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Five Cheyenne Restaurants Impacted By Coronavirus Cases

in News/Coronavirus/Food and Beverage

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By Ellen Fike and Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

Employees at five Cheyenne restaurants have either tested positive for or are suspected of having the coronavirus, city officials announced late Tuesday.

The Cheyenne/Laramie County Health Department identified the five restaurants with employees who have tested positive for the virus or have been diagnosed with probable cases as Red Lobster, Buffalo Wild Wings, Accomplice Beer Company, Wyoming Rib and Chop House and the Tortilla Factory on South Greeley Highway.

Anyone who has visited any of those five restaurants in the last seven days and developed a cough, congestion, loss of smell or taste, headache or fever should contact their health care provider immediately, the department said.

In a Facebook post, Tortilla Factory said it will close its restaurant on South Greeley Highway until at least July 5 due to the employee’s diagnosis. Curbside pickup will still be allowed at that location.

“During this difficult time Tortilla Factory South appreciates the patience and understanding of our customers,” the post read.

Accomplice Manager Rory Sandoval also took to Facebook to address the situation, noting the restaurant would be closed until Thursday afternoon to allow county health officials to conduct proper contact tracing. Two employees from the brewery and restaurant tested positive for the virus.

“During the two days closed the brewery has been thoroughly sanitized,” Sandoval wrote. “County health officials have released some of our staff to return to work and many have been instructed to stay home for 10-14 days dependent on test results.”

Accomplice’s seating capacity and hours will be reduced due to the positive cases.

Kathy Emmons, executive director for the Cheyenne/Laramie County Health Department, said the department decided to share the names of the restaurants so patrons would be aware they might have been exposed to coronavirus.

“We were concerned about making sure that people who may have been in those restaurants, if they were to become ill, I don’t want them to just ignore those symptoms,” she said. “It’s kind of a public health heads up. We didn’t want to shame anybody.”

Emmons praised the restaurants involved for their willingness to work with the department.

“And I have to say the restaurants involved have been incredibly cooperative,” she said. “They’re concerned about their patrons and staff also.”

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Five-Star Cuisine At Miners & Stockmen’s Steakhouse in Tiny Hartville, Wyoming Is Worth The Drive

in Food and Beverage

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Mark DeLap/Guernsey Gazette 

HARTVILLE – It’s fine dining at its best and well worth the drive. From Nebraska. Or South Dakota. Or Colorado. Or one of the many other states people come from to experience this unique five-star handmade cuisine.

“It was incredible,” said Jessica Dudgeon who resides in Russell Springs, Ky. “And with the beauty of the area and the quaintness of the establishment, it was perfect. And… are all the people in Wyoming this friendly?”

Dudgeon, like most of the patrons who come to experience this out of the way gem, walked away stuffed, raving about the meal and carrying a doggy bag.

Scott and Christy Harmon who purchased the establishment from Scott’s sister and brother-in-law, have owned the business for almost seven years. The couple both grew up in Los Angeles and lived there most of their lives.

The move from one of the biggest cities in the world to one of the smallest was a dream come true for Scott. At the same time, it took some getting used to for Christy.

“He loved it, but it took me a little while,” she said. “Winter is entirely different here than it is in California. I didn’t know snow and cold, and I mean, this is a hearty place.”

Add to the change in climate the fact neither one had any experience in the restaurant business.

“I can remember as a child, we would take family vacations every summer to Jarbridge, Nevada,” Scott said. “It was a small town where everybody knew one another. We used to cook out and enjoy our family and it was always a dream to live in a town like that.”

The couple packed up, lock, stock and barrel and made the move. With that move there was the risky endeavor of running a fine-dining restaurant. In a town of fewer than 100 and where the closest big city is Casper, which is 130 miles away. The first question would be, “why?”

“We just figured we wanted to move out of California and my brother-in-law and sister had this place up for sale,” Scott said. “We came out and looked at it, and six months later, here we were.”

The previous owners, who transformed it from a burger joint to a steak house, began to gain popularity with the local clientele who really had no experience with fine dining establishments in the area. Due to health issues, a change needed to be made and that change came by way of the L.A. Harmons two years after it was initially put up for sale.

“My sister lives 10 miles up the road,” he said.

The business didn’t sell because, as Christy said with a laugh, “Buy a business in the town of 62 people. It is considered kind of risky. They tried to talk us out of it because it’s a restaurant in the middle of nowhere.”

