Fried chicken eatery satisfies gap in market

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Like a noble man of the people, Somas Kandajamy listened to what the voices told him and then he delivered … a crispy solution.

The time was right for Kandajamy to fire up fryers and open Alberta Wing Shack – a restaurant catering to chicken wings, fried chicken and quesadillas – in Banff.

For 20 years, Kandajamy has worked on the front lines of Banff’s customer service industry and he’s spoken to many visitors and locals alike about what’s enjoyable about the mountain resort town, as well as what’s missing from the expansive dining scene.

“I talk to my colleagues and guests always come and ask the questions, ‘How come there’s no fried chicken (restaurants in Banff),’ and ‘how come there’s not many different flavours of wings?’ “ said the owner of Alberta Wing Shack.

“I have always been a small business man and this is one that I wanted to market in town, so I waited for the right place and right time to start it.”

Banff’s fried chicken house, located at 101 Eagle Crescent in the east end, officially opened in November, and has a mandate to stand out from the crowd.

“Our main goal is all about chicken wings, fried chicken and quesadillas,” said Kandajamy.

However, there is a little bit more to it than carelessly tossing some battered chicken into a fryer, so Kandajamy hired chef Dante Tan, whose culinary background in crispy fried foods in the Philippines inspired the recipe for the fried chicken.

“(Tan) had a fried chicken business back in the Philippines,” said Kandajamy. “(Fried chicken) is very popular there; he even has his own recipe for it.”

Tan says the new restaurant fills a gap in the market in the mountain town.

“Everything we bring in is fresh and quality ingredients,” said Tan. “That’s why a lot of people are coming in already and enjoying the food. We make all the sauces and ingredients from scratch.”

Alberta Wing Shack also adds some locally inspired names to its made-from-scratch wing sauce list, such as ‘Town of Banff’, a butter chicken with pineapple sauce; ‘Town of Canmore’, a mild onion jalapeńo sauce; ‘Lake Louise’, a garlic sauce; ‘Mount Cascade’, pepper with crushed Cheetos; ‘Vermilion’, garlic sauce top with pineapple sauce, and ‘Mount Rundle’, an onion jalapeńo with butter chicken sauce.

“We have 30 different flavours (for wings) and everyone is trying them out,” said Kandajamy, adding they range from spicy to sweet to hot.

So far, Tan and Kandajamy agree the crispy chicken burger has been one of their hottest sellers.

“What people have liked about (the chicken burgers) is that we’re using real chicken breasts for them, not frozen chicken patties,” said Tan.

Chicken, though, is not the only food on the menu being served at Alberta Wing Shack. The Banff restaurant also offers a pulled pork barbecue sandwich and a variety of breakfast combos, including classic bacon and eggs and a veggie breakfast.

“I’m enjoying my new business,” Kandajamy said. “I love the small business, so we’re enjoying lots of feedback. I hope we keep growing slowly and doing good service and food for locals and guests.”

Alberta Wing Shack is open daily from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Banff home delivery is available from 4-11 p.m.

The restaurant also has a daily wing night for $6.99 per pound, starting at 3 p.m., which is only dine-in or takeout.

For more information, call (403)-763-0933 or visit www.albertawingshack.

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Rocky Mountain Outlook