Chucky’s Wings offers more than your typical flavors, hot to hotter
If there’s anyone in Valencia County who understands the concept of heat, you’d figure it would be County Fire Chief Charles Eaton.
You might want to take that into account when your bite into a Fire Man’s Red Hot or a Fire Lady’s Smokin’ Hot chicken wing at Chucky’s Wings, a cafe Eaton and his wife, Diane, opened in June in Belen.
“We saw a need and we’ve tried to fill it,” said Eaton. “There was no place to get chicken wings, like if you wanted to throw a football party. People were going to Albuquerque to get wings. We were going to Albuquerque to get wings. We figured, why not give it a try?”
Chucky’s Wings is in the old A&W Drive In at 721 N. Main St. in Belen, just north of Aragon.
Why Chucky’s, when you know every firefighter and friend in the county is going to pick up on that?
“We were trying out names, and Diane’s Wings wasn’t quite right. Chucky’s has kind of a fun sound to it, so that’s it,” Eaton said. “One of my friends asked, ‘Who’s Chucky?’ I just stared at him and after a while he said, ‘Oh …. Charles.’”
Diane runs the cafe with their daughter and her fiance while Charles takes care of his day job. When he’s off work, he comes in to help finish up and clean up.
“I don’t have much free time,” he said.
They have previous experience in the business as co-owners of Diane’s Diner, which they ran for about three years in Los Lunas.
Chucky’s features eight flavors of sauces for the wings, ranging from the Red Hot and Smokin’ Hot to a mild original, with an orange, lime and pepper, Hawaiian, honey mustard and barbecue in between. They also have a variety of dipping sauces.
In addition to the wings and boneless wings, the cafe offers chicken strips and steak fingers, sides and a variety of appetizers.
The response has been good, said Diane, who estimates she cooks up between 200 and 250 pounds of wings a week, with her biggest single order being for 500 wings.
“A lot of people have told us that our wings are better than Hooter’s, Wing Basket or Wing Stop (all in Albuquerque),” she said.
She attributes that to everything being made to order with fresh ingredients.
“Lots of people who used to go to Albuquerque for big orders are coming here now,” said Charles.
Part of their focus, he said, is speed. “Most regular orders are filled in 5 to 10 minutes.”
Chucky’s offers a small dine-in area, carry out, and a drive-up window, and Diane posts daily specials inside.
Hours are noon to 8 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and noon to 7 p.m. Sunday; closed Wednesday. Call-in orders can be made to 864-6557 or 864-6570.
If you’re wondering how many wings to order for your next party, Chucky’s recommends six to eight per person. And don’t worry about the Red Hot sauce.
Contact Dana Bowley