by Alanna Carlson
Walking into Wingstop is similar to walking into a mash-up between a sports bar and the typical fast food joint. Management at the new eatery has used a play on the word “wing” to decorate the small interior.
The walls feature images of vintage aircraft as well as sepia photographs of pilots. Metallic light fixtures hang from the ceiling and metal roofing sheets are used as wainscoting around the entire space.
The tabletops feature old advertisements in a collage format and sports games play on four flat-screen televisions mounted at convenient places on the walls.
Nineties grunge music booms throughout the restaurant and the smells of different hot wings sauces mingle to create a mouthwatering smell.
Wingstop offers both delicious food and a fun, friendly environment.
The new franchise location in Spokane on Newport Highway opened March 1. There are options for people who don’t enjoy traditional wings. Wingstop offers boneless or bone-in wings in a variety of flavors and heats, as well as traditional chicken strips and gliders, which are just a basic chicken patty sandwich.
With 10 standard flavors and a limited time special, it can be hard to decide on a flavor. However, the customer service is impeccable, and employees are more than willing to help customers pick a flavor. They even offer samples of the sauces. The sauces tend to be spicier on the wings themselves than in the taste testers.
Wingstop proudly touts the fact that all of its food is made the old-fashioned way.
“It’s all 100 percent chicken breast in whatever we do, so regardless of what you order, it’s always going to be high-quality product,” general manager Greg Salina said. “All our sides are made fresh daily. We make our french fries in the back. We cut them by hand. All the ranch, Bleu cheese, all that stuff is made daily. Our rolls are baked here fresh every day. We’re really pretty old school when it comes to what we do and we’re pretty proud of that.”
The old-school approach has put Wingstop in a category all its own, as a fast food restaurant where quality actually matters. And it is evident in the taste of the food.
The french fries are hot and have a great fresh taste. The ranch is high quality, and the chicken tastes much better than an average fast food sandwich.
The old-school approach also shows through their prices. As a casual eatery, $8 is a little much to charge for six boneless wings. Many people will probably find it worth the extra few dollars, though.
“We’re a lot more expensive than McDonald’s, Jack in the Box and Burger King, but more and more people are seeing the correlation between dollar and value,” Salina said.
Another feature that sets Wingstop apart from other casual dining venues is the fact that it serves a variety of alcoholic beverages. From beer on tap to Mike’s Hard Lemonade, Wingstop has a lot of options, with the exclusion of hard alcohol.
“We try to appeal to the college kids. We also wanna be family friendly, so that’s why we don’t sell the hard alcohol here. But we really do try to emphasize this as a place where people like to hang out,” Salina said.
Wingstop was founded in 1994, and is currently one of the fastest growing casual dining chains in the country, with growth of 10 percent for the past five years, Salina said.
Salina and his partner are contracted to open up at least one other Wingstop in the Spokane area, but said he hopes to open as many as five.
“We really like this segment. We really think Spokane’s got a lot of room to grow with this,” Salina said. “Food has become more and more important to Spokane. I think Wingstop and all the other chains that are coming up are a part of that.”
Contact Alanna Carlson at firstname.lastname@example.org