At Thanksgiving, people eat a lot. At Christmas, people eat a lot. But there’s a third event where great food is part of the festivities. It’s the Super Bowl and it’s coming up this weekend.
Some like to whip up their own treats to nosh during the big game, but many others prefer to let area eateries provide the feast and plenty of them have been cranking out great eats for days in preparation.
While the valley has plenty of popular restaurants, among the most beloved is the Windsor Inn in Jermyn which has been serving up the “world’s second-best hot wings” since 1977.
“We were the first place to serve hot wings outside the state of New York,” said general manager Gary Urnoski. “People venture in from all over the country to appease their curiosity about our wings. On an average week we sell ... 35 cases of wings.”
That number will be much higher this weekend.
“The majority of Super Bowl business is takeout and advance orders start coming in two weeks ahead of time. However, Friday through Sunday the phones won’t stop ringing.”
Urnoski said the Windsor staff makes about 320 gallons of wing sauce, puts about 20 cases of blue cheese into serving containers and cuts and proportions 15 cases of celery.
“And of course, we have to make room for about two tons of wings,” Urnoski added. “We will go through about 200 cases of wings Super Bowl weekend.”
“The Super Bowl has become synonymous with wings in recent years and therefore we are a part of the local tradition leading up to the big game,” said Windsor Inn owner Dan Cardell. “We know how much people in Northeastern Pennsylvania love football, and it doesn’t matter what teams are playing in the Super Bowl. It’s an excuse to get together with friends and family.”
“For us the Super Bowl starts about 2 weeks before the big game,” Urnoski said. “It’s a precision process that has been perfected through the years in order to accommodate the sheer volume. Our cooks will start firing up the wings at about 3 a.m. on Super Bowl Sunday. We will have four people just counting out wings.”
Orders will be staged throughout the dining room by 8 a.m. They will take up the entire dining area. The dining room is closed on Sunday and the regular menu is not available.
“We do keep our bar area open, however, so people can enjoy their wings with a cold draft,” Cardell said.
Pickup times for orders range from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and it is a constant flow of traffic the entire time.
“We will process between 600 and 700 orders that day,” Urnoski noted.
“Our staff takes pride in its execution on this challenging day and really make it happen with limited issues,” Cardell said. “It’s truly amazing to witness.”
But one question remains to be answered: why “second best?”
“Back in 1977,” Urnoski said, “we were the first place outside the state of New York to serve Buffalo wings. The concept all started shortly before that in Buffalo, New York at a place called The Anchor Inn. Out of respect to them the original owners decided to use ‘world’s second best’ as the slogan.”
It actually works well from a marketing standpoint,” Cardell agreed. “If we said we were the ‘world’s best,” nobody would ask the question. Second best always raises the question and engages the customer into conversation and we love to tell our story.”