Wings Over Ithaca closed abruptly last fall, after the franchise owner was charged with 26 counts of tax evasion, but the east hill eatery has a new home and will be reopening in a matter of weeks!
Former Wings Over Ithaca general manager Mitchell Blinn has told us, “We were able to keep our management group together, and we have some ideas to make this Wings Over Ithaca much better than before.”
Blinn tells us his team will be opening their new location in several weeks at 121 Dryden Road in Collegetown. The vacant storefront was a Smokers Choice outlet for a couple of years, but it’s best known to locals as the home of the Greek House, a family restaurant that offered diner fare, fresh pizza, and Greek specialties for decades until it closed in late June 2006.
“Dine-in won’t be as much of our business” as it was in East Hill Plaza, Blinn tells us, though there will certainly be room for people to come in and enjoy a meal. “We’re going to focus more on take-out and delivery,” which were already the strong suit for the Wings Over franchise.
That focus should also mean there’s plenty of room for both Wings Over Ithaca and Jack’s Collegetown Grill, right across the street. Jack’s also has a heavily take-out and delivery-focused business, and while Jack’s owner Kevin Sullivan told us in the fall that they’ve been “doing boneless and bone-in in high volume at Jack’s,” their menu is much broader than that. Blinn and Sullivan are friends, and Blinn says, “Our businesses will be mutually beneficial. More places to eat. More people will come to the area.” That has turned out to be true on Downtown Ithaca’s Restaurant Row, where seeming competitors do very well side by side.
“I have great memories of Collegetown,” says Blinn, who used to come to work with his father at the old Egan’s Shur-Save, a College Avenue supermarket that closed about thirty years ago. “I’m ready to make some [memories] of my own.”
Like its predecessors in Albany, Storrs, and other areas, this locally franchised wingery, which opened at East Hill Plaza almost 15 years ago, focused on serving and delivering hot, fresh, meaty chicken wings, as well as hand-battered “boneless wings,” or chicken tenders. Their 24 flavors, including five iterations of hot sauce, a few dry rubs, and several gluten-free varieties, blew everyone else’s offerings out of the water.
Crews are adding a new kitchen to the Dryden Road building — it had been entirely cleared out from its past incarnations — and the restaurant should be ready to start serving wings and chicken tenders again by late winter.
Where else can you get wings, until Wings Over Ithaca returns?