They mastered hot dogs from the jump, in 1916. Can Nathan's do the same with wings?
The good people of Oceanside will be the judge, as they're the beta Long Island audience for Nathan's foray into both ghost kitchens and wings: Wings of New York, which launched at the end of October.
Deep-fried wings, breaded chicken tenders and "Harlem-style" chicken and waffles underpin the Wings of New York offering, available via all the usual delivery services and running as a separate line within a handful of Nathan's locations. In a few weeks, the brand will debut in Commack, followed by other locations on Long Island and, curiously, the United Arab Emirates.
Nathan's "always has this tie back to New York, and we wanted something New York-centric," for a ghost kitchen, said James Walker, the company's senior vice president of restaurants. The chain famously began at a Coney Island stand in 1916, selling hot dogs that cost a nickel each. "What is more New York than wings?"
In a way, Walker is right: Though fried chicken wings know no borders, and have long been a Southern staple, serving them deep-fried and slathered in tangy hot sauce (aka Buffalo wings) was an idea born in 1964 at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo. They've been an American-food staple ever since, but have lately been vaulted from simple bar food to a blank canvas for chef-led whims.
Walker said that Wings of New York's version (which start at $8.99 for six wings) distinguishes itself from the field via lengthy marinating, double-frying and size, which is hefty by design. "The wing supply is very difficult in the U.S., and honestly, we decided to go with jumbo wings as more brands look for smaller wings, and it was a way for us to be unique," he said.
The kitchen's 14 sauces have some big names attached, such as well-known chef Mark Miller, who came up with the Buffalo sauce; Sweet Baby Ray's, purveyors of the barbecue, creamy mild Buffalo, Jamaican jerk and Nashville hot sauces; and LA taco purveyor Kogi, creator of the Korean barbecue sauce. The NY cheesesteak fries ($10.78) are dubbed "by Pat LaFrieda," chicken tenders (starting at $8.99) can come a la carte or atop a waffle, as can wings or a deep-fried half chicken. Waffles, in turn, (starting at $4.99) can be ordered solo, atop a waffle shake ($6.99), or in a waffle sundae ($7.99).
Once it launches more widely, find Wings of New York on Uber Eats, DoorDash, Seamless and Postmates.