With the help of Garces, Philly is getting hit with the WOW factor

Eddy Marenco

Philly is about to get hit with a huge WOW factor—that is, in the form of some southern-style cooking and one local culinary giant.

This summer, New Orleans’ famous World of Wings (WOW) is heading to Philadelphia as the start of a major national expansion. Ballard Brands is teaming up with Garces restaurants for this new ghost kitchen that will operate out of The Olde Bar in Old City.

“We are honored to work with one of Philly’s best hometown chefs and our partner, Jose Garces,” said Ballard Brands CEO Peter Boylan in a statement. “In a city where delicious dishes and big tastes rule, the introduction of the World of Wings marries fresh ingredients and world-renowned flavors with Garces-inspired sauces.”

For Garces, WOW is the second ghost kitchen to launch successfully out of The Olde Bar, which sits in the home of the once-famous seafood spot Bookbinders. WOW also follows the ground-breaking launch of Garces Trading Company – a giant ghost kitchen, online marketplace and corporate dining solution that debuted in November of 2020.

“One positive that came from pivoting throughout the pandemic and restaurant closures was our introduction to ghost kitchens,” said Garces VP of Operations Nate Johnson in a statement. “The idea of expanding our menu offerings while being able to scale operationally has provided new revenue streams for our group as well as a creative outlet for Chef. Introducing WOW to the market through the use of a ghost kitchen, and delivery-only menu, makes perfect sense.”

Eddy Marenco

This is just the start for the “soulfully authentic” cuisine in a partnership with Garces and around the country. Philly may be one of the first stops for WOW, but the brand plans on flying all over the USA with its fare.

But first, Philadelphians will be able to sink their teeth into the New Orleans flavor right here.

According to a release, with the expansion to Philadelphia, WOW will fire up its famous chef-crafted flavors and scratch-made sauces  and pair them with insight and inspiration from chef Garces. The company’s heart, soul and quality are the same whether the wings are served at a brick and mortar in the South, or they are arriving at front doors in Center City, Northern Liberties, East Passyunk or Old City. With the expansion also comes three new sauces inspired by Garces restaurants that stretch from the sandy beaches of the Jersey shore to the hustle and bustle of Rittenhouse Square and to the heart of Historic Philadelphia.

The first is a Village Whiskey Golden Hot Sauce, a mustard-based sauce with, as WOW says, just the right amount of heat. It’s famous in the Southwest and served at Village Whiskey on their smoked wings. For the Armada-inspired Espelette Hot Sauce, it pays homage to Chef’s time in Spain where the special Espelette Pepper originates. It’s a combination of a traditional hot wing sauce and a sweet and spicy sauce. The Espelette Peppers give it a unique and complex flavor profile not found in other peppers. Lastly, for the Ginger Garlic Chile Scallion Sauce, WOW looks at Okatashe’s menu in Atlantic City, New Jersey. This is Chef’s favorite Asian-inspired condiment which was developed while working on Okatshe menus. It’s described as more of a savory and umami-based sauce with mild heat.

There’s more than meets the eye with this new partnership. Other menu items take WOW’s signature tastes and give them a Philly spin with Chef Garces. Other dishes that can be delivered to your door include their Shanghai Tots (tater tots drenched in Shanghai Sauce and served with a side of ranch), Mac N’ Cheese (with Vermont White Cheddar), cheese fries, sweet potato fries and more.

For the meat of the menu, diners can choose between wings or tenders and all of the sauces that this new concept has to offer.

As the release states, founded in December 2001 in Covington, Louisiana, Paul Ballard had a dream for a restaurant that would connect with a broad segment of the casual dining market. Over the years, WOW has grown to 55+ locations in 25+ states creating loyal fans of New Orleans flavor.

Eddy Marenco

“It has been great collaborating with my partners at Ballard Brands to bring World of Wings to Philadelphia,” said Garces in a statement. “The process has allowed me to use traditional flavor profiles inspired by the Graces’ portfolio in all new ways. This new ghost kitchen launch, and our continued pivots, have set us up for future success, while expanding opportunities for our valued Garces employees. Any opportunity that lets me and the Garces team get out of the box, get creative and look ahead is a welcome one.”

WOW will fly the coop and head out to neighborhoods throughout Philadelphia starting on Wednesday, July 7. Hours will be Wednesday and Thursday, from 4 to 9 p.m., Friday, from 4 to 10 p.m., Saturday, from noon to 10 p.m., and Sunday noon to 9 p.m.

For more information, visit wowamericaneats.com