GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Football season is here and Grand Rapids is about to get another option for a tailgate favorite: chicken wings.
Detroit Wing Company expects to open its second West Michigan store in the next couple of weeks. The new location is at 2500 East Beltline Ave. SE, which was previously home to Biggby Coffee.
“When an opportunity came up to put a DWC at one of the busiest street corners in West Michigan, we took it! It’s also in close proximity to local high schools and colleges, perfect for families and the football tailgating crowd,” explained DWC President Gus Malliaras.
DWC operating partner Caleb Rodden took over the storefront in April and started construction in June, according to Malliaras. Now Rodden is looking to hire more than a dozen employees, from cashiers to cooks. Those interested can email Rodden or apply in person at the restaurant.
While the newest DWC franchise store is on the same road only six miles away from West Michigan’s original DWC, Malliaras says each location has a different owner, market and customer base.
“The easy access from I-96 also allows these stores to pull from a much larger radius than they would otherwise,” he said.
All DWC locations are designed primarily for carry-out service—a business model that started before the COVID-19 pandemic and industry-wide staffing shortage and has paid off since.
“We are excited to be one of the first locations to offer a pick-up window for customer convenience – we text when your order is ready and you can pick it right up from the window (or inside). This model allows our operators to focus on quality and service, rather than managing a dining room,” Malliaras added.
And when the chicken wing price spike forced some local restaurants to temporarily close, DWC said close ties with its main vendors and ability to leverage large orders to become a top priority for poultry suppliers helped it weather the supply chain storm.
“The groundwork for that placement was established early on in the pandemic when dine-in restaurants were shut down,” Malliaras stated. “We guaranteed payment on entire truckloads of wings coming into the market to keep the product moving when wholesalers were afraid to stock a product that they might not be able to sell.”
Wing fans can choose from 19 signature sauces at DWC. The company also serves chicken tenders and comfort foods like macaroni and cheese, cornbread, potato salad and poutine DWC says is made fresh daily.
Detroit Wing Co.’s accolades include Buzzfeed’s best place in Michigan for chicken wings. The company says it’s earned similar honors from Esquire Magazine, Men’s Health and MSNBC.
DWC launched in 2015 and currently oversees 25 franchise locations in Michigan, its website indicates. The company expects another eight stores to open soon, including its first sites in Ohio and Florida. Mallarias says we can also expect more stores in West Michigan.