The Coon Chicken Inn was founded by Maxon Lester Graham and his wife, Adelaide née Burt. The first Coon Chicken Inn was opened in 1925 in Salt Lake City, Utah. They found a small building that contained three stools, an ice box and a small counter. They bought this for $50.00 and they were in the chicken business. The business took off immediately and it was not long that they enlarged the place, and put in an addition with tables and a dance floor along with adding counter space. By 1927 the Inn was a mammoth building.
The restaurants sold southern fried "Coon Chicken" sandwiches and chicken pie, as well as hamburgers, seafood, chili and assorted sandwiches. Blacks were employed as waiters, waitresses, and cooks, though not necessarily welcomed as customers.
Late in the year 1929 they opened another Coon Chicken Inn in Seattle, WA on Lake City Way N.E. The restaurant opened with lots of fanfare and was an immediate success. Soon Maxon and Addie moved to Seattle. In the year 1930 they added the restaurant on Sandy Boulevard in Portland, Oregon. All three sites were booming and a cabaret and orchestra were added in Seattle and Salt Lake with a larger dining room and the addition of delivery trucks for outside catering.
Maxon decided that if a gimmick were added for the children, it would help bring in the parents. He added the famous head logo to the entrances of the Inns it was a huge winking, grinning face of a black man wearing a porters cap. The words "Coon Chicken Inn" were spelled out on teeth framed by monstrous red lips. The doorway was through the middle of the mouth. At the time it proved quite popular. The logo of the Inn was on every dish, silverware item, menu and paper product. Many of the artifacts are very popular in the Black Memorabilia market. Be careful if you are interested in buying a genuine Coon Chicken Inn item. As there are lots of fakes out there. Please see my Memorabilia section. Look for "repros" at the bottom. For more information.
In the late 1950's the Grahams got out of the restaurant business, keeping the properties and leasing them out to other restaurant operators. The Salt Lake City site is now the Chuck-A-Rama; the Seattle restaurant is now Yings Drive-In, and the Portland site has become the Prime Rib.
The above information is an abbreviated version of the Coon Chicken Inns history that I got from the founders grandson's website. I also got some of the info. from Chattering Magpie.