and grew up in dallas and about the best thing that could happen to you as a kid was to go for Youngblood’s Chicken. I have a restaurant in Austin that serves a version of Youngblood Chicken for lunch. Would it be possible for you to send me a copy of the copy of the 50’s menu that you have?


  22. C Peters
    November 30th, 2011 at 18:14 | #24

    As a kid, we used to go to Youngblood’s about 1960 or 61 and still talk about it today; it was so-o-o-o gooood!!!!

  23. John Via
    December 15th, 2011 at 21:50 | #25

    I certainly remember Youngbloods from my childhood,and especially when I was a student at Baylor University in the 1950′s. It was clearly better than today’s fast food chicken shacks.

  24. Russ R
    June 29th, 2012 at 02:20 | #26

    I grew up in north central Dallas in the 50s. I agree that there is no fried chicken like Youngblood’s. We went there about once a week and it was long drive, but not as far as Oak Cliff. Seems like it was in the Oak Lawn area. Does anybody remember that they hid a pickle spear at the bottom of all the chicken and french fries?

  25. Kay Potts
    July 20th, 2012 at 03:14 | #27

    @Tim Patten

    Ok, people, here it is…. This is the recipe for Leslie’s Fried Chicken, my mom and dad worked for both and they both used the same recipe

    Have a bowl with flour, we have seasoned it a bit with white pepper and a bit of salt, to taste….
    Dip your chicken peices in the flour and then dip in the following mixture and back into the flour:

    1 Cup powdered whey (Baking type- sweet powdered whey)This is not readily available in grocery stores, we found in online at http://www.berryfarms.com
    3/4 cup powdered non/fat dry milk
    1/4 cup salt (was a little salty- I might reduce this slightly next time)Try using just half of this or less, depending on how much you put in the flour.
    2/3 cup water (I had to guess on the amount of water)
    This mixture needs to be thin, the combination gives it the batter texture.

    Dust chicken in flour, then into wet mix, then back into flour, shake off excess, cook in oil at 350 degrees for 12 minutes.

    Evidently the whey is what give it the flavor. We have also used buttermilk powder in place of the dry milk and whey and it comes pretty close! This works best in a deep fryer, rather than pan frying.
    The crust is amazing, holds up well a couple of days in the fridge.! :lol:

  26. Mike youngblood
    September 19th, 2012 at 22:27 | #28

    Thanks for the recipe. Anyone know where I can find any Youngblood’s Chiken memoribilia?

  27. linda capehart
    June 13th, 2013 at 21:33 | #29

    There was also a Youngblood’s in Garland on Garland Ave and First st.
    We went to both this and the Oak Cliff stores. loved the chicken and the onion rings were great.
    wish I could find this great recipe.
    tasted like it had yeast in the crust

  28. July 3rd, 2013 at 19:10 | #30

    I was born in Waco but I appear not to be related by YDNA to the descendant of Pap and Weldon and Ovid. I would really like to get more members of this line to compare…to see if we can find a connection.

  29. Bill Thomas
    July 20th, 2013 at 03:17 | #31

    Young bloods also had the best onion rings!

    Anyone remember Buddy Chicken on Greenville? He owned Mr. Chicken.

  30. Dan Jones
    July 30th, 2013 at 01:04 | #32

    @linda capehart
    My grandmother lived a few blocks away on Austin Street. We visited her often in the 50s & 60s. I don’t ever remember a Youngbloods at the corner of First Street & Garland Rd. I was born & raised in Garland & loved fried chicken ! We ate at Youngbloods in Oak Cliff & at Fair Park often!

    Are you sure there was one at that location in Garland?

  31. Micky DeLoach
    October 3rd, 2013 at 04:04 | #33

    My Grand father and mother use to take my sister and I to Youngbloods, They had a guy with a big metal warming box full of their rolls. biscuits and there was plenty of butter and Honey!! I think I would get a drumstick and filled myself with Big Butter and tons of Honey!! I would never let my kids eat so much honey unless it was at breakfast, they would have been wired till midnight like I was. But just thought about youngbloods a minute ago and had to see if they were still in Business!! Fantastic Memories!! and Great Chicken and Hot Buttered rolls/bisquits and HONEYYYYY!!! Yum!!

  32. October 4th, 2013 at 18:22 | #34

    @Kay Potts
    Hello. Just wondering what kind of oil to use.

