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Eddie Renshaw (left) and Evan Pierce made the King of Wings sign above their new restaurant and taproom.EXPAND
Eddie Renshaw (left) and Evan Pierce made the King of Wings sign above their new restaurant and taproom.
Mark Antonation

An Outdoor Kitchen Makes Opening Easy During Restaurant Lockdown

Inviting guests into a brand-new dining room and bar is out of the question right now, what with social distancing and a statewide ban on gathering in restaurants. But two former food-truck operators won't have a problem kicking off their new eatery, King of Wings, because of a unique setup that wasn't part of their original plan.

Eddie Renshaw and Evan Pierce took over a former dry cleaners at 7741 West 44th Avenue in Wheat Ridge about a year ago, with plans to build a new kitchen and open their eatery and taproom to the public last June or July. But the difficulty of adding a kitchen to the old building made it far pricier than what the two had originally anticipated, so they went back to the drawing board.

A new plan soon emerged, which called for placing a shipping container on the large patio out front and building a food truck-style kitchen inside it. Renshaw and Pierce's wings are grilled, not fried, so a semi-outdoor solution seemed like a natural fit, and it turned out to have one added advantage: With the coronavirus epidemic keeping folks out of restaurants until at least April 30 (that's the state schedule, although Wheat Ridge adopted May 11 after the City of Denver picked that date on March 16), having a walk-up window on an outdoor patio turned out to be a great way to serve one customer at a time while maintaining safe distances and a clean facility. Plus, says Pierce, the two saved about $50,000 over building the kitchen inside.

The King of Wings has a shipping container kitchen, which will soon be clad in wood siding.EXPAND
The King of Wings has a shipping container kitchen, which will soon be clad in wood siding.
Mark Antonation

Pierce and Renshaw kept their food truck running until last October, then parked it for the winter while they worked on the restaurant;they sold the vehicle just a few weeks ago. Their new kitchen is more spacious than a standard food truck, fully plumbed and equipped with gas for a grill and a high-BTU fire ring that will hold a huge sauce pot. Renshaw says they make about ten different wing sauces; the bourbon Buffalo is the fan favorite.

King of Wings will also serve chicken sandwiches and wraps and Buffalo cauliflower, and with the new ruling from Governor Jared Polis that allows restaurants to sell liquor to go, they'll have an added revenue stream until they can open the restaurant to the public.

All along, Renshaw says, the idea was to have a great indoor/outdoor gathering spot where neighbors could  come and enjoy televised sports as well as the great Colorado weather along with their beer and wings. Difficult circumstances have caused him and Pierce to improvise, but thanks to creative thinking and a willingness to adapt, they're poised to be a great new takeout option for Wheat Ridge residents. The picnic tables on the patio will be off limits until May 11 to discourage gatherings of more than ten people, but the wings travel well for customers to eat at home.

King of Wings expects to open in early April after its final inspection, and from there, Renshaw and Pierce will be wingin' it on the patio until the state returns to a semblance of normalcy.

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