By Lisa Capobianco
Wing lovers filled Cadillac Ranch Restaurant last week to celebrate the eighth annual Wing Fest competition, hosted by the Southington Chamber of Commerce.
The event featured 11 local restaurants competing for several categories. Jennie B of All Smiles Entertainment provided live music.
The event benefited the Chamber’s Adopt-A-Family project, collecting unwrapped toys for children in need. The Chamber Women said with the help of the community, they will make the holidays special for three local families in need. Target also contributed to the cause by donating a huge bag of toys, and the Biker Boutique donated 25 percent of its proceeds to Adopt-A-Family, selling accessories like jewelry and purses.
“Times have been tough, it is always nice to give back to the community,” said Julie Chubet, one of the Chamber Women who works at Serra & DelVecchio Insurance.
Jeff Krug, the manager of Target in Meriden, was one of the five judges of the competition. Krug said that although he enjoyed trying a variety of different wings, including garlic parmesan, he also enjoyed supporting a good cause.
“I like that it is a community event,” Krug said. “It gives back to the kids.”
Other judges included Southington Town Manager Garry Brumback, Mike Schroeder of the New Britain Herald, Sheldon Dill of the Cheshire Chamber of Commerce, and Southington Observer Editor Ed Harris. The panel of judges selected the best wings among three categories: hottest, most original and best overall. The public also had the opportunity to cast a ballot for each category.
The Groggy Frogg won the title for Best Overall, and also won first place for the “hottest” category. Manager Mark Montana said he feels overjoyed that his restaurant has won “best overall” for the third year in a row.
“It is amazing,” said Montana, who received a plaque and banner from the Chamber. “Thank you to all of our employees and customers that come out and support us.”
Giovanni’s Pizzeria won second place for the “best overall” category while TD Homer’s Grill won second place for the “hottest category.” Buffalo Wild Wings, which featured flavors like garlic parmesan, won second place for the category of “Most Original.”
J. Lynn’s Harvest Pub, which won first place for most original, served pumpkin spice wings and pineapple mango.
Guests with a sweet tooth who attended the event raved about the pumpkin flavored wings.
“It was a surprising flavor,” said Rich Hart of Southington.
Steve Franco of Bristol and his friends, who call themselves “season veterans” of the wing competition, also said they enjoyed the pumpkin wings as well as the pineapple mango ones. Southington resident Michele Goodenough joined the pumpkin wing crusade too while her son Walter dove into the hot wings.
“It was different and original,” said Goodenough, who attended the event for the first time. “This is a great opportunity to try different flavors. I am overwhelmed.”
Other participating restaurants included Bertucci’s, Hawk’s Landing Country Club, JD’s Pizzeria Bar & Grill, Chilli’s, Macchiavelli’s, and People’s Choice. Other guests like Susan Locks of Southington said they anticipated trying a variety of different flavored wings from each restaurant.
“There is a nice variety, and I think there is some heavy competition,” said Locks, who attended the event for the first time.