History: The story behind the Edmonds Bakery’s Chicken Bones

Chicken bones — without any chicken bones? You may be asking, what’s he talking about? If, however, you have eaten a long-time Edmonds’ favorite from the Edmonds Bakery, you definitely know what I am referring to.

Chicken Bone (Photo By Byron Wilkes)

Originally created by Joe and Carol Erga, the owners of the Edmonds Bakery from 1972 until 1993, the chicken bone is a glazed donut that is rolled in streusel and toasted coconut, and it’s about the size of a maple bar.

Joe Erga installing the Edmonds Bakery’s new sign in the early 1970s. (Photo courtesy Carol Erga)

“Joe and I enjoyed Hammond’s chicken bone candy, and we were just thinking about making something new and different at the bakery,” Carol Erga said last week. “We decided to roll the donut dough into a log, and then roll it in something, like the candy. We ended up rolling it in toasted coconut and it was very successful.”

Photo of Hammond’s original chicken bone candy. (Photo courtesy Hammond Candy Company)

Author’s note: Hammond’s Candies made the candy from the 1930s until the early 1990s. The original chicken bone candies unfortunately are no longer available.

The Ergas’ chicken bone donuts were such a favorite that they became a daily offering for the next 20 years. When Ken Bellingham purchased the Edmonds Bakery in 1973, he carried on the tradition, which has now lasted an additional 30 years.

A chicken bone cut in half. (Photo by Byron Wilkes)

When I spoke to two gentlemen who were purchasing chicken bones, I was told that at one point they were eating so many that they thought they were going to have to form a group called Chicken Bones Anonymous, and hold monthly meetings. It was a tongue-in-cheek comment, but I’m sure it had an element of truth.

When I asked other people who were buying chicken bones what they liked about them, here are a few of their comments:

“I’ve never tasted anything better.” — David W. Rice

‘It’s the toppings for sure, and the name. It’s just something that you’ve never had before.” — Ashley Fritz

“The coconut and they’re called chicken bones.” — Grace Kang

“It’s a texture thing for me. The inside is so soft and fluffy.” — Janelle Narnacie

“It’s the yeasty flavor, with a good amount of sweetness. Best pastry I’ve had in years.” — Cherie Donahue

“The inside is super soft and creamy, and the outside has a nice crumble.”  — Luna Narnacie

“That chicken bone is terrible, and the terrible part is that you can eat six in one setting.” — Tim Smith

“What I like most about the chicken bone is the flavors. Every time you bite into it, you get a new exciting burst of sweetness. When I have finished my warm pastry, my mouth is watering for the next one.” — Will Grob

Will Grob, 12, eating a chicken bone outside the bakery. (Photo courtesy Edmonds Bakery)

“I like that it is bigger than just a couple bites. I love the coconut, and I feel like I’m a part of something; “The Chicken Bone Army.” — Jon Dewaal

Lily Sonon, age 5, said with a thumbs-up, “I like it, it’s sweet and tasty.” Her 3-year-old brother Dorian had a simple reply, “I want more”.

If you haven’t had an Edmonds Bakery chicken bone, you owe it to yourself to try one at least once. The Edmonds Bakery is holding a large golden anniversary celebration on Sept 9 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The bakery is located at 418 Main St. and as of November, it will have been in the same location for 100 years.  I’m sure they will have chicken bones available.

This story was researched and written by Byron Wilkes. Thanks to Carol Erga, Ken Bellingham, and those who shared their love of chicken bones.

  1. Edmonds Bakery’s chicken bones is one of my most favorite foods in the world. Yum! Thank you for sharing their history with us. Edmonds has been very lucky to have such a wonderful bakery all of these years.

  2. 19 years ago I had just moved to Edmonds. I picked up a dozen donuts to take to my office in downtown Everett. Included were two Chicken bones. I cut all in half since there were more than a dozen people in the building. Our truck driver took a half of the Chicken bone, took a bite, turned around and took the other half! That Saturday he was at the bakery purchasing 6 more. He came from North Everett just for those. I have learned not to eat them sitting in your vehicle. Messy, but oh so good. I think I’m going go down right now and get a couple. Thanks for the article Byron keep up the good work.

  3. Love me a good Chicken Bone from the Edmonds Bakery!
    Been eating those for 25 years or more! We loved taking the kids to the bakery every Sat morning to see Joe and Carol – They loved on my kids no matter how busy they were in the back! The best!
    Hope to see Carol at the celebration Sept 9th!

  4. I’ve been going to the Edmonds Bakery my entire life (since 1962). The chicken bones have always been my favorite thing to eat. The sticky buns are a close second!

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