By John Lynds
It was standing room only for the popular Texas-based chicken wing restaurant, Wingstop, as it officially opened its doors last Wednesday afternoon in Central Square next door to the East Boston Social Centers.
“This is a good sign,” said franchise owner Laura Rebello, who co-owns the Eastie location as well as the Medford location with her husband, John. “We have hired all local residents to fill all the positions here.”
Rebello was overjoyed with the response from the community on its first day.
“A lot of people have been stopping by asking when were going to open so there was a lot of buzz in the neighborhood before we even opened,” said Rebello as customers lined up to try Wingstop’s famous chicken wings that are cooked to order and then dusted with different rubs or tossed in several different types of sauces.
Rebello explained that the wings take a little time to cook and the food is not ‘fast food’.
“Everything is fresh and cooked at the time you order,” said Rebello. “We suggest if you are short on time for lunch or are in a hurry , one should order ahead online and then swing by and pick up your order.”
Wingstop, which has made a name for itself among foodies as a restaurant that serves up some great wings and dipping sauces.
Rebello said she and her husband are really excited to be part of the Eastie business community.
Rebello said Wingstop’s focus on family-style dining with a sports theme was a natural fit for the Boston market.
“We all know how serious Boston takes sports so it’s a good combination of great food mixing with a great sports tradition,” said Rebello.
As for the hires, Rebello said most, if not all, are East Boston High School graduates or currently enrolled in the high school.
“We are proud to bring these jobs to the neighborhood,” she said.
Rebello said the new business is planning a bigger ‘grand opening’ at a later date and will include Eastie’s own Super Bowl Champion Jermaine Wiggins, among others.
Wingstop, explained Rebello, has already made contributions to the East Boston Social Centers and look forward to being a partner with East Boston’s sports programs, the Chamber of Commerce as well as the annual Kindergarten Parade.
“We want to be a big part of the community,” she said.
Wingstop recently opened its first Boston-area location in Medford but the Wingstop’s Central Square location is the first official Boston franchise. With the square and under construction, the new fast food restaurant will add another lunch and dinner option in the newly rehabbed square.
Wingstop began in Dallas and was acquired by Roark Capital in 2010. Wingstop was touted by Technomic as one of the 10 fastest growing restaurant concepts in the United States.
Since opening its first location in Texas in 1994, Wingstop has sold over 2 billion wings and currently has more than 650 restaurants open or in development in 34 states and Mexico.
Wingstop’s sole focus is on chicken wings according to its menu and website. Patrons will be able to chose between classic wings, boneless strips or crispy tenders. Then patrons can chose from an wide variety of sauces and rubs like, Atomic Mango Habanero, Cajun, Louisiana Rub, Hickory Smoked BBQ, Lemon Pepper, Garlic Parmesan, Hawaiian or Teriyaki.
Wingstop will also serve up sides like fries, beans and coleslaw, as well as drinks that can be ordered as a combo with the wings.