According to Scott, his sister and brother-in-law had tried to talk the siblings out of the purchase “a whole bunch of times.”  He also mentioned it most likely wouldn’t have been a good thing for relatives to be involved in business dealings.

“What if it didn’t work?” Scott said. “And then they’d feel guilty and we’d be mad at them. It probably wasn’t the best idea, but we figured, what the heck, it’s semi-retirement. It’s only four days a week, right? But four days a week in a restaurant still turns into a 60, 70-hour week. Even if you’re only open 20.”

Although the establishment is open only Thursday through Sunday from 5 -10 p.m., the couple rarely has that retirement time off they had dreamed about. There are the other chores associated with owning a restaurant. Things like the books, ordering, payroll and upkeep and maintenance, which they also do themselves.

“We do repairs, cleaning, cleaning and cleaning,” Christy said in that dry sense of humor that helps when things are sometimes challenging.

“Also, 9:30 after feeding 70 people it’s a long day,” Scott added.

When the coronavirus hit and the Wyoming Department of Health mandated that all restaurants close, their venture got to be a little more of a risky business. The couple adapted and with quick thinking, began to think outside of the dining room.

“We started selling groceries and whatever we could get our hands on,” Scott said, and then Christy chimed in and augmented his statement, “Selling groceries, a little bit of take-out Saturdays and Sundays and breakfast burritos.”

Without missing a beat, Scott added, “I make the best breakfast burritos.”

The couple sold things on social media and by word of mouth. To their credit, it was difficult, but they never laid off their seven employees. They also credit their many loyal customers who have grown right along with the reputation of the successful business. They also have repeat customers coming from as far away as Casper, Scottsbluff, Cheyenne, Denver and Colorado Springs.

The coronavirus took a toll on every small business owner. Although it wounded this great establishment, they couple stuck together, laced up their bootstrings and not only made it through, but also stayed strong for a community in crisis.

The couple speak in perfect and fluent “Harmon” and are seamless in their conversation to others. The dream of the Harmon empire began for each of them in middle age.

“We didn’t meet until we were in our forties, although we grew up five miles from each other all our lives,” Scott said. “We grew up in Glendale about three miles from the Rose Bowl.”

When anyone relocates to the area and asks where to go for fine food and great steaks, the answer, more often than not is, “Miners in Hartville.” All to the credit of a couple that had never run a restaurant.

When asked who does the cooking, Scott’s smile goes ear to ear without him saying a word. Looking and acting more like a salty sea captain, you would never expect him to be the chef of steaks so tasty and mouthwatering.  He has two secrets he adds to what he knows about cuisine.

One, he is a perfectionist in everything from how to cut the lettuce to being able to add the “holy trinity of celery, onion and garlic” to his homemade soups.

Two, he is somewhat a prodigy when it comes to steak and preparing it.

“I’m kind of a perfectionist, I guess,” he said. “Everything has to be just right. I can’t take all the credit, though, we buy the best beef that we can. We buy only black angus prime, and the aging has to be right. I won’t touch a steak unless it has aged at least 35 days. And then I do my own additional aging and I can guarantee they are well aged.”

Taking also into consideration the area this business is in, they are competitive with their prices. Perhaps even 50% less than most bigger cities, and you get the entire meal with no add-on costs, with the exception of dessert and drinks.

The chef’s mentor was his grandfather who taught him how to cook.

“He didn’t own a place, but he was very particular about his meat and he always wanted me to help him cook,” he said. “Especially when he got older, and we did an awful lot of grilling. And then when the kids were in high school, they all wanted to start at our house so I could cook for them. Never know what high school kids are going to do, so it’s always good to send them out with a full belly.”

Although Christy half-jokes about the challenges of working together to run a business with a spouse, this couple makes it work. They have that uncanny ability to give you a fine dining experience with food that tastes as if it were prepared by the finest culinary chefs in the world, and yet they move in and out of the kitchen mingling and talking with guests, making sure things are perfect and it reminds you of eating at home with family.

Add to the taste of good food and friendly hosts, the ambiance of the Old Wyoming West complete with an 1800s jailhouse off the outside eating area and the fact that you are surrounded by legendary Wyoming hills.

One more item of significance is the fact that the huge ornately carved German-made bar, built in 1862 by four German brew masters, is the oldest bar in the state of Wyoming.

