Is Seattle prepared for the best chain fried chicken in the country? Well, get ready — Jollibee, the Filipino chain acclaimed far and wide for its fried chicken as well as its hot dog– and banana ketchup–topped spaghetti, is coming to the Rainier Valley Square mall.
SEA Today had the news first, on Thursday, October 19, writing that the former MOD Pizza location in the mall was now plastered with a bunch of signs advertising the coming Jollibee location. The Philippines-based chain doesn’t list any Seattle branches on its website, but it confirmed to SEA Today that “the new restaurant is projected to open in late 2024.”
What makes Jollibee special? Here’s Eater’s own Lesley Suter writing about the chicken last year, when Eater held a bracket-style tournament to determine the best fried chicken from a chain in the U.S., which Jollibee’s Chickenjoy won:
The subtly seasoned skin is as tectonically crunchy as advertised, if loosely attached in such a way as to be able to slide off an entire hunk with one bite. (This actually proved to be a plus, when, two hours later, I dug in with my fingers for a skin-only snack.) But the real surprise here was the chicken itself: satisfyingly light, flavorful in a “tastes like chicken” sort of way, and supremely moist. That was the aspect my kids enjoyed most, too — my 5 year old won’t eat any meat with too dry or stringy a texture, and he plowed through two drumsticks of this stuff.
Jollibee’s signature gravy is more than just an optional dunk; it completes the dish, gelatinous in a way I can only describe as naughty, while proudly showing its Filipino colors with a hefty dose of sugar. On its own, the gravy is unremarkable bordering on weird, but slathered on a bite of Chickenjoy, the sweetish gravy brings out a whole other realm of flavor — bright, tangy, rich. It’s the chicken’s perfect complement.
But Jollibee is also maybe the only big chain known for its spaghetti, which uses a banana ketchup base rather than a tomato sauce base, so it’s both sweet and savory. Those who swear by the spaghetti are passionate about it, and the loyalty Jollibee inspires sometimes leads to long lines.
Until now, the Jollibee hive’s only source for chicken and ‘ghetti was the Jollibee in Tukwila. There’s a location opening in Tacoma (at 4502 S. Steele Street), and the chain told SEA Today that that opening was weeks away. We’ll have to wait a little while longer to get a Jollibee in Seattle city limits.