    @Mike youngblood

  33. Steve bowers
    October 13th, 2013 at 04:03 | #35

    @Kay Potts
    Ms. Potts,
    I grew up in Oak Cliff and ate Youngbloods fried chicken often. As I remember, the crust was a deep reddish brown and like sheets of thick crust on each piece. In your recipe for the same chicken, I don’t see anything that would account for the reddish brown color. Perhaps your recipe does result in a thick, sheet-like crust and I plan to try your recipe shortly.
    Thanks for your recipe and any additional information you can offer.
    Steve Bowers

  34. Kevin Starnes
    November 3rd, 2013 at 06:02 | #36

    We ate at a Youngblood’s in Houston very often when I was a kid in the 50′s and early to mid-60′s. I can still remember the outstanding flavor. We moved from there in 1966, so that was the end, and now I understand that they closed a few years after that.

  35. Alternate City
    February 13th, 2014 at 02:02 | #37

    @Nancy Y. Counts
    After church going to Youngblood’s for chicken was like saying Amen after praying. All that great chicken finished off with those unbelievably delicious biskits and homey. A whole lot of Yum.
    For all her life one of my Mom’s favorite stories was about when John Wayne was there one Sunday having dinner. My younger brother and I went over for his autograph. After he very graciously signed for us my little brother said, “Can I have my pen back, Mr. Wayne?”. I was 10 or so. Brother would have been 7.
    Sometimes after the chicken dinner we’d troop down the street to Polar bear for ice cream.

  36. Larry Click
    February 14th, 2014 at 01:54 | #38

    I was a newspaper carrier for the Dallas Times Herald in the mid-fifties and our District won a monthly subscription drive contest once. Our prize was a free chicken dinner with all the guys and out route manager, Mr. Clark @ Youngblood’s. Up until that time I wouldn’t eat chicken of any kind, but since it was free & I was hungry I tried it. Still don’t particularly like fried chicken, but that was delicious.

  37. Bob Mahan
    February 17th, 2014 at 21:52 | #39

    I used to go to the Youngblood’s in San Antonio in the early 60′s to a bi-monthly awards ceremony for paper boys of the San Antonio Light. It was such a treat. That was the best fried chicken I ever had. Besides the delicious rolls, they also served little sweet pickles on the plate.
    Is there any place in Houston that has chicken close to that good?

  38. March 15th, 2014 at 04:34 | #40


  39. Paula G
    July 30th, 2014 at 01:03 | #41

    Who has the recipe (@KayPotts) for Leslie’s ROLLS?! The chicken was awesome…but the rolls were even better…melt in your mouth (lotsa people drenched in honey but they were delicious plain). Never ate at a Youngbloods so not sure if they had same rolls? but fed myself all through college (at Baylor) at the original Leslie’s Chicken Shack in Waco (and years ago found my cancelled checks…was something ridiculous like $3.48 or maybe even $2something for a plate of chicken, all you could eat rolls, salad and a glass of iced tea. Would die for the rolls recipe! Pretty please – anyone. :)

  40. shawn
    August 3rd, 2014 at 02:29 | #42

    Just found an old menu from the restaurant 10 cent coffee and 30 cent hamburger.

  41. Karen Moses
    October 12th, 2014 at 20:57 | #43

    I am looking for amyone who worked at the youngbloods in baytown texas in 1966~67 my mother worked there..

  42. KSE
    October 31st, 2014 at 22:26 | #44

    Youngbloods is planning on reopening it’s first TX restaurant in Austin next year.


  43. Jeronimo Dan
    November 8th, 2014 at 20:43 | #45

    We had a drive-in Sherma, Texas called Gordon’s Old Fashion Freeze, located then on hiway 75, now Texoma Parkway. They served YoungBlood Chicken in a basket with Texas Toast, French Fries along with honey and it was to die for. R. J. Parkhill his wife and two daughters owned and operated the business and it was run to very high standars.

  44. February 23rd, 2015 at 07:14 | #46

    I have not been able to find enough direct male descendants to confirm any connection to the Youngbloods of Edgefield and Charleston SC to this Greenville SC Line…Would to to find someone who will joing our Project.

    Click, then click DNA Results, click on Classic and/or colorized. See also About
    Celebrating our Successful Tenth year of the Youngblood DNA Project…Happy hunting !
    Looking for Youngblood Researchers and Male Youngbloods to participate in the Youngblood DNA project.

    My dad took me to these restaurants, but never found a family link…maybe one day

  45. June 14th, 2015 at 16:02 | #47

    If they have not decided on a sign company, I have been specializing in historic neon sign reproductions for 20+ yrs. Have been doing signs for restaurant superstars for 25, been in the business 30. I would love to reproduce that chef man with the frying pan.
    landmarksigncompany.com landmarksignco@tx.rr.com Cell 972 523 5464 Dan Holzschuh [holeshoe]