The Zankou Chicken Murders

A murdering son, cancer, and more all are tied into this crazy case.

Dylan Deckard
3 min readMar 13, 2024
Zankou Chicken


Zankou Chicken is a popular fast food/casual restaurant in Los Angeles, California. I recently spent some time in LA, and tried Zankou Chicken and absolutely loved it. While there and after finishing my meal, I learned about the companies notoriety and history, known as the “Zankou Chicken Murders.”

Before we get to the murder let’s discuss the origins of the restaurant itself. The very first Zankou Chicken was created in 1962 in Beirut, Lebanon. Vartkes Iskenderian and his family were the owners of Zankou Chicken. In 1983, Mardiros Iskenderian (Vartkes’ son) brought Zankou Chicken to the United States. There were talks of starting a dry-cleaning company but with no middle eastern recognition in the food scene, Mardiros decided to create a Zankou Chicken in Los Angeles. Zankou Chicken specializes in middle eastern food and sells chicken, shawarma, tahini, and their world-famous secret garlic sauce. They opened the first Zankou Chicken in Los Angeles in East Hollywood.

In 1991, the family and company were at a decision point for the future and ownership strategy of the restaurant. Mardiros goal was to expand and grow Zankou Chickens to 100 restaurants, so he made a deal with his father to…