The original iteration of Golden Flame Hot Wings has been around for over 20 years, with a handful of locations in the Aurora and Denver area, but it’s this fourth location that seeks to put the name on the map.
It’s here that Colorado Springs residents and co-owners James Robinson and Chris Perez, who own the new location with a third partner, hope to launch a franchise empire. The trio purchased the franchise rights from the Denver restaurant and opened the first concept three months ago at Stetson Hills and North Powers boulevards.
“And our plan is to, this is our first one, but open multiple in Colorado Springs, and maybe even in Denver too — our own — and then just start talking about franchising it,” says Perez, explaining: “Every store, if it goes according to plan, will have it’s own art unique to that city.”
3,000 people were served that first day, the duo says, with a line down the sidewalk. The concept is similar to a Wing Stop, with Golden Flame offering 14 signature sauces, potatoes cut in-house, multiple fry flavorings and local beers from Bristol Brewing and Pikes Peak Brewing companies. These are joined by frozen fried offerings like corn nuggets, fried mushrooms, Texas Toothpicks (onions and jalapeños), fried zucchini and the like.
“And I’ll add the cook from scratch theory there too,” Robinson says. “Chicken comes in fresh, never frozen. And we’re cooking to-order, pretty much. Obviously, the fryer’s going to be going non-stop during our busiest times. Drop it, 10 to 15 minutes cook time, average. Nice, big-sized chicken.”
Adds Perez: “We do have gluten-free items on the menu, gluten-free sauces, and our chicken is gluten-free because of the fact that it’s not breaded.”
Golden Flame treated the Report gratis, offering a chance to sample a variety of wing sauces. Your mileage may vary, obviously, with my being hosted, but I found the wings large and juicy, with sauces, all made in Aurora, offering bold, and sometimes addicting, flavors. The Mile Hi, a Cajun rub, is just insanely good on a plain, steaming wing; and the Colorado Fancy does smoky-sweet better than most barbecue sauces.
The restaurant also hosts a Wingback Wednesday, where any organization that wants to raise money can book the space and the restaurant will donate 10 percent of the profits raised from hungry fried-chicken eaters.
“It’s a wing joint through and through,” says Perez. “If you’re looking for healthy food, it’s probably not the best thing.”
[Images: Bryce Crawford]