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Ithaca Week

Ithaca Regains its Wings


By Avalon Singer and Madison Murnane

After closing its doors permanently in October of 2016, the Screen Shot 2017-03-27 at 10.18.18 AMlocal franchise of the chain Wings Over will have a surprise reopening this week under new leadership in Collegetown.

The new restaurant will be co-owned by four Cornell University graduates: Michael Wang ‘07 Raunak Nirmal ’14, Kevin Mok ‘14 and Dan Leyva ‘14. The four had fond memories of eating at the restaurant as students, and were disappointed when they saw it had closed on Facebook, Mok said.IMG_6107

“We saw a Facebook post and we were disappointed for ten minutes and then we started joking around about how we should buy it and then we had serious conversations,” Mok said. “In the next few days we contacted the old general manager, Mitchell Blinn, and now we own the place.”

Although the four co-own the restaurant, Leyva will be in charge of managing operations and will make frequent trips to the restaurant. The managers will be the same as those who managed the previous restaurant, though a new staff has been hired and trained at the new location. Levya said he and the new co-owners of Wings Over have been planning on opening a wings franchise, but did not expect for it to be back in their college town.

“It was always a dream of ours to open a wings franchise,” Levya said. “We all live in New York City so we thought we would openIMG_6111 one there, but when this came it just kind of fell in our laps and we weren’t going to pass this up.”

Wings Over Ithaca closed after previous owner, Bruce McPherson, was charged with grand larceny. McPherson is currently facing 26 felony charges for sales tax evasion. In court he pleaded not guilty to second degree grand larceny, second degree criminal tax fraud, four counts of third degree criminal tax fraud and 20 counts of first degree offering false instruments for filing. If convicted for these charges, he could face up to 15 years in prison in addition to other penalties.

The old Wings Over Ithaca was located at 335 Pine Tree Road, its move in location to Collegetown due to liens that the previous owner had on the property.  The new owners are also changing its location to be closer to the heavy population of of college kids, while keeping  IMG_6109  a parking lot for delivery cars so that students at Ithaca College and residents of the area can still be served.

Mok said that there is an excitement about the return of the restaurant to the area.

“We had a posted on Facebook yesterday announcing the opening and received over 40,00image10 views,” Mok said. “The managers have said that whenever they go anywhere in Ithaca, like Walmart or Wegmans, old customers approach them. Ithaca is excited for it [the restaurant] to come back.”

The new Wings Over will have the same 25 signature flavors, as it is a franchise, but the new owners are hoping to add a “flavor of the month” as well as some other items. After moving to America, co-owner Raunak Nirmal has always wanted to open a restaurant, and he feels that their venture is a great way to give back to his college community.

“Being able to be a part of it is a dream come true,” Nirmal said. “I’ve always wanted to have my own restaurant coming into America and now we are able to do it in Cornell where we went to school, so it’s just amazing to be able to give back.”

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