What’s hot and has 10,000 wings?
A typical day at Chuck’s Big-Time BBQ at 1980 N. Olden Ave. in Ewing, where Khaled Fouad and partner Ahmed Ahmed Jr. serve up buffalo wings all day long, like they’ve been doing for 14 years.
With football season coming up, Fouad said he expects to fill orders of thousands of wings at a time.
“You lose count,” he said. “We work all night long. Preparing for game day is a 48-hour operation, 72 sometimes.”
It all depends on who’s playing that night. The business at the Big-Time BBQ seems to point to an answer to the eternal question of whether Ewing orbits Philly or New York when it comes to football fandom.
“If the Eagles are doing good, that’s the best for me,” Fouad said.
There’s a much smaller contingent of local Giants fans, he said, and it’s not unheard of for Chuck’s to be the site of heated arguments between fans wearing different jerseys. But it’s all in the name of fun, he said.
“It’s a fun atmosphere, you know?” he said.
Fouad said he never watches football games himself because he’s always too busy making wings during them. But he could probably tell you the entire history of the sport, because of endless conversations with football fans.
Fouad and Ahmed came to America from Egypt 14 years ago, right out of school, and decided to go into the restaurant business. But first they had to decide what to serve. “I checked around sports games and saw what people were eating,” Fouad said. “I talked to people, and I would say 90 percent of them eat wings. I saw a demand for it.”
There is no “Chuck,” and there never was. Fouad and Ahmed started the restaurant from scratch.
Fouad bought a buffalo sauce recipe from a place in Buffalo, N.Y., and set up shop in the Olden Avenue store. (Google Maps incorrectly lists his address as 1980 S. Olden Ave.) He said he would not reveal the secret to making great wings.
“It’s in the recipe,” he said.
The most popular sauce is “medium.” It’s tangy and spicy, but the heat isn’t overwhelming. For truly masochistic customers, Fouad said he’s happy to custom-make sauce as hot as needed.
Whatever the recipe is, it’s working out for Chuck’s Big Time BBQ. Fouad said his customers come from far and wide, including at least one regular from New York City. Most of his wings customers are in Ewing and Trenton, however. Because Chuck’s is open late (10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday) it also attracts a late-night crowd of college students from TCNJ and Rider.
He also caters corporate events. The biggest order he ever got was for 3,200 wings, from a pharmaceutical company.
Fouad and his staff make everything at the shop, including several types of Buffalo sauce ranging from mild to hot, and the blue cheese dressing that goes with it. They sell the sauce in bottles too, if you want to make your own buffalo creations.
Although the classic formula has worked for 14 years, Fouad said there’s a new item on the menu challenging classic hot wings in popularity: grilled wings. As opposed to the traditional deep-fried version, the grilled wings are lower in fat. Fouad said customers are welcome to drop by and sample the grilled variety. For more information, call (609) 882-2140. Chuck’s is located at 1980 N. Olden Ave. in Ewing.