America’s Best Wings, a national chain of chicken wing restaurants, launched its first Fairfax County location today (Friday).
The fast-food company’s latest franchise opened to customers around 11 a.m. at the Cedar Park Shopping Center (262 Cedar Lane SE, Suite E) in Vienna. The soft opening precedes plans for a more formal introduction to the town next week.
“We’re super excited. I don’t think I’ll be sleeping the next two days to see how the community reacts,” franchise owner Mohammed Karim told FFXnow on Wednesday (July 6) after the restaurant completed its final health inspection.
Operating from 11 am. to 11 p.m. on Monday through Saturday, and until 10 p.m. on Sunday, the eatery serves 30 different flavors of chicken wings, along with seafood, burgers, Philly cheesesteaks, rice bowls, and salads.
America’s Best Wings has opened approximately 120 locations across 12 different states since starting about 20 years ago, according to founder Steve Kim.
Karim started franchising with the company in 2012, opening a store on Alabama Avenue SE in D.C. He now runs 11 different locations, but the Vienna one is the closest to home, located just a couple minutes’ drive from where he lives.
Given that personal connection, integrating the new restaurant into the community is a priority for Karim. The interior decor includes a wall with photos of Vienna landmarks and a summary of the town’s history.
Karim’s son plays for Vienna Little League, and he has already been in contact with that organization and Vienna Youth Soccer about America’s Best Wings potentially becoming a sponsor.
“Every time we lease a store…we don’t look for one day or two days. We want it to stay for 20 years,” Karim said. “…We’re so happy to be in this community. We want people to come. We want people to know us.”
Set for next Friday (July 15), the store’s grand opening will include an offer of five free wings for every customer who orders a five-piece meal. Flavors include dry rubs like cajun, garlic and parmesan, and the unique Moon Dust, as well as sauces that range in spiciness from mild to nuclear.
According to Karim, the flavors all come from recipes developed by Kim and don’t significantly vary from one franchise to another. The wings are sourced locally and cooked on-site without ever being frozen.
Supply-chain disruptions stemming from the Covid pandemic and recent inflation have presented challenges, but Karim says he’s committed to never compromising on the raw ingredients that go into the food.
“We try our best to always use the best ingredients,” he said.
While still focused on a successful opening in Vienna, America’s Best Wings has also been searching for other potential sites in Fairfax County, with the caveat that each location must be at least three miles away an existing franchise.
Karim says the team hopes to open a restaurant in Fairfax City but haven’t identified a specific location yet.
“We’re still looking around to see if the location and customers are what we’re looking for,” Karim said.
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