Sliders takes home trophy at wings festival

By Lisa Capobianco

Staff Writer

Sliders Grill & Bar has more than just chicken wings to share with local customers—the restaurant now has a trophy it won from the twelfth Annual National Buffalo Wing Festival.

Held at Coca-Cola Field in Buffalo, New York, the festival invited 32 restaurants nationwide to participate in the event. The festival is a two-day event full of competitions including the Amateur Wing Eating Championship, the Baby Wing Competition and the Hot Wing Eating Contest, among others.

Sliders shared five of its popular wings during the event, including hot and sweet, barbeque, flammin’ raspberry, strawberry jalapeno and honey chipotle. The restaurant won third place for the category of Best Traditional Medium Wing Sauce.

Todd DiBattista, the vice president of Sliders, said it was an honor for Sliders to be the only restaurant from Connecticut present at the event.

“It was unbelievable,” DiBattista said. “We met a bunch of great people.”

DiBattista attended the event with Founder Fred Marcantonio, District Kitchen Manager Dave Robinson and Aaron Kemp, the manager of Sliders in West Hartford. DiBattista said they were surprised to win a trophy considering other renowned restaurants participated in the event too.

“It was a good feeling to go in as the underdog and then hearing your name.”

Chris Blum, the manager of Sliders in Plainville, did not attend the festival, but watched a live streaming of the event in his restaurant. Blum said he was helping one of the bartenders when the judges announced Sliders as the third place winner. When he heard the announcement, Blum said he immediately took a screen shot of the live scene to share that moment on Sliders’ Facebook page.

“It was an honor,” Blum said. “We were just happy to be there.”

Founded by Buffalo native Drew Cerza, the National Buffalo Wing Festival brings more than 400,000 people to the event each year as well as $250,000 in charitable contributions, according to the festival’s website.

Established in Plainville 20 years ago, Sliders has received the title for “Best Wings” since 1998 in various publications. ESPN Magazine also voted Sliders as the number five best sports bar in the country. Sliders now has more than several locations in Connecticut including Southington, Wallingford, Berlin and West Hartford.

DiBattista said he is proud of all the awards Sliders has won, and hopes that his sports bar continues to grow from here.

“Coming out with a trophy was definitely an accomplishment we’re proud of,” DiBattista said. “Not only can we compete in Connecticut, but we can also compete nationally and win awards.”