By Amanda Renkiewicz
Step aside, Buffalo Wild Wings! There’s a new, local, BETTER option for those tasty wings that everyone craves. Meet The Wing Truck, headed by chef extraordinaire Samuel Plamondon. He is constantly developing new techniques and recipes for wings, fries, and sauces that will keep you coming back for more. With an emphasis on farm-to-table ingredients, he is passionate about supporting local farmers and finding surprising ways to use common ingredients.
Chef Sam began his cooking journey by earning a degree in culinary arts at the Great Lakes Culinary Institute. He’s worked at the Michelin starred State Bird Provisions in San Francisco, and has worked in restaurants in Chicago and Miami. Locally, he’s been part of Stella, Pleasanton Bakery, 9 Bean Rows, and the Boathouse. Gather Grand Traverse was able to snag an interview with the creative genius behind the Wing Truck to find out more about his chicken, his business, and his future plans.
Thanks for your time, Chef Sam! First, we have to ask: why chicken?
At 9 Bean Rows, I fell in love with Double L Farm’s chicken. I’ve cooked around the country and never found chicken this delicious. The chicken is raised in McBain, and I knew I wanted to focus on this product and feature it in some way.
What inspired you to dedicate an entire enterprise to poultry?
Chicken is delicious and approachable. Chances are, if you’re not a vegetarian or vegan, well-raised chicken is appealing to you. I feel that also applies to eating wings. It’s something approachable that people don’t think twice about enjoying. And I like the lowbrow concept of chicken wings because it allows me to sneak in some highbrow ingredients, techniques, and flavors without seeming pretentious or intimidating.
How’s your first summer of business?
Business has been good on the whole. Lots of repeat customers which I am really grateful for! We have come in slightly under projections, but we are growing consistently and that’s what is really important.
What are your plans for the fall and winter?
I’m going to keep the truck open as long as I can. I’m hoping the weather will hold out until mid-November. At that point, I’ll be looking at any winter festivals or opportunities to fire the things and slings some wings.
Any other interesting things to know?
I’m also very proud of my french fries. I punch and blanch them every morning! I spent considerable time at 9 Bean Rows researching how to make the best fries that I could, and these fries are the culmination of that work.
Find your (winner, winner!) chicken dinner, lunch or snack on the corner of Front St. and Boardman Avenue in Traverse City, right next to The Coin Slot. Open daily from noon to midnight!