When Wing Zone opened in East Meadow in October of 2004, part-owner Matt Licht knew he had something special on his hands.
When Licht, along with co-owner Matt Dolan, opened a second “takeout-delivery restaurant” in Bellmore back in November of 2010, he realized it was something completely different.
"It's a unique concept," Licht said. "When you drive around here you have a lot of different restaurant concepts, but you don't really have too many takeout/delivery wing places."
There are 57 Wing Zone franchises across the country and in 2004, Licht and his father, Steve, brought their's to East Meadow. Steve ran the restaurant until Matt graduated from college two months after the grand opening. He explained that the location played an interested role in where they opened.
"While it wasn't as prime as we wanted it to be, the location from Hofstra was really one of the main reasons why we picked it," Matt Licht said. "A lot of Wing Zones throughout the country open up around large college campuses, mainly to be the alternative to late night food delivery other than pizza."
The Lichts eventually hired a delivery driver, who then began to do other things for them, such as close and manage.
The man who started as a delivery driver, was Dolan, who is now a part-owner with Matt Licht.
"He's as much a part of us getting to this point as anybody," Matt Licht said of his co-owner.
Eventually Steve Licht retired from the business, but his son, along with Dolan, bought him out to a certain extent. "Not completely," the younger Licht said. "... I took half, [Dolan] took 30 percent, and my dad took 20 percent."
"This store we opened up in Bellmore me and [Dolan] split half and half, and we still give my dad 20 percent," he added.
Customers can normally find Matt Licht at the Bellmore restaurant and Dolan in East Meadow, but the duo has found a true partnership with Wing Zone.
"Every once in a while we'll switch just to keep fresh places at both places and make sure that people know there's two of us involved," Matt Licht said. "But it's been a great relationship. We were lucky to find a good worker like that, that bought into the idea and concept that we bought into just by being a delivery driver and seeing the passion we had for it."
The one thing Matt Licht has tried to clear up about Wing Zone is that is should be considered more of a fast casual restaurant, not a fast food restaurant.
"We're not a fast food place, he said. "We're not a place that you would do instead of a McDonald's or a Burger King. We're a takeout-delivery restaurant."
The two owners have won over wing-lovers in the two towns so far, and will more than likely continue to expand in the future.