05/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Loyalty, Murder And Chicken: The Zankou Saga

Everyone loves Zankou Chicken.

Families line up at the little restaurant chain's counters for moderately priced rotisserie entrees. Critics as far away as New York have swooned over its secret garlic sauce, and the Zagat Guide has called its chicken dinner "the single best takeout dish in town."

Zankou was even mentioned in a Beck song, "Debra."

So why has expansion of the chain, which debuted in Hollywood in 1984 and once had dreams of spreading across the nation and even to Europe, been so tough?

Although there are signs that it's finally getting off the ground -- five more Zankous opened in Southern California in recent years, bringing the total to 10 -- it's a family-run business. And that family is at war, with two factions long in battle over the chain.