Fazoli’s branches out from its Italian menu with new wings offerings

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Chain has a local connection: Its CEO of 12 years is a Kettering native

Fazoli’s — the Italian restaurant chain with a significant Dayton-area presence as well as a Kettering connection at the top — is now serving chicken wings alongside its traditional pasta dishes following an encouraging test-market response from customers.

Fazoli’s officials said in a news release the new wings will be available at most locations starting Wednesday, and some Dayton-area locations were already showing the wings as available on their online menu early this week.

Six of Fazoli’s 16 Ohio restaurants are in the Miami Valley: on Wilmington Pike in Sugarcreek Twp., on Miller Lane in Butler Twp., on Old Troy Pike in Huber Heights, off of State Route 741 in Moraine, on West Main Street in Troy and on East Main Street in Springfield.

And the Lexington, Ky.-based restaurant chain has another Dayton-area connection: its CEO since 2008, Carl Howard, is a native of Kettering and a 1983 graduate of Fairmont East High School. Howard was named among the most influential restaurant CEOs in the country in 2020 by industry publication Nation’s Restaurant News.

The wing concept, marketed under the name “Wingville,” will be available for dine-in, drive-through, online ordering and delivery. The wings come in either traditional bone-in or boneless options, and can be tossed in the diner’s choice of mild, medium, hot, honey BBQ, hot honey BBQ, Parmesan Garlic or Asian Chili sauce.

Based on the success it had in test markets, Fazoli’s is projecting its wing launch will generate an additional $2,500 a week per restaurant, Fazoli’s officials said in a release.

“Once we saw the shift to off-premise sales and the overwhelming growth of delivery, we put our foot on the gas,” Howard said in a release. “This is a challenging time for our industry, but instead of backing down, we continued to innovate and capitalize on opportunities."

The fryers used to prepare Fazoli’s wings will open up new menu possibilities. Plans call for testing items such as fried mozzarella skewers, toasted ravioli, Pasta chips and Italian nachos, the chain’s officials said.

Rick Petralia, director of culinary innovation for Fazoli’s said, “Though we are an Italian brand, we wanted to expand and explore new ways to innovate our menu to provide guests with something they’d never expect from us. Wings were an easy choice because of their popularity and ease of execution. They are a perfect expansion for our off-premise business."

Fazoli’s, which was founded in 1988 in Lexington, Ky., owns and operates about 220 restaurants in 28 states.

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