Sort-of Secret: Centre Ice Hot Wings, a chicken wing pop-up run out of a burger joint
A series that shines a spotlight on the city’s hidden edible gems
The sort-of secret: Centre Ice Hot Wings, the chicken wing project of chef Jesse Fader
You may have heard of it if: You’re a fan of any of Fader’s other culinary projects, which include Superpoint, Extra Burger and A1 Subs
But you probably haven’t tried it yet because: Centre Ice Wings are only available on Mondays
Jesse Fader says he’s been “nerding out” over chicken wings for the better part of a decade, and he’s come to one important conclusion: “It’s all basically hot sauce and butter, in one way or another.” The simpler, the better, in other words. That’s why Centre Ice Hot Wings, Fader’s new Mondays-only chicken wing venture, offers only three flavours: classic Buffalo, lemon pepper and a suicide dry rub—all tested to perfection, of course.
Fader started selling wings out of the kitchen at Extra Burger in mid-February. “Extra Burger is closed on Mondays,” he says, “and I figured, why not?” But Fader will only be selling his wings every other week, citing “takeout fatigue” as the reason why he’s decided against a weekly wing drop—there are plenty of other delivery options worthy of a fair shake in the city right now, Fader says. And personally, he doesn’t want slinging wings to start feeling like a chore. “Whether this grows and turns into a business or fizzles out in the summertime, I want to do it because I enjoy doing it,” he says.
Centre Ice gets its name from the venues in which downtowners are most likely to find themselves tucking into a pound (or two, or three…) of wings: in Fader’s words, “some kind of sporting complex, or at least a dive bar that sometimes has sports on the TV.”
Wings, which are deep-fried, not baked, are paired with celery sticks and ranch dressing, and noshers can also order crinkle-cut fries as a side. The wings are gluten-free—but not for any other reason than Fader found a combination of tapioca starch and rice flour added the right amount of crunch. Wings, which can be ordered via Resurva, are available in two size formats: two pounds for sharing, and an eight-wing solo option with fries and a drink. Though Fader is quick to note that single diners shouldn’t feel constrained to a mere eight wings: “I feel like one person can put back two pounds,” Fader says.
And while wing orders are evenly split between drums and flats, Fader says this isn’t for equality. “Flats are obviously the best, and I know it’s controversial to think so, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong,” he says. “And I feel like you do need to eat a drum — but only to remind you that a flat is superior.”