Wings, Beer, Spoodles: How a Buffalo Wild Wings Preps for Super Bowl Sunday

Lots of this.
Lots of this. Photo: Shutterstock

Super Bowl Sunday is one of America’s great food holidays, a chance for everyone to gorge on nachos, burgers, and, of course, chicken wings. Bars and restaurants around New York have to carefully prep and plan to be ready for the onslaught of customers. Nowhere is that more true than at the new 17,000-square-foot flagship location of Buffalo Wild Wings in Times Square, which occupies a full five floors of real estate. Grub talked to general manager Amedeo Agresti to see how the team gets ready. Turns out something called a “spoodle” is involved.

So, is Super Bowl Sunday as crazy as I’d guess?
It is pretty intense. It’s our busiest day of the year. We sell millions upon millions of wings that day, chainwide. This is our first year here in this store, but we’ll do a tremendous amount. We have a preorder book that we start at the beginning of the month. It’s about three quarters full now. And we’ll have a whole separate space — a whole dining room — for people to pick up their orders.

Whoa. What about people who want to eat-in?
Well, this location has five floors. Five different dining rooms. We can fit over 500 people. We’re estimating that we’ll be at capacity by 6:30. I would recommend people get here early. We’ve got a 400-inch phosphorous-coated project screen in the main dining room. It makes a person look four times larger than they normally are.

What do you have to do in order to prepare for so many people?
We started prepping for Super Bowl at the beginning of the month. We got aluminum trays for the larger orders, tongs, spoodles …

Did you say “spoodle”?
Yeah, it’s like a ladle. Not exactly a ladle, but …

Like those oversize serving spoons?
Yeah, like a big spoon.

I’ve never heard that before.
It’s an industry term.

Okay, what else do you do?
We order a lot of extra napkins, take-out plasticware. We started getting this stuff in about two weeks ago. Super Bowl is always preceded by one of the largest UFC events of the year, so we started last night, prepping durable goods, getting to-go condiments ready. We’re assembling those now. And then we got all the frozen stuff in at the beginning of the week and all the fresh stuff came in today. We have a handful of sauces that we can do ahead of time. Everything but the wings and the produce. It’s about a dozen extra people helping to get ready just for takeout.

So how many wings do you have in the kitchen right now?
We’ve got a couple hundred cases of wings. We have 120 to 130 gallons of sauces, forty to 50 gallons each of blue cheese dressing and ranch dressing.

How many wings are in a couple hundred cases?
A standard case has 40 to 50 pounds of wings. They’re fresh, never frozen, so it varies. We can have 240 to 250 wings in a case.

So that’s at least 40,000 wings.
Yeah, that’s a good estimate.

What’s it like in the kitchen, day of?
We’ll have everyone on hand. About two dozen folks. There’s the chicken shakers, the wing droppers — they’re in charge of cooking the wings. Taggers and baggers — they label the boxes and pack them to go. There are grill cooks, chip cooks — they do appetizers and stuff.

I think I’d want to be a shaker.
Spinners have the most fun.

There’s a whole line of sauce pumps. They take the bucket and a lid and they’ll prime it with the sauce that’s going on the wings. They drop the wings in there and start spinning the bucket clockwise till the wings flip and are all coated with sauce.

Sign me up! How early do you have to get started on Sunday?
I’ll be in by eight in the morning to get ready. We’ll have all our cooks in by ten or eleven. We have people picking up orders by 11 a.m., then the wings start flying pretty intensely at two.

Wings, Beer, Spoodles: How a Buffalo Wild Wings Preps for Super Bowl Sunday