The word has gotten around and people are usually wall-to-wall.  It may be one of the best kept secrets in the west, located in southeastern Wyoming along the east slope of the Laramie Range which is the front range of the Rockies.

“You don’t need reservations,” Scott said, “But if you don’t you may not get a table.”

And not getting a table at this iconic restaurant would be tragic.

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Sheridan Police Release Body Cam Footage In Brewery Incident

in News/Coronavirus/Food and Beverage

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The Sheridan Police Department has released body camera footage detailing an encounter with a brewery owner last week.

On May 13, Smith Alley Brewing Co. owner Tiffany McCormick hosted a Facebook livestream where she told of an incident she had with Sheridan police earlier in the day.

McCormick told viewers that Police Chief Rich Adriaens and another uniformed officer told her that if her business didn’t comply with health regulations, it would be fined and its license could be revoked.

This was due to the fact that Smith wasn’t requiring her staff to wear face coverings, one of the 21 mandates required by Sheridan County and the state for restaurants and breweries to reopen.

In her original video, McCormick stated she wouldn’t ask her staff to wear masks, citing the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and the Americans With Disabilities Act.

On Thursday, a SPD spokesman countered that neither police officer threatened Smith with closure.

“We’re trying to seek compliance through education, warnings and citations as an absolute last resort,” Lt. Tom Ringley said to Cowboy State Daily. “When we got the complaint on Wednesday, Chief Adriaens and the second officer went and met with the owners to educate them on what the standard was and how they weren’t in compliance.”

In the video shared by SPD on Wednesday, Adriaens and the officer enter the brewery and begin talking with a manager, letting her know they received a complaint about staff not wearing masks. The manager confirms this and isn’t wearing a mask herself.

Soon, McCormick joins the conversation, asking Adriaens how he’s able to enforce and fine business owners. When he asks if she’s read the county order, she confirms she has.

“If you want me to write you a violation, if you want me to shut you down, that’s great,” he says. “We don’t want that. We just want you to comply with the order.”

When McCormick asks for clarification of which order Adriaens is referring to, he cites the variance issued for the county that allowed restaurants and bars to open.

She also inquires about HIPAA and ADA laws, stating that if an employee refuses to wear a face covering, she can’t question them or require them to do so. The police chief responded that McCormick also didn’t have to employ anyone who refuses to wear a mask.

The chief reiterates that if McCormick didn’t follow the rules, she would be in violation of the variance order and could be shut down.

In an interview last week, Ringley noted that the same day McCormick’s Facebook video was posted, a Sheridan officer on foot patrol checked in on the brewery and saw employees were wearing masks.

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Girl Scouts Of Montana And Wyoming Relaunch Cookie Program

in News/Food and Beverage

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The Girl Scouts of Montana and Wyoming have decided that the region needs a little more sunshine, or maybe a Samoa or two, to brighten its days.

On Friday, the regional council for the Girl Scouts relaunched their famous cookie program, distributing pre-ordered cookies and allowing for sales for the next couple of months.

Varieties up for grabs include Samoas, Thin Mints, Tagalongs, Do-si-dos, Trefoils, Lemon-Ups, S’mores and Toffee-tastic. Most of the cookies cost $4 per box.

GSMW spokeswoman Kristi Osterlund recommended finding a local Girl Scout to buy cookies from or checking out the council’s website for information on how to purchase cookies. It’s suggested that a credit card be used to pay for the cookies rather than cash.

There are around 9,200 Girl Scouts participating in the sales in both Wyoming and Montana.

While booth sales, where scouts sell boxes in front of stores such as Walmart, technically relaunch on Friday, there are likely going to be some changes to this approach, Osterlund said.

“A lot of stores have changed their procedures and the girls can’t set up booths outside of them right now,” she said. “The girls are going to have to get creative and figure out how to sell while taking proper precautions. We don’t know how things will change, but our first priority is the girls’ safety.”

She noted that the council ordered a large amount of cookies earlier in the year for scouts to sell door-to-door or through booth sales, so there are still “plenty” available to disperse throughout the two states. Osterlund added she wouldn’t be surprised if girls continued selling through the summer, due to the ready supply of cookies.

Customers were “very satisfied” with the relaunch over the weekend, with some finally receiving cookies after ordering them in early February, Osterlund said.

Although the program has relaunched and people are excitedly lining up to buy cookies, Osterlund wanted to remind buyers that there’s more to the purchase besides them receiving some delicious treats.

