Native’s new menu items restore classics, turn up the heat

March 31, 2018 // Connor Dziawura // East Valley Tribune 

A Valley staple for nearly 40 years, Native Grill & Wings – formerly Native New Yorker – is throwing it back to the classics, while also looking to the future.

Earlier this month, the popular wing chain started serving four former customer favorites as part of its limited-time Throwback Menu. The menu lasts through April 30.

Jalapeño Puffs a limited time offer as part of the Native Throwback Menu

“When we got rid of some items, we got a lot of feedback from guests – whether it be on social or through our app – saying they wanted these particular items back,” said Native PR & Marketing Coordinator Adriana Espinosa at an insider tasting event. “So, we decided to do a limited-time-offer menu with all of our throwback items from our old-school Native days.”

The Throwback Menu includes jalapeño puffs, curly fries, cheesy garlic bread and cheese and crackers, the latter of which is a surprise favorite. Formerly served at every table, the idea is simple – a plate of saltine crackers with a cheddar cheese spread.

One of the most requested items on the limited-time menu, though, is jalapeño puffs.

“Jalapeño puffs was something that our guests craved on a regular basis,” said Steve Snyder, the IT/systems manager. He is also the executive chef at company headquarters’ test kitchen in Chandler.

The item, as described by Snyder, is an eggroll wrapper stuffed with a sharp cheddar cheese spread and brined jalapeños. But be careful; while tasty, this item is sure to turn up the heat. Starting with a nice crunch, one bite quickly gives way to the item’s cheesy filling and spicy jalapeños. Though it doesn’t quite reach the levels of the infamous ghost pepper, a satisfying kick is present for the mild palate.

“Very simple, but that was the kind of food that Native was raised on,” Snyder added. “It was all simple food. People like it.”

Curly fries were restored for the Throwback Menu “because it’s one of those things that you got to have,” Snyder said. Though not as peppery as Native’s signature fries, the classic twist is a satisfying and essential appetizer. But there’s a reason Native boasts such tasty fries.

“One of the things that makes the fries always taste the best is we have a parmesan, garlic and asiago cheese especially made just for us based on our proprietary recipe,” Snyder said. “That’s why Native fries taste the way they do.”

Aside from limited-time items, however, Native boasts one other recent launch: Native Buffalo Fries. Though it also debuted this month, this one isn’t limited.

Sure to be a filling appetizer, the item starts with a base of the restaurant’s signature fries, then adds the similarly new Native sauce and a “healthy little dosage” of chicken strips, Snyder said. An extra side of the new Native sauce is also given. To top the plate off is a medium sauce (which has a minimal kick), though this can be substituted for a variety of heat levels. Boasting sauces and dry rubs, Native has over 20 kinds.

“It’s really cool to see the combinations,” Espinosa said.

One final addition to Native’s arsenal is its boneless wings, which are prepared in-house. The item was completely redesigned last year.

“We panko bread it ourselves, dredge it in buttermilk, so it’s an entirely different product than what we had served in the past,” Snyder said.

Unlike some breaded items, however, it’s not overtly dry. The breading is very light, while the flavor is strong – depending on your choice of sauce. One interesting choice is mango habanero. With one bite, the mango immediately becomes apparent. But that’s when it hits. The habanero is quite strong, boasting a decent kick that lingers. Not to say it’s a detractor, though, as individuals looking for a little bit of sweet – and a little bit of heat – may find satisfaction.

Founded in 1979 by two natives of Buffalo, New York, the restaurant began as a pizza shop before transitioning to wings. CEO Dan Chaon took over in 2010, and it rebranded from Native New Yorker to Native Grill & Wings in 2014.

“This is our brand, so we’re very proud of it,” Chaon enthused.

This article also appeared in the West Valley View.

Interview with Dan Chaon, CEO at Native Grill & Wings

January 20, 2018 // USA Weekly

Starting a business is a big achievement for many entrepreneurs, but maintaining one is the larger challenge. There are many standard challenges that face every business whether they are large or small. It is not easy running a company, especially in a fast-paced, ever-changing business world. Technology advances, new hiring strategies, and now, political changes coming with the new administration, all add to the existing business challenges that entrepreneurs, business owners, and executives have to deal with.

Maximizing profits, minimizing expenses and finding talented staff to keep things moving seem to be top challenges for both SMBs and large corporations. We have been interviewing companies from around the world to discover what challenges they are facing in their businesses. We also asked each company to share business advice they would give to a younger version of themselves.

Below is our interview with Dan Chaon, CEO at Native Grill & Wings:

What does your company do?

Native Grill and Wings is a family focused sports grill with 40 years of history. The concept was originally known as Native New Yorker as the Anderson Family, who founded the brand, originated from Buffalo, New York. They were the first to bring Chicken Wings to the Southwest. The original Native New Yorker started off doing favorites such as traditional chicken wings, New York style pizza, calzones and sandwiches; it has grown into the Native Grill and Wings brand as locals and regulars routinely referred to their location as “my Native”. Today, the company has become a very successful franchising model, with a rich history and lots of opportunity for growth.

