Expansion Means More Food, More Diners
by Holly Wuebker
A new year often brings change, whether personal, like a New Year’s resolution, or professional, like a business expansion. In Celina, Ohio, C-Town Wings is embarking on a new adventure in 2017—the opening of a new location on Havemann Road.
With only a few more weeks until the anticipated grand opening in mid-March, owners Kerry and Julia Roberts are busy with preparations, looking forward to what is ahead. They’ve also taken time to reflect on how far they’ve come in the past several years.
C-Town Wings is currently situated on Main Street amongst other businesses and a hubbub of activity at the center of town. Kerry and Julia opened the restaurant in July 2011 after purchasing and remodeling the building downtown.
This wasn’t their first business. The Roberts also owned the Dairy Cone, located in Celina, and operated it simultaneously until 2014. The pair enjoyed both businesses but wanted to focus on the sit-down restaurant, so that’s exactly what they did.
Kerry brought much experience to C-Town Wings. His parents, John and Mary Roberts, operated Roberts’ Bar, which served customers for over 30 years. Kerry grew up around the business and started working there after high school. This background provided the inspiration for his own bar, which has become quite the establishment.
When the Roberts opened C-Town Wings, Kerry was also employed at CAPT (Celina Aluminum Precision Technology Inc.). To help determine what should go on the menu, Julia experimented with recipes, and Kerry brought samples of the chicken wings to his fellow employees.
C-Town Wings offers approximately 15 different sauces—kept as secret family recipes—for their wings, ribs and more. Their wood-fired grill is unique to the area, as well as their 12-ounce delectable, signature burgers.
The Bronco burger is the #1-selling burger at C-Town Wings, but the owners anticipate adding four new signature burgers to the menu when the restaurant relocates to the larger facility. Periodically, Kerry and Julia challenge their kitchen staff to come up with new burger ideas for the menu, offering a reward to employees if a new flavor proves popular with diners.
The bar at C-Town Wings offers a mug, personalized with engraving, for just $25. Leave the mug at the bar, and when you return, you’ll receive 75-cents off any draft beer.
If you can’t dine in, takeout orders are available at C-Town Wings, the restaurant’s freeapp makes ordering simple. Place an order and pay online, then stop by and pick it up. The new location will even allow customers to pick up orders at a drive-thru.
Just inside the entrance downtown, you’ll find C-Town Wings’ wall of champions. This wall is decorated with photos of diners who have successfully finished an incredibly enormous meal, including: two one-pound burgers, topped with a half-pound of ham and a half-pound of bacon; a pound of French fries; and, a pound of coleslaw.
Those who complete the meal in under 40 minutes get their photo taken for posting on the wall, their huge meal is complimentary, and they receive a free C-Town wings shirt. Of the 450 to 500 customers who have tried since C-Town Wings first opened, fewer than a dozen have succeeded.
But, the eating challenge makes for some great stories. One diner rode his bike all the way from Columbus, Ohio, completed the challenge and filmed it for YouTube before riding back home. Another succeeded in cleaning his plate, then ordered a piece of strawberry pie.
Catering is a large part of the Roberts’ business, and they offer a wide variety—from breakfast items to their famous wings, brisket or pork, lasagna, prime ribs and more. Currently, the restaurant offers a banquet room upstairs for catered group gatherings, such as parties, rehearsal dinners, showers, luncheons, etc. At the new facility, their party room will seat 70.
Even though C-Town Wings closes during Mercer County Fair week, it is still a busy time for the restaurant staff. Why, you might ask? The owners use the week to clean the restaurant from top to bottom, and they also take their wings on the road. They open a C-Town Wings stand at the fair, offering a simplified menu featuring wings and sauces, as well as tenderloins, pulled pork sandwiches, and fries.
When C-Town Wings relocates, its kitchen space will almost quadruple in size. This will allow for a more extensive menu, and one item the Roberts plan on adding is pizza.
They also expect to offer a salad bar that will be available all the time, with more side dishes and some of their specialty items, like coleslaw and chicken salad. Soups will be available, too, and the owners hope to feature a hot bar with selections similar to what they provide when catering.
Another addition will be the new patio area outside for diners. During the building process, Kerry and Julia have tried to invest locally by hiring area construction contractors like Alexander & Bebout, Shinn Brothers and Selhorst Concrete to complete their new facility.
While there are many changes just ahead, the staff at C-Town Wings will continue its focus on offering great service. Kerry and Julia explain, “Service is number one. You can have the best food around, but if you don’t have good service, customers won’t come back.”
107 S. Main Street
Celina, OH 45822