Dayton business owners to battle in chicken competition

Credit: Natalie Jones

Credit: Natalie Jones

Steven Earnest, owner of Lord of the Wings, and Michael Baxter, owner of Mother Clucking Chicken Coop, will battle it out in a chicken competition Saturday, March 4 at The Arena Sports Bar in Dayton.

“He said he has the best chicken (and) I said I have the best chicken, so that’s why we’re here right now,” Baxter noted. He explained they are longtime friends but have been going at it for two years. Now is the time to settle the debate.

Earnest said he is bringing 10 years of experience to the competition. He explained he started off cooking from home, renting out different bars to cook at in the area and eventually had his own brick-and-mortar in Clayton for a year. He currently caters.

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“I love different stuff,” Earnest said. “I just love pushing the limits.”

Earnest’s intriguing examples include cinnamon toast and taco flavored chicken wings. He believes the repetition of cooking his great-grandmother’s recipe is going to carry him through the competition.

“Repetition, how many hours you put in, does show,” he said.

Baxter, who started his food truck about a year ago, said he’s not afraid to compete against his friend.

“This is about to be real fun,” Baxter said.

Baxter explained that after attending culinary arts school he decided to open a food truck to continue his grandfather’s chicken tradition. He said his grandfather owned a chicken spot at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base for 20 years before he retired.

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Baxter credited his grandfather for teaching him “you have to be able to make someone smile when they eat your food.”

He also believes it will not be all about his sauces in the competition. He’s confident his chicken wings will stand alone.

The competition, which will include a panel of judges, will be held inside The Arena Sports Bar, located at 4515 Salem Ave., Dayton. The public will be able to buy tickets and try the wings themselves. The competition will cover five categories: Spicy Garlic, Plain, Barbecue, Specialty Sauce and Garlic Parmesan. Roughly 10 to 15 vendors are expected at the event as well.

The winner of the competition will get their name and one of their sauces on the other’s menu, they said.

Credit: Natalie Jones

Credit: Natalie Jones

Ty Bobo, owner of The Arena Sports Bar, said he is excited to host this event.

“We’re going to make sure they get that recognition they deserve,” Bobo said. “Honestly, they’re both going to be winners in the end because they’re making an accomplishment by even doing this because a lot of people are scared to do competitions.”

The trio told they hope to make this an annual event. For more information, visit the three businesses’ social media pages.

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