What is your role? What do you enjoy most about your role?

I have the honor of serving as CEO for an amazing brand. I hate titles, so I prefer looking at it as a great coaching job. Whoever coined the phrase, “you’re only as good as those you surround yourself with,” must have been speaking about the amazing Native team, those customers who frequent our restaurants every day and our valued franchisees who we consider to be partners. There are two things I enjoy most about my role. First of all, I get great satisfaction from taking the mistakes and victories from being in the industry for 28 years and using those as coaching moments for our franchise support team and our franchise owners. Secondly, I’ve learned that the only thing that never changes about the restaurant industry is that it’s always changing. It keeps you young at heart and on your toes, and I love that.

What are the biggest challenges in your business right now?

Right now, the biggest challenge facing the restaurant industry as a whole is truly finding frequency of visits to your brand. The economy is great, people have good disposable income to eat out, but there are a lot of choices. These choices come not only from direct competition but also the evolving way that guests dine out. With home meal replacement, third party delivery, emphasis on loyalty programs, etc., our guests can be very selective on how often and where to spend those dollars. The battle has never been greater for brands fighting to build year-over-year guest counts. That, coupled with high labor demands, diminishing skilled labor and commodity costs, restaurants really have to be focusing on blocking and tackling issues without managing their businesses down. It may seem like a given in our industry, but it’s all about food quality and level of service.

If you could go back in time, what business advice would you give to a younger version of yourself?

Be patient for results and impatient for actions needed for those results. Understand that running a brand is a marathon, but approach the marathon with a sprinters mentality. I was afraid early on to make mistakes and took it as defining grade, only to look back and realize some of our best outcomes came as a result of those mistakes. If you’re going to fail, fail fast and then pick yourself up from the bootstraps and get after it again.

40 Under 40: Restaurant Stars on the Rise

March 2018 // FSR Staff


Chefs, owners, bartenders—some barely in their 30s—fill this year’s list of Rising Stars, the folks to watch in 2018. This list shows stars can be born anywhere, in as expected a place as under the tutelage of Eric Ripert at Le Bernardin or, quite the opposite, washing dishes in a family restaurant or taking a job bussing tables just to break into the industry.

Take note, this year in particular, of how these chefs and restaurateurs embody a new wave of restaurant professionals. They are more creative, innovative, and bold than ever before.

Cynthia Velasco, 28, has been the Director of Marketing for Native Grill & Wings since the fall of 2016. 

When Cynthia Velasco embarked on her career with Native Grill & Wings, the Arizona-based concept was a struggling 19-unit brand. Velasco helped to transform it into a family-friendly sports grill with more than 30 locations. She introduced new brand guidelines, modernized marketing campaigns, and initiated a new fan base that turned into a loyal following.

“Evolving a brand involves taking risks, and [that] gave me the determination and persistence to stay true to course,” she says. “Native Grill & Wings provides a great balance of collaboration and autonomy, which fuels innovation and keeps the brand evolving. I’m constantly challenged, and there’s nothing better than the feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day.”


A new restaurant opening in the Tri-States

March 2, 2018 // WGEM

An Arizona-based restaurant chain will open on Quincy’s Riverfront next week.

Native Grill and Wings will replace the Titled Kilt on 138 N. Front St. The company has more than 30 locations nationwide, but this is the first one in Illinois.
It’s billed as a family-friendly sports grill that will serve chicken wings, pizza, burgers, and more.

“The Tri-State area needed a great family friendly sports bar with great food and atmosphere,” said Heather Balzer the general manager.

Friday was their soft open to make sure they’re ready for when they officially open Monday, March 5.The restaurant will be open Sunday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Friday through Saturday 11 a.m. to midnight.

Native Grill & Wings Now Open in St. Charles, Serving 21 Flavors of Wings

January 19, 2018 // Mabel Suen // Feast Magazine

A popular chain from the southwest has made its way to the St. Louis area. Native Grill & Wings debuted its first midwest location in St. Charles with a soft opening on Jan. 17. The family-friendly sports bar is known most famously for its 21 different chicken wing flavors and also offers pizza, burgers and more.

Native Grill & Wings originated in 1978 and is based out of Chandler, Arizona. There are currently around 45 locations across the country. The St. Charles franchise is owned and operated by STL Native, LLC, which is made up of individuals with a combined 20 years of experience in the industry, including owning Ruth’s Chris Steak Houses in the St. Louis market. The group intends to open two to three additional locations of Native in the St. Louis area.

The St. Charles restaurant fills the space previously occupied by the Titled Kilt, with 270 seats throughout. The room features refurbished barn wood along its central bar, numerous TVs displaying sports events and a gaming area with air hockey, foosball, darts and Golden Tee. Local artist AJ Sanchez of St. Louