Epic Wings has been a local, family-owned and operated business for more than 35 years. Over that span, it has grown to include 20 stores (including three in south Riverside County and one in Mission Viejo), all of which are operated by different members of the family as well as franchisees. Until recently, they did business under the name Wings N’ Things, but a rebrand was instituted earlier this year. And while the new moniker will be applied to a soon-to-open twenty-first location, the family will need to come up with a new name for a brewing operation that will be sited there.
The upcoming store will be located at 1054 West Valley Parkway in Escondido. Like its sister venues, it will serve a variety of chicken wings and tenders, plus bread sticks and salads. However, this will be the only location to have a brewery under its roof. The decision to dive into the brewing game was made by co-founder Cathy Russo and her daughter Francesca, who, in addition to this project (which will go by the handle Epic Wings N’ Things), owns the company’s San Marcos store. That location features a bar with 10 taps serving a variety of craft beer, leaning largely to those produced by local breweries. The Escondido store will feature a similar bar, and its beer-making capabilities are a next-level representation of Russo’s faith in the appeal of local, independent ales and lagers.
“As an active member of the San Diego food-and-beverage community, beer has always been a passion for Cathy and Francesca. With the additional space at the Escondido location, she is excited to combine both of her passions, and create an exceptional guest experience,” says Julia Baker, Epic Wings’ director of marketing. When asked about plans for beer-and-food pairing, she bullishly replies, “Name a more iconic duo than beer and wings…I dare you. As the beer menu develops, Epic Wings plans on being creative with pairings and sauces.”
The restaurant component of the Escondido location is projected to open in early 2019. As far as the brewery, Russo and company are in the early stages of planning and still need to hire a lead brewer. Architecture for the brewery is the charge of Hauck Architecture, and the project is expected to be completed toward the middle of next year.
Epic Wings is the fourth established, San Diego-based restaurant chain to enter the brewing industry this year, following in the footsteps of the Brigantine’s Ketch Brewing in Kearny Mesa, Serra Mesa’s Hodad’s Brewing, and the Cohn Restaurant Group’s La Mesa work-in-progress, Draft Republic Brewing. Like the others, Epic Wings has no plans to nix beer produced by other breweries from its overall offerings.