By Janet Stoica
“We’re definitely wingin’ it!” said owner Abel Lopez of his new restaurant venture in Webster. The former home of the original Just Wing It food venue continues with the original name and a delicious variety of chicken wing offerings, but Mr. Lopez is also introducing the wonderful and varied flavors of authentic Spanish food to the local populace.
“We have no competition here in Webster” said Mr. Lopez. “We’re hoping that our unique menu additions will have the town talking.” And, indeed, he seems to be right. Mr. Lopez has a steady stream of regulars who enjoy his mom’s, Mrs. Nery Lopez, creations. Her dishes are strictly comfort food and the rice with pigeon peas is excellent. The peas are nutty in flavor and are a great accompaniment to the moist, flavorful rice. The four choices of meat that can be plated with the rice side are smoked pork shoulder, steak, chicken breast, and beef, all sauced and spiced with family recipes.
“My mom arrives here and cooks daily from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.,” said Mr. Lopez. “She really enjoys what she does. Her specialty is pernil, slow-cooked pork shoulder, which is nicely seasoned and fall-apart tender.” Cooked in their ovens for 5-7 hours, the pernil’s seasonings include garlic, onions, adobo seasoning, salt, pepper, garlic paste, and vinegar.
Mrs. Lopez also specializes in savory rice dishes, stewed chicken breast, and beans. Empanadas (little meat pies) are on the Spanish menu too. “She cooks just enough for our daily offerings,” he said, “because everything is fresh-made. Once we run out, that’s it until tomorrow’s batch.” At day’s end, if there is any leftover food, Mr. Lopez packages it up into individual containers and donates it to local homeless people.
Don’t go away yet though. Just Wing It still has many delicious flavors of their tasty chicken wings too, like garlic parmesan, mango habanero (really good), lemon pepper, BBQ, honey BBQ, buffalo, and, of course, a Spanish-style complete with secret seasonings. Small orders include 6 wings and the large have 12 pieces.
Other American-style dishes are fish and chips on Fridays and Saturdays for $10.95 (with an experimental Spanish-spice battered version currently in the “testing stages” which sounds greatly promising), broccoli bites with bacon (doesn’t everything go better with bacon?), and a breakfast menu that you wouldn’t believe.
Breakfast is served daily from 5 a.m. to noon, courtesy of Alexis Weaver at the grill. She can whip up the customary breakfasts of eggs with bacon, ham, sausage, or kielbasa to the most interesting combos of pancakes and French toast including good-sized three-egg omelets filled with your choice of breakfast meats. Vegans are most welcome customers too. Mrs. Lopez makes the homemade corned beef hash from scratch and they do offer a good avocado toast. Breakfast sandwiches are served on bulkie rolls, croissants, bagels, or English muffins. “You just have to try the Oreo-stuffed French toast with chocolate syrup,” said Mr. Lopez. “Other good sellers are the S’mores pancakes, breakfast burrito, and steak and cheese omelet.”
Just Wing It has plenty of beverages to choose from, including coffee; tea; orange, apple, cranberry, or tomato juices; chocolate milk, strawberry milk, and water.
“My dream was to open my own restaurant like this one,” said Mr. Lopez, “and here I am with my family, my mom who is a great cook, and a great breakfast chef. Business has been steady from opening day in August.
Mr. Lopez’s family is from Puerto Rico and he was born and raised in Worcester. While at North High School, he was quite an athlete playing baseball, basketball, and golf. After graduating from North High, with his last job as a delivery driver for Pete’s Tire in Webster, the opportunity of Just Wing It arose and he punched his ticket for his new venture.
He is a single dad with three children aged 14, 11, and 5. “They’re all great kids,” he said. “And maybe one day they’ll be helping me here.”
Mr. Lopez’s motto is the customer comes first and he realizes that if it were not for the wonderful people of Webster and surrounding communities, his business wouldn’t be thriving like it is.
The restaurant is 100% COVID-compliant. Just Wing It is at 548 South Main Street, Webster; Phone: (508) 461-7272. Hours: 5 a.m. – 7 p.m., (or until the daily specials run out).
Janet can be reached at [email protected]