Do you remember the Taqueria del Sol, the quick serve sort-of-Mexican restaurant that opened on south Orange Avenue right about this time in 2012? You'll be forgiven if you don't because it closed less than four months after that opening.
It was a new franchise to the area, owned by a veteran franchisee, Les Hatter, who had better success with his Five Guys burgeries.
The the space has been taken over by another franchise operation that is new to the area, East Coast Wings & Grill. It's a business that was started in Winston-Salem in 1995 and started franchising about 10 years ago. As the name would suggest, wings are the main focus of the menu, or at least they were when the restaurant was started. The & Grill were added to the name to widen the menu options. Smart move, if my experience is any indication.
I stopped in for a lunch visit a couple of weeks ago. I knew that I wanted to try the wings — had to try them, actually, because one wouldn't go to a place named House o' Beef and order a fish sandwich. Or chicken wings, for that matter.
But because I rarely find chicken wings to be filling enough, I also ordered a burger, justifying it with the & Grill designation.
The wings menu boasts "The Magnificent 75 Flavors," a phrase the owners apparently felt the need to trademark. You know, just in case Baskin-Robbins got any wild ideas about expansion. The menu's heat index (not trademarked) lists virgin, medium, hot, x-hot, volcanic, lava flow, magma, inferno and insanity. I'm not sure what the nuances are among the volcanic, lava flow and magma indices, but I'm sure they're subtle. I will not comment on virgin.
Despite the 75 flavors and the 10 scales of heat and all the mathematical variations, my server did not ask which flavor I wanted. And regarding the spiciness, she asked only mild, medium or hot.
I requested hot. A virgin would have been just fine with them. There was little heat in the sauce that coated the wings, a combination of wingtips and drummies. The wings were served with a side salad, and the blue cheese dressing I requested for the salad served double duty for the wings. As far as wing joints go, the presentation here was quite nice.
However, I found the bacon cheeseburger to be a better option. The patty had been cooked to the requested medium-rare, the rashers of bacon were thick and leant a smoky flavor, the cheese oozed nicely, and the bun was toasted. Even the fries that came with it were good, with a pleasantly crisped coating.
Service was marginal. The dining area is separated from a bar and lounge by a glass partition. The feel of the dining area is one of a fast food restaurant rather than a full-service operation, though it is comfortable enough.
East Coast Wings & Grill is at 3138 S. Orange Ave., Orlando. (There is another location at 588 S. Alafaya Trail). It is open for lunch and dinner daily. The phone number is 407-930-0830 (407-208-9464 Alafaya Trail).