“I really hope people will think outside the box, literally and figuratively, when they’re buying these cookies,” she said. “But the money actually goes back to the scouts and provides programming for them. We also provide financial aid for girls who may not be able to afford certain things in scouting. We believe the Girl Scouts is an amazing experience for girls, so the money coming in from the cookie sales is going towards so much more than people can imagine.”

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Wyoming Craft Brewers Guild To Hold Virtual Festival Saturday

in News/Coronavirus/Food and Beverage

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Michelle Forster believes in beer.

As executive director of the Wyoming Craft Brewers Guild, Forster knows how important beer is to American and world history. Important life decisions have been made after having a frosty mug of beer. Beer brings people together. Beer is an essential part of American life.

So when the coronavirus pandemic began shutting down craft breweries across the state and country, Forster began to worry. The majority of taprooms in the state depend on onsite consumption. Whie the guild can provide some assistance for its members, with no funds coming in, it’s hard to have any go out.

But in the last few weeks, the guild has created something that might help out, if even for another month.

The Wyoming Craft Brewers Guild will host a virtual festival, “Keep WY Brewing,” on Saturday afternoon from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The festival is a fundraiser for the guild, since in its work to keep Wyoming craft breweries’ doors open, it now needs a little assistance itself.

Tickets range in price from a $10 general admission ticket to a $300 sponsorship.

It might seem strange to hold a virtual festival and charge money to attend it, but Forster said it’s been a unique event popping up in more and more states over the last few weeks.

“Every week, I talk with craft brew guild directors across the country and we’ve been trying to find creative ways to support the industry,” she said.

A general admission ticket will get an attendee admission to the event’s private Facebook page. The “gates” will open at 1 p.m. Saturday, with livestream chats, virtual tastings, virtual brewery tours, trivia and drinking games taking place throughout the afternoon. Anyone who purchases a VIP ticket will gain admission to the after-party Zoom chat that will be held from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

The organizers are encouraging Wyomingites to pick up some of their favorite craft brewers’ products curbside or to-go to sip while watching so they can properly join in the festivities.

Forster hopes the guild will raise around $2,000 in ticket sales from the festival.

“Craft breweries are in danger, some of them might not be able to open up after this,” she said. “Craft breweries are often centers of giving back to their community and we want to support them. They’re more important now than ever.”

The WCBG is a nonprofit founded in 2014. Its purpose is to engage, assist in and contribute to the enhancement of public awareness of craft brewing in Wyoming and to foster the relaxation of regulatory restrictions on the distribution of craft brewers’ products.

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Restaurants and Bars to Open in Goshen, Niobrara, and Uinta Counties

in News/Coronavirus/Food and Beverage

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

Three more Wyoming counties have won state approval for their plans to allow the limited operations of restaurants and bars.

The State of Wyoming has approved the variances requested by Goshen, Niobrara and Uinta counties to reopen bars and restaurants with certain restrictions. Also approved was a request to allow churches to hold services in Goshen and Uinta County — a request approved earlier this week for Niobrara County.

In Goshen County, the variance will allow restaurants, coffee houses, bars and similar businesses to serve their customers at outside tables, as long as certain safety measures are observed.

Those include limiting the number of people at a table to six, placing tables six feet apart, requiring staff to wear face coverings and disinfecting the business three times a day.

Goshen County also won approval for a variance to allow churches to operate even though the state’s ban on gatherings of more than 10 people remains in place until at least May 15.

Safety rules will require household groups attending services to remain at least six feet away from other household groups and will require church staff members having regular contact with the public to wear face masks.

In Uinta and Niobrara counties, restaurants, bars and similar businesses will be able to seat customers inside, as long as the same safety rules as those in place for Goshen County and others that have son approval for similar variances are observed.

State officials also approved Uinta County’s request to increase the limit on the size of groups to 20 people and to allow churches and funeral homes to conduct services under the safety guidelines.

In all cases, staff members at restaurants, bars and churches must be screened for symptoms of coronavirus and to determine whether they have been in contact with anyone with a confirmed case of the illness.

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Favorite Super Bowl Recipe in Wyoming? Ground Beef

in Food and Beverage

On Tuesday, Google released a list of the top recipes that Americans have searched for in the last week to determine the most popular Super Bowl foods in every state.

Just yesterday, we noted that cows outnumber people by a 2-1 margin in Wyoming.

So is it really a surprise that Wyoming’s favorite Super Bowl main dish has ground beef in it?

Some apparently think ground beef is boring.

One individual tweeted, “Just ludicrous that the whole state of Wyoming could only come up with ground beef as their Super Bowl recipe.”

Others on Twitter seemed to be genuinely offended at our favorite Super Bowl recipe.

“What the hell is Wyoming doing serving plain ole ground beef?” tweeted Mr. Ray785

“What the hell Wyoming? Just cooking ground beef and not doing anything,” said Anthony Merkle. 

Hey Anthony, how do you know we’re not doing anything with the ground beef?

I just Googled “ground beef recipes” and immediately found 70 recipes with ground beef in them like Cheeseburger Pizza, Pesto Bolognese Lasagna, and Grilled Cumin-Rubbed Hanger Steak with Smashed Minty Peas and Grilled Bread.

You read that right, Anthony. Maybe some of us are making Grilled Cumin-Rubbed Hanger Steak with Smashed Minty Peas and Grilled Bread on Super Bowl Sunday.

Sure, ground beef on its own may not be flashy. But let’s examine some other states.

Let’s start with our neighbor Idaho. Their favorite Super Bowl side dish? Potato.

Really, Idaho?

Another neighbor of ours – Nebraska – prefers Cream Cheese Jalapeño Hamburger. 

How is it even possible that a sizable number of people in Nebraska even know what that is? They say the N on the Cornhuskers football helmet stands for knowledge so maybe it’s correct.

Our neighbor to the north picks Bacon Shrimp as their favorite appetizer. That’s solid.

And New Mexico selects Green Chicken Enchilada as their favorite main dish. Another worthy selection.

But if Wyoming is going to be criticized for picking ground beef then the critics must denounce Alabama and Indiana as well. Chicken. That’s the best they can do?

Ground beef is ‘Merca. I know that because Sam Elliott says it is. It’s what’s for dinner. Wyoming rules.

Proposed increase in alcohol tax rejected by committee

in News/Taxes/Food and Beverage
alcohol tax

By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A bill that would have doubled the alcohol taxes in Wyoming was rejected on Wednesday by a legislative committee.

The bill lost by one vote, with seven members of the Joint Labor, Health and Social Services Committee voting against it and six members voting to move it forward to the full Legislature.

The bill considered by the committee during its meeting in Cheyenne would have doubled the excise tax on alcohol — from three quarters of one cent to 1.5 cents per 100 milliliters of wine, from 2.5 cents to five cents per 100 milliliters of spirits and from one-half cent to one cent per liter of beer — for three years. 

The money raised from the increase, estimated at $1.9 million a year would have been split, with half going to the Department of Health to fund behavioral programs that provide mental health and substance use treatment. The other half would have been used by the Department of Corrections for the purpose of providing mental health and substance use treatment for parolees and people who have been released from an institution. 

It would have been the first increase in alcohol taxes since the end of Prohibition in 1933.

Even with the increase, Wyoming’s alcohol taxes still would have been the lowest in the nation, Rep. Mike Yin,  D-Jackson, pointed out during the meeting. 

The discussion drew passionate pleas from both elected officials and members of the public, with Sen. Charles Scott, R-Casper, being one of the major proponents of moving the bill forward. 

“We’ve identified a real need for substance abuse treatment for the public and our inmates,” he said. “By identifying that need, we should fund it.”

According to a University of Wyoming study, alcohol abuse cost the state more than $840 million in 2010 due to lost productivity, health care costs and criminal activity.

However, some legislators simply did not support any tax increase.

Rep. Clarence Styvar, R-Cheyenne, admitted before the vote even took place that he would say “nay” to the proposed bill. 

“We don’t need to be taxing one group of people,” he said. “I said it last year when they tried to raise the tobacco prices. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: ‘No new taxes.’”

Others expressed concern that the tax income, once raised, might be used for purposes other than what were intended.

Mike Moser, executive director for the Wyoming State Liquor Association, argued other resources are available for those suffering from substance abuse and mental health problems.

“We’re asking responsible consumers of alcohol, the vast majority, to be forced to pay for substance abuse when so many of these cases don’t have anything to do with alcohol and mental health programs,” he said. “This isn’t apples and oranges. I believe we’re targeting a select, responsible few to cover the entire gamut.”

Moser also argued that the tax increase could hurt alcohol sales to “price-sensitive” Wyoming consumers and said those along Wyoming’s southern border might drive to Colorado to purchase their alcohol.

Wyoming is one of 17 “control states,” meaning that the state has a monopoly over the wholesaling or retailing of some or all alcoholic beverages.

Sen. Anthony Bouchard, R-Cheyenne, said the bill’s supporters seemed to imply that alcohol was bad, yet the state has a monopoly on selling it.

“We’re not saying alcohol is inherently bad,” Scott replied. “We’re saying that it has a risk and somebody has to pay the price of it. That risk should be taxed.” 

Beer tasting on tap in Saratoga on Saturday

in Travel/Food and Beverage

By Cowboy State Daily

Beer lovers with a taste for Wyoming and Colorado brews will want to head to Saratoga this weekend for the Saratoga Hot Springs Resort’s sixth annual Snowy Mountain Brewery Beerfest.

More than a dozen vendors offering up their beers and spirits will be featured at the beer tasting festival inside the courtyard at the resort on Saturday.

Tiffany Jones, the director of marketing for the Saratoga Hot Springs Resort, said the annual event will draw people from around the region, with some coming from as far away as Casper and Colorado to attend the event.

“We’ve had one couple from Rock Springs come to every one,” she said.

The day will begin at 10 a.m. with a golf tournament, which is open to the public, at the resort’s 9-hole golf course, which crosses the North Platte River several times.

The beerfest will begin at noon. Each attendee will pay $30 for a pint glass, decorated with the event’s logo, which can be used to sample as many beers as the holder wishes.

“Some beerfests only give samples,” Jones said. “We have no restrictions. We give you a pint glass and you can have as many beers as you like.”

The beerfest is named for the Snowy Mountain Brewery, which is located inside the resort’s main building and operates a pub there.

The beerfest will feature live music by Third Rail, a Cheyenne band performing country and classic rock.

This event is open only to those age 21 and over.

For more information, visit the Saratoga Hot Springs Resort’s website.

Laramie food truck wins top honors at national wing contest

in News/Food and Beverage

The owner of a Laramie food truck was recognized recently as creating the best traditional buffalo wing sauce in the country in a national competition held at the home of the buffalo wing.

Trent Weitzel, the owner of “Double Dubs” food truck, which specializes in wings, won four awards at the Buffalo Wing Festival held in Buffalo, New York, over the Labor Day holiday.

“The big one is the traditional medium sauce category,” said Drew Cerza, the celebration’s founder who has earned the title ‘Wing King.’ “That was the original sauce created in 1964 at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo. (Double Dubs) won first place in that. That’s a really good one.”

Double Dubs also placed second for traditional barbecue sauce and third for extra hot traditional sauce and claimed the event’s “rookie of the year” title.

For Weitzel, the appearance at the festival was the result of several years of work and a good word from a former customer.

Weitzel, who started his food truck business about six years ago, had contacted Cerza for the past four to five years to see if he could get a spot among the restaurants competing at the festival.

“At the end of the day, he didn’t have anybody to vouch for me for how good the chicken wings were,” he said.

So Weitzel contacted an old customer — former University of Wyoming Quarterback Josh Allen, who is now the quarterback for the Buffalo Bills football team — to ask him to put in a good word for him.

“(Weitzel) called me this year and said ‘Before you give me a no, hear me out — have you ever heard of a guy named Josh Allen?’” Cerza said. “Five minutes later, don’t I get a call from Josh Allen. And Josh introduces himself and says ‘I’m Josh Allen and I just wanted to put a plug in for my boys out there from Wyoming.’”

As a result, Double Dubs is the first food truck company to have competed in the contest, Cerza said.

Cerza said the most impressive award for Double Dubs was the first place for best traditional medium buffalo sauce.

The sauce must be based on the original recipe created in Buffalo, which was a mixture of Frank’s Red Hot cayenne pepper sauce and butter, Cerza said.

The sauce was one of eight Weitzel took to Buffalo for the competition.“All of the sauces I’ve created and made are 100 percent one-offs,” he said. “The original recipes and everything.”

Weitzel’s path to glory in the wing set began more than 14 years ago, when he started cooking wings in his back yard. He then expanded to providing wings for backyard barbecues and football parties before opening up the Double Dubs food truck about six years ago.

“My specialty is the sauces I create,” he said. “I tell people I’m retired. I really don’t work. This is a lot of fun to me.”

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