Business

Columbia wing truck taking flight on national stage

An hour and a half after they started selling their stuffed chicken wings in a parking lot on Huger Street Tuesday, the 2 Fat 2 Fly food truck had sold out as customers waited in line for nearly half an hour to get their fill.

2 Fat 2 Fly is a simple idea that has caught fire in the Famously Hot city and is gaining nationwide exposure. Owners Corey Simmons and Ramone Dickerson stuff their chicken wings with savory dishes like jambalaya and mac and cheese and sweet fillings such as strawberry cream cheese and s’mores.

A film crew from ABC’s “The Chew” was in town Tuesday to film the duo preparing and serving lunch for a segment on the food-centered daily talk show. And they have snagged their own eight-episode “docu-series” on the Oprah Winfrey Network, set to premiere at 10 p.m. Feb. 28.

“It’s great for us already,” Simmons said. “Now we’re going to reach another end of the world with ‘The Chew.’ The more people that see us, the better.”

The two have been selling their stuffed chicken wing creations in Columbia from their food truck for several years. Last year, OWN tested out a pilot for a reality TV show about them, at the time called “Wingmen.” The one-hour special was meant to test the market for the docu-series. It ended up in the No. 1 time slot on ad-supported cable for African-American women 25-54, the network said.

The taping for “The Chew” took place from 11:30 a.m-2 p.m. and was filmed on the grass in front of General Sales on Huger Street. It drew a steady stream of customers, and as soon as one customer got food, more were getting out of their cars to hop in line.

The film crew gathered video of everything from preparations inside the truck to satisfied customers (not a single one had anything bad to say), while many more patiently waited for the wings that they’ve come to love.

Veteran customer Ashleigh Speaks, a 34-year-old Irmo resident who works in the University of South Carolina’s financial aid office, knew what to expect when she stepped in line for her favorite order of jambalaya stuffed wings.

“There’s always a line, but it’s so worth the wait,” she said. “I’m actually surprised at how short the line is today, because they have gotten so much bigger.”

Others, who were first-timers, like local business owner Kevin Felder, wanted to show support for the young entrepreneurs.

Part of the draw for the truck is the two dynamic personalities behind the operation. Ramone and Simmons are well known for their infectious personalities and helpful nature.

Their long lines drew a large demand and several times Simmons popped to the doorway of the truck and made playful banter with the customers. He even serenaded the crowd with a short song via bullhorn apologizing for their wait. In a sing-songy voice, he sang “We’re sorry for your wait, we hope we don’t make you late, we hope you enjoy your wings!”

Just over an hour after they started serving lunch, Simmons made the unfortunate announcement that the truck had run out of stuffed wings and they were offering only regular wings and chicken tenders.

A few left, but Felder was among those who remained.

“It just shows how popular they’ve gotten,” he said. “That’s a better place to be as a businessman. ... I’d rather have not enough supply than not enough demand.”

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