A new niche in an old neighborhood-that's what Joe Humphrey and Jeff Martindale were hoping for when they decided to open JJ's Wing Shack at 211 N. Oak in Sallisaw.
The two men grew up in Sallisaw but had to leave the neighborhood for their careers. Humphrey became a financial analyst in Tulsa and Martindale went into the restaurant business in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Florida. But both wanted to return to their small home town-Sallisaw. How to do so was a big decision.
Humphrey said the two discussed several options but decided on the restaurant business, in which Martindale had so much experience as a restaurant manager in southern Florida.
"We're just two friends who worked in the corporate business world for a while, who wanted to come home. We decided to move back and open a restaurant. We want a business where we could offer our brand. We want to offer a limited menu with a few things we can do well, rather than many mediocre menu items," Humphrey said.
The pair decided on chicken wings--18 flavors of chicken wings--bone-in, boneless, naked and breaded. But that's not all that is going on the menu. The list will include shrimp in 18 flavors, wraps, salads, 10 to 12 appetizers and sides such as french fries, sweet potato fries, coleslaw, onion rings, fried pickles, green beans, okra and jalapenos, along with kids' favorite meals such as corn dogs and macaroni and cheese.
But that's not all. Humphrey and Martindale also wanted their restaurant to have an ambiance all its own, a new place with a new flavor. They decided on a family-oriented sports bar. The televisions are already in place and will be broadcasting football games this fall from high school to college to the NFL. When that season is over, they will be moving on to basketball and other sports customers may want to see.
Humphrey said, "We want to offer a distinctive flavor that no one else has. We want to offer a place someone can come in and watch sports, that offers delivery that offers something for everyone."
Humphrey said he wants to see the city's downtown revitalized, where, as when he was in high school, students can come downtown and grab a bite to eat, and now watch a good ball game.
Humphrey and Martindale hope to be distributing menus in the next few weeks and the remodel of their building is expected to be done by Sept. 18. JJ's Wing Shack will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, or longer if a ballgame requires.
"We won't run customers off if a game goes past 9 or 11 p.m.," Humphrey said with a smile.
Humphrey and Martindale are not sure of the exact date JJ's Wing Shack will open but it will be in the near future, perhaps three to four weeks. They have both short-term and long-term goals. Right now, Humphrey said, "I want it to be a family restaurant and a sports bar." In the long-term, Humphrey is hopeful JJ's Wing Shack will be so successful that additional restaurants may be opened in surrounding towns and the partners can expand the brand.
But right now, Humphrey said, "I want it to be fun, a place where people can have a good time. That's the goal."
Sharing this enthusiasm, Humphrey said, "I'm excited!"
Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director
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