The Morning News â€” Bob Hudson
Santos Cruz (in blue shirt), Hector Cruz, Jr., and Hector Cruz from Cruz Bros. Construction take down the sign from the former Winger's Restaurant on the Parkway Plaza on Wednesday. They are retrofitting the restaurant into a prototype for Winger's Express.
BLACKFOOT â€” As Stefano Bronzati, a Salt Lake City businessman, stood amid the debris in the former Winger's Restaurant in Blackfoot earlier this week, he discussed the future of the building.
"This is completely different than it was before," he said of what will become the prototype for Winger's Express.
"When you walk in, you come and order at the counter," Bronzati added. He said Winger's Express will be similar to quick service restaurants such as Cafe Rio, Rumbi Island Grill and Five Guys Burgers and Fries. All food will be cooked to order.
"Nothing should take longer than five minutes," he said of the selections, which will include Winger's famous sticky fingers and such things as jumbo wings, hand-breaded chicken strips, hamburgers, salads, sandwiches and a kids' menu.
"We kept the winners. I want to serve quality foods and speed is a big thing," he said. "We make a lot of our own dressings and we will cut our own lettuce. Everything will be cheaper than before."
Cruz Bros. Construction of Blackfoot is retrofitting the restaurant, taking down several walls and opening the facility into one large dining area.
"We've opened everything up so you feel you're part of the restaurant," he said, noting that the old restaurant had walls which separated customers from one another.
Winger's, which was operated by a franchisee, closed in October of 2010. Winger's Express, which will be a corporate store, will open shortly after Super Bowl Sunday, which is Feb. 5.
"The color scheme will be a rustic roadhouse look," Bronzati continued.
He said there will be a community bulletin board, on which people can post small items for sale and advertise local events, at the front of the store.
"We want to be part of the community," he said.
Bronzati said he anticipates posting a "now hiring" notice in about two weeks. He expects to hire 15-20 people to begin with.
"We want to hire local kids that moms and dads and their grandparents can come and see," he said.
One of the first questions he and general manager Wade Blake, who is now working for Winger's in Idaho Falls, will ask is, "can you smile and say, 'hey, can I take care of you today?'"
Of Blake he said, "he's just the nicest guy." He noted that Blake has worked as a cook, a server and has washed dishes, so he knows the company from the ground up.
The restaurant will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, until 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and from noon to 8 p.m. on Sundays.
With the open dining room, Bronzati said, the restaurant will be able to accommodate large groups, including sports teams.