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updated: 8/29/2011 11:48 AM

Franks for the Memories taking famed wings to Buffalo for contest

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  • Jim Schultz, owner of Franks for the Memories in Mundelein, will represent his joint and all of Illinois in the National Buffalo Wing Festival in Buffalo, N.Y., over Labor Day weekend. Schultz will enter three wing sauces in the fest's Sauce Off.

       Jim Schultz, owner of Franks for the Memories in Mundelein, will represent his joint and all of Illinois in the National Buffalo Wing Festival in Buffalo, N.Y., over Labor Day weekend. Schultz will enter three wing sauces in the fest's Sauce Off.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Mundelein's Franks for the Memories will compete in the $START_URL$National Buffalo Wing Festival in ;http://www.buffalowing.com/$STOP_URL$Buffalo, N.Y., over Labor Day weekend. Franks is the only Illinois restaurant participating in this year's competition.

       Mundelein's Franks for the Memories will compete in the $START_URL$National Buffalo Wing Festival in ;http://www.buffalowing.com/$STOP_URL$Buffalo, N.Y., over Labor Day weekend. Franks is the only Illinois restaurant participating in this year's competition.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • References to Buffalo, N.Y., hang on the walls of Franks for the Memories in Mundelein. The wing joint will participate in the $START_URL$National Buffalo Wing Festival;http://www.buffalowing.com/$STOP_URL$ in Buffalo over Labor Day weekend. Franks is the only Illinois restaurant in this year's competition.

       References to Buffalo, N.Y., hang on the walls of Franks for the Memories in Mundelein. The wing joint will participate in the $START_URL$National Buffalo Wing Festival;http://www.buffalowing.com/$STOP_URL$ in Buffalo over Labor Day weekend. Franks is the only Illinois restaurant in this year's competition.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Video: Jim Schultz on national contest

 
 

Mundelein restaurateur Jim Schultz Jr. will represent his renowned Franks for the Memories joint -- and all of Illinois -- in the National Buffalo Wing Festival over Labor Day weekend.

"We're going to the big show," said Schultz, who has run Franks since his father, the stand's founder, retired in 2004. "This is the big rodeo."

Now in its 10th year, the festival will run Sept. 3-4 at Coca-Cola Field in Buffalo, N.Y. Franks is the only Illinois restaurant scheduled to participate.

The festival is a serious affair: At last year's event, an estimated 71,000 attendees ate 500,000 wings. That's roughly 33 tons of spicy, sticky poultry parts.

"It's our signature food and we're very, very proud of it," said Peter Burakowski, communications manager for Visit Buffalo Niagra, the local convention and visitors bureau. "We have guests come (to the festival) from every state in the country and all around the world to celebrate Buffalo's invention."

Schultz was invited to participate by event organizer Drew Cerza, a wing aficionado known as the Wing King.

A Franks customer had told Cerza about Schultz, and that led to a phone call from the wing man himself. Schultz said he recognized Cerza by his nickname; a bobblehead doll version of Cerza is on Schultz's desk at Franks.

"It's very flattering," Schultz said of the invitation. "I'm psyched to go out there."

Using Frank's popular recipes, Schultz will compete in three categories in the festival's Sauce Off: Traditional Medium, Creative Spicy and Traditional BBQ.

The medium sauce Schultz will use is his favorite of the three.

"It has enough flavor," Schultz explained. "It's nothing overpowering and it's nothing too wimpy. It's what everybody orders."

Franks helped introduce Northwest suburban residents to the Buffalo wing when Schultz's dad -- a Buffalo native -- added them to the menu in August 1984. The small shack on Hawley Street quickly built a reputation and a following of faithful regulars, including members of the Chicago Bears' 1985 championship team.

Other restaurants participating in the contest include Buffalo's Anchor Bar, the legendary birthplace of the hot wing.

Schultz isn't sweating the competition.

"We're going to do the same thing we do here out there," he said. "I'm curious to see if my sauce is different from what they've seen."

In addition to the sauce competitions, this year's wing festival will feature eating contests, musical performances, a cooking show and a Miss Buffalo Wing pageant.

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