The King of Wings has been named, and it’s Wellington’s Red Iron Bar and Grille, 137 West Herrick Ave.
The decision was announced Aug. 1 during the Lorain County Commissioner’s weekly meeting following a contest that ran from June 22 to July 1.
It was the first time Red Iron had ever thrown its hat into the mix, said owners Red and Kathi Sutton.
The Lorain County Visitors Bureau contacted Main Street Wellington and asked who had the best wings, said Red. “They said it’s Red Iron. We decided to try it and we won.”
The couple bought and rebranded the site in 2009 but said it has operated as a bar since 1880.
A buffalo-parmesan-garlic hybrid sauce dubbed “Red Iron Smitty” was chosen as the entrant and caught fire among customers who sent in feedback to the contest.
“We’ve served the Red Iron sauce since we opened and an old regular customer named Smitty asked if we could add the other two ingredients to it,” she said. “That was about five years ago. We decided to name it after him. People tried it and loved it after he started ordering it.”
The Wellington eatery faced off against seven other area establishments: Lorain’s Mutt and Jeff’s, Oberlin’s Brickyard Bar and Grill, Avon Lake’s Just One More, Elyria’s Foundry Kitchen and Bar, Vermilion’s Your Pit BBQ, the Avon Brewing Company, and the Erie Burger Company of Avon Lake.
The big win has led to a sudden uptick in business, said Kathi.
“The Friday and Saturday after we won were insane,” said Kathi. “Wednesday and Thursday were good, but not crazy like that. We have no idea what to expect over the weekend. We’re prepared either way.”
A King of the Burgers contest is set to be held by the visitors bureau this October and the Suttons are ready to fight for another county crown.
“We haven’t decided on which burger we’ll enter yet,” Kathi said. “We’re leaning toward a couple of different ones but it’s a little early to give that away.”
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.