It’s been 12 years since Tricie Scholer and her family opened Wild Wing Café in a busy stretch of Washington Road. Some thought that, like its brew pub predecessor, it wouldn’t last much longer than a year.
Tricie and company proved the doubters wrong, however, and diners still fill up its massive parking lot several days a week to enjoy great food at a reasonable price while enjoying either a game on television or live music.
Despite their continuing success, Tricie said it was time to shake things up a little bit.
“Last year was kind of a slow year for us,” she admitted. “There was a lot of things happening in Augusta and we were sort of old. You don’t want to be old.”
How could they freshen up a restaurant so landlocked?
“We originally thought about putting something on the roof, but then we’d have to reinforce the ceilings and the whole structure,” she said. “So we decided to go out the front with an overhang just to keep it shady in the summertime. We wanted to build a nice structure and make it fun and appealing from the road as well as for the people who already know about it.”
What they ended up with is a massive front patio with a full bar, dining tables and eight televisions, as well as seating areas filled with outdoor sofas and chairs. Giant pots of plants turn what could have been a very sterile atmosphere into one with an inviting feel.
“We wanted it to have a tropical look, which I think it does,” Tricie said. “It just doesn’t go overboard. It’s just a relaxing atmosphere that kind of goes with the rest of the building.”
The idea for the new deck didn’t come from out of the blue; after all, Wild Wing has fenced in and used that space for additional seating and a second stage each year during Masters Week. And they will continue to do that come the first week in April.
“Having a porch is a really nice thing,” she explained. “We have that side porch, but it’s kind of closed in and we can’t make it any bigger because of where it is, so we just though it would be nice to make this more like what we do for Masters and use it year-round. We’re still going to have a stage out here. It’ll be in the same place. We’ve made the fencing so we can pull out the two center areas and we’ll still fence in the outside temporarily so we’ll be able to use the whole area (during Masters Week). But it looks a whole lot more festive and inviting now.”
And it’s still family and children friendly.
That’s one aspect of running the restaurant that’s always been very important to Tricie. Wild Wing is, of course, known for its bar, its coverage of sports (especially football), its live music and, of course, its bar food. Seriously: Can you imagine a trip to Wild Wing without a beer and wings slathered in one of their 33 sauces? Families, though, make up a good bit of their business.
It’s for good reason, too. Their Wild Child Menu is extensive, containing 10 items where other places only offer two or three. And while Wild Wing has always welcomed the chaos that can come with tiny diners, the addition of the patio area offers parents even more freedom.
“We wanted it to be a place where people could bring their kids,” she said. “You have to allow smoking outside, but we try to keep it on the far sides so that people don’t have to worry if they sit over here with their kids. And the kids have enjoyed it. They love it when we have music out here, too. Even when the football games are going on you can have somebody with a guitar playing over there; Mom and Dad can watch the game and the kids can watch the band. It’s pretty awesome.”
The construction of the new patio has taken a little bit longer than expected and, while it’s been open a couple of weeks, Tricie says they’re still not quite done. Patrons may notice an off-duty firefighter stationed on the deck while they’re eating, and one will be there until the new sprinkler system is up and running, hopefully in the next week.
Despite delays, Tricie says they’re happy to be able to have something new to offer their customers at the perfect time to enjoy a football game outside.
“It was worth the wait, I think.”
Wild Wing Cafe
3035 Washington Road
Open seven days a week, lunch and dinner