SOUTHINGTON - Groggy Frogg wowed the crowd with their wings Monday at Cadillac Ranch, earning the title of Best Wings, Hottest Wings and Most Original Wings in Southington.
Sizzling, spicy, sweet and savory wings filled the air with mouth watering aromas as crowds moved from table to table. The event was absolutely packed and many vendors ran out of their initial batch of wings and had to get more.
Once people’s hunger had been sated and their taste buds tested, it was time to cast their votes.
When voted were tallied Groggy Frogg swept all categories. Craft Kitchen took runner up for best overall, Buffalo Wild Wings was runner up for hottest and Southington Bread For Life was runner up for most original.
Participants in this year’s Wing Fest included Groggy Frogg, Chili’s, Craft Kitchen, Buffalo Wild Wings, Castello’s Pizza and Southington Bread For Life.
Cadillac Ranch also allowed people to sample their wings but didn’t participate in the contest.
Mark Montana, owner of Groggy Frogg, said the crew wanted to “do right by the man” this year in memory of late former owner Mike Montana, who died last May after winning last year’s event. They brought out about a half-dozen different flavors.
“We want to make him proud and carry on his legacy,” said Montana as he gestured to a picture of Mike Montana hanging over their booth. “We’re going bigger and harder for him.”
Shortly before winners were announced, the Chamber held a moment of silence in Mike Montana’s memory.
“This is our first time here and we’re looking forward to it,” said Maria Picone of Castello’s Pizza. “We brought hot wings and barbecue chili wings. Hopefully this will help us get our name out there; it’s what we’re here for.”
Nina Zampino, bartender at Chili’s, said the restaurant has come to Wing Fest for about five years. This year they brought out barbecue, buffalo and honey chipotle wings.
“It isn’t about winning; it’s fun to come out into the community. It’s a good experience.”
Craft Kitchen had a server dressed up as a T-Rex holding a sign saying “Our Sauce Has Bite! (Like me).” They served “dirty drum sticks” with appropriately named “T-Rex Sauce.”
Chris Bressan of Southington, who has come to Wing Fest for three years, brought his girlfriend, Deanna Cinami, along to experience it for the first time.
“I love coming to Wing Fest,” said Bressan. “There’s always something good to try and lots of local restaurants.”
Cinami, who noted that she worked at Webster Bank, who are one of the event sponsors, said Wing Fest is “really good.”
“I’m happy to support it,” she said. “The Asian Zing from Buffalo Wild Wings is really spicy but the drum stick with T-Rex sauce from Craft Kitchen is my favorite so far.”
Faith Tonnotti, owner of JC Tonnotti Window Company, said she has been bringing her whole company to Wing Fest for the past three or four years.
“This is a great event for the community,” she said. “We try to do it every year to support our local restaurants.”
Both Tonnotti and Heather Magnoli, an employee sitting with her, said they liked Craft Kitchen’s wings.
Baulyne Grande came to Wing Fest for the first time Monday.
“I won’t eat lunch first necessarily time,” she said with a laugh. “Castello’s blue cheese wings were very good.”
David Derynoski, from the town Board of Education, said he thought Groggy Frogg had the best overall wings.
“This is my first time coming and I’m glad I came,,” he said. “My daughter and son in law had heard about it and invited me so I figured ‘why not?’”
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or .