The Cuisine Scene
Moreno Valley, CA
first time I tried Buffalo wings was in Denver in the eighties when
Woody’s Wings opened. Since I’d always loved chicken, the name drew me
like a moth to a flame. They only served chicken wings with varying
degrees of spiciness, and celery sticks with dressing was their side.
The wings were fried to order so they were fresh, and I was delighted
to find they were crispy without breading. I loved them.
Since then, I’ve tried Buffalo wings in several places in different states, but never found any to compare with Woody’s.
another great tip from a reader, I found WingStop, a fantastic little
place in Moreno Valley similar to Woody’s, but even better. Never
thought I’d say that, but Wingstop is now a favorite place. Located on
the south side of Alessandro Boulevard between Perris and Indian, the
stand alone restaurant was easily visible from the street.
The day I
arrived, antique cars filled one side of the ample parking lot, and I
learned that WingStop hosts a car show on the second Sunday of each
month. One car captured my attention, a saucy orange coupe with fiery
brick-trimmed building, tables and chairs stood in front of the order
counter. I’d researched and discovered this particular restaurant was
less than a year old, and everything looked clean and fresh. Aviation
photos hung on the wall and I recognized Amelia Earhart in one. Tables
were promptly cleared as soon as the occupant left and a friendly young
woman greeted me from behind the counter. Danny Ruano, the shift
leader, introduced me to the owner, Ronald McFadden.
(Danny Ruano, the shift leader, and the owner, Ronald McFadden)
walked through the front door, he was wearing a bandana, something he
considered a staple when cruising on his motorcycle, a Honda CBR 929,
with his friends. I didn’t ask his age, but he appeared to be in his
twenties, and he’d recently been featured on the back cover of The Zone
magazine. He kept saying how fortunate he was to have been able to buy
the franchise last year. He’d grown up loving the wings near Dallas,
where they were founded in 1994. They were such a huge success that
they began franchising in 1997. Since then, they have 550 restaurants
open or under development in 27 states, and in 2007 they celebrated
serving one-billion wings. So when Ronald moved to California to attend
school and found a Wingstop in Inglewood, he worked, saved, and made
plans to buy his own franchise.
Today, he works
even harder, but it’s work he loves. He takes pride in preparing and
serving the best, and his crew is tops in courtesy and service.
All the wings
are fresh, never frozen, he explains, saying freezing affects the
quality of the chicken as well as the frying process. He brings the oil
to a certain temperature and fries the chicken a specified amount of
At Wingstop, you
won’t find wings drying out under heat lamps. They only fry the wings
as they’re ordered, so you need to allow at least ten or more minutes
for the preparation. But it’s well-worth the wait.
Not only is the
chicken fresh, but the sides are prepared on the premises each day.
They actually mix the potato salad from real potatoes and dressings,
the bourbon baked beans have a dash of real bourbon, and they cut the
fries daily from Idaho potatoes. They also offer cole saw, carrot and
celery sticks, dips and rolls, but the stars of the show are the
Made of wing
sections called the drummette and the flat, Buffalo wings are said to
have originated in Buffalo, New York in 1964. Several stories claim to
be the true one, but three different versions revolve around The Anchor
Bar in Buffalo. It’s said that the owner’s son arrived late at night
with his college friends and the owner needed something quick and hot
to feed them. Another version says it was late on a Friday night and
the owner wanted something hot and tasty for their Catholic patrons at
midnight, when they’d be able to eat meat again. The last story
involving the Anchor Bar, says that they used chicken backs and necks
in their spaghetti sauce, and one week wings were delivered instead.
They fried them and doused them in their hot sauce. The last version
says that another restaurant owner fried wings in his special ‘Mambo’
sauce. But all story versions agree that the wings originated in
Buffalo in the 1960s.
restaurants today bread their wings for a variety, the true version and
the best, in my opinion, is the unbreaded original.
At Wingstop, the
nine sauces range from mild to atomic, including teriyaki, Hawaiian,
lemon pepper, and garlic parmesan. While I enjoyed the other flavors, I
still love the original hot the best. The sauce has a bite but not
enough where I’m gulping water, but what I love is the texture. It’s
light without that certain flavor that suggests the sauce was made from
Prices run from
$6.50 for ten pieces to around sixty dollars for a hundred pieces for
parties, although they offer special bulk prices as well. I like the 10
wing combo for $9.89, which includes fries and a fountain drink. They
Dine in or carry
out. I’d recommend that you allow enough time, at least on the first
visit, to eat in so you don’t lose the crispy texture. I enjoyed the
samples while there, and I ordered enough to take out. By the time I
reached home, the steam had softened the wings. The flavor was still
there, but not the crispiness I loved.
I can’t wait to
go back. While the restaurant is accessible from the 215 freeway, I
take the Live Oak Canyon Rd to the San Timoteo Canyon Rd for about six
miles and turn right on Alessandro. It’s about another four miles. I
love the drive, but of course I’d love it even more if they’d open in
Open 7 days a week from 11am to Midnight.
24825 Alessandro Boulevard
Moreno Valley, CA 92555