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 Thursday, July 26, 2007

New Wild Wing Cafe draws varied crowds, local music

Get Out

Scott Rogers Get Out

Wild Wing Cafe patrons John Richards, left, Crawford Carter, center, and Brian McDaniel chat before placing their orders Monday evening at the new restaurant on Jesse Jewell Parkway.

Wild Wing Cafe

Where: 311 Jesse Jewell Parkway

Hours: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday; noon to 2 a.m. Sunday

Services: dine in, carry out, catering

Entertainment: Acoustic Patio Party, Sunday; trivia, Monday; karaoke, Tuesday; Texas Hold 'em, Wednesday; live music, Thursday-Saturday.

Contact: (770) 536-9177 or www.wildwingcafe.com

Spotlighting local bands and musicians is part of the philosophy at Wild Wing Cafe, according to founder Cecil Crowley.

"We started with Edwin McCain playing on our patio," Crowley said. "And in 1994 they were actually signed by Epic (Records) from our patio; they began with us a great tradition of live music."

The first Wild Wing was opened in Hilton Head, S.C., in 1990 and now 17 years later there are 28 locations throughout the Southeast.

"Most places have two day parts, lunch and dinner, but we wanted to have the third, late night," Crowley said. "Some people will dine with us three or four nights a week and have never seen a band, and then some have only seen live music and never come for dinner.

"We like the buzz from both groups."

Gainesville franchise owner Rena Millwood said owning the restaurant just made sense to her.

"I was looking for an investment and something to do," she said. "I liked the restaurant, loved the food and I wanted to be part of it."

Millwood agrees that along with great food the nightlife also is important.

"We are always looking for good bands and entertainment," she said. "Something that all people can enjoy, we always welcome locals and we look for bands close by that people know, we want to support local music.

"We have a good concept, and we'll be here for a long time."

Local acts including April Cummings, Stealing 3rd and Chad Bowmar already have graced the stage at Wild Wing Cafe. Bowmar thinks the restaurant is a great addition to Gainesville.

"I think it's going to help (the local music scene)," Bowmar said. "As it will bring more attention to Gainesville, both as a music source for other venues to start booking from, as well as making potential customers aware of another venue that supports local music, due to Wing's regional strength and pull."

The lineup for this week is Bowmar on Thursday; Nikki Lixx, Friday; Listen 2 Three, Saturday and James DeLaHunt will perform Sunday.

Wild Wing has trivia Monday nights; karaoke on Tuesdays and Texas Hold 'em Wednesday evenings.

The restaurant has 31 wing flavors, a large selection of appetizers, soups, salads, entrees and, of course, the famous buckets of beer.

"I play weekly, Thursday nights from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. and the crowds have been great," Bowmar said.

"Earlier on it's been very busy and very family friendly," he said. "Somewhere around 10 p.m. the families tend to mill out, then you have the more typical pub crowd that's looking for a little louder, more rocking and recognizable groove. It's been fun.

"We've had some really good turnouts so far and it should only get better as they continue to get the word out."

Contact: abates@gainesvilletimes.com, (770) 718-3414

Originally published Thursday, July 26, 2007

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