The Downtown Trinidad Development Group recently announced The Wing Pit as the newest tenant to open inside the Food Court at the Marketplace at 326 N. Commercial St., expanding their dining options.
The new business opened over the weekend on Saturday, Dec. 12. The eatery’s menu offers spicy chicken wings, sandwiches, wraps and other specialty items made-to-order and with fresh ingredients.
The Wing Pit is owned by husband and wife team, and Trinidad residents, Andrew and Beth Stevens. The restaurant is a passion for Andrew Stevens, whose love of food was influenced early on from his grandmother. She was a master cake decorator who had a dream of one day owning a small coffee shop or bakery attached to a restaurant. Due to his grandmother’s encouragement and recognition of his talent, Stevens chose to pursue a career in the Culinary Arts.
Coming from diverse backgrounds, each bring their own unique experiences to The Wing Pit. Andrew Stevens attended the Culinary Institute of Michigan and has previously worked in the industry as the head chef of a North Carolina hospital. Beth Stevens brings a business and management career to the table; she was the GM of a Michigan McDonalds for over a decade, and currently works as a Corrections Officer.
Andrew Stevens and General Manager Willie Bland will be operating The Wing Pit, with plans to hire approximately five local part-time employees. Bland, previously the owner of a local barbecue establishment in Raton, New Mexico, brings his own flavor of experience and leadership to The Wing Pit.
The vision for The Wing Pit began when Andrew Stevens visited the Food Court at the Marketplace for the first time. After speaking with the owner of Mario’s Tacos, an establishment within the Food Court, Stevens became interested in space available for a new tenant. Seeing the need for local, fresh wings, and in keeping a promise by he and his brother to fulfill his grandmother’s longtime dream, Stevens decided to open The Wing Pit.
“I wanted to create a small-town version of larger, national wing restaurants,” said Stevens. “I found that the residents of Trinidad aren’t drawn to large chain restaurants, and value small businesses. The Wing Pit will emphasize superior taste and a personal experience with each order. I want to provide my customers with fresh, quality, food.”
The Wing Pit’s menu will feature only fresh ingredients, Stevens explained. Chicken wings will also be given a homemade special brine before cooking to provide tenderizing and add to the flavor. Additionally, he explained that all menu options are flexible to suit a customer’s custom order.
Among other menu items, there are a variety of different flavored wings, both boneless and bone-in, and a specialty dish, “The Fire Pit”, which are fries covered in creamy buffalo sauce, avocado ranch, jalapenos, boneless buffalo wings, and cheese. The Wing Pit will also serve homemade ranch and jalapeno BBQ sauces. Stevens said he plans to keep dreaming big.
“I want to build a brand, not just a restaurant,” said Stevens.
To represent its brand, The Wing Pit will have its own mascot named “Wally the Weasel,” which was created by Andrew Stevens, who is also an artist. He expressed that he imagines him as a “chicken hungry cowboy weasel.”
Beyond art, Andrew’s other interests include the outdoors, his faith, and supporting the community.
“I just love helping people, and I’d like to do that through this restaurant,” said Andrew.
Future goals for The Wing Pit include franchising opportunities in other small towns such as Walsenburg, La Junta and Canyon City. Ultimately, Stevens hopes to grow into a series of businesses large enough to support a warehouse location where the restaurant could make its own brand of sauces and dips.
“You have to have dreams and you have to have goals to be successful,” said Andrew Stevens.
Hours will be Monday-Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and closed on Sundays. Future patrons can visit in-person and for those preferring not to dine in, ordering online at TheWingPit.com is available for curbside pickup and delivery. The mobile app “THEWINGPIT” on Google Play or Apple Apps will feature coupons, specials, and a rewards structure for returning customers. Follow them on Facebook @Thewingpitllc.