When James Arsenault of James’ Breakfast and More was offered a spot in the YMCA’s Wing Off this Saturday at Fusion 5 on Route 1 in Foxborough, he was more than happy to take part in the charity event, even if the dish of the night is not on his regular menu.
“I don’t even have wings on the menu but I know that I can make good wings,” Arsenault said.
After doing a few catering jobs for the local YMCA, Arsenault was invited to test his wings against other local restaurants. Also competing will be host venue Fusion 5, Twenty8 of Foxborough, the Chieftain Pub of Plainville, the East Coast Grill of Cambridge, and more.
Even without wings on the menu, Arsenault is not without the ability to make a tasty wing. In fact, he will be approaching the competition with a different strategy than most restaurants when it comes to cooking wings.
“I bake them, I don’t fry them,” he said. “I just take them from the raw and bake them for an hour and they come out nice and tender and juicy and I whip up my special buffalo sauce.”
According to Arsenault, baking wins provides a crispier wing that contains less fat compared to a fried wing.
It’s been a busy nine months for Arsenault who returned to the property after financial issues forced him to close the Roadside Café in 2007.
After a few years of work on the cooperate side of the business with the Cheesecake Factory and CBS Scene at Patriot Place, Arsenault returned to 850 Franklin Street to set up shop once again. Reopening a new restaurant, Arsenault was able to take what he learned on the cooperate side of the industry and apply it to run a more financially sound operation.
“The cooperate life was not for me," he explained. "I try not to bring in ingredients that are not used specifically in the menu and I try to make sure that when I do bring in a special ingredient that it’s going to be utilized, it’s not going to sit on the shelf because that’s money sitting on the shelf.”
There will be two titles on the line this Saturday night for the best wing and the most creative wing. Last year, King Street Café of Franklin won the title of best buffalo wing and Twenty8 took first place in the most creative wing category with their cranberry & sweet chili wing.
The Wing Off takes place on Saturday, September 15 at 6:30 p.m with a sampling of all the competitors from 7:00 p.m to 9:00 p.m. Tickets for the 21+ event are $20 and can be purchased at any of the Hockomock YMCA branches or at the door on the night of the event. All the proceeds from the evening will go to the Y’s Reach Out for Youth and Families Campaign. The Reach Out for Youth and Families Campaign provides a YMCA experience to more than 15,000 local children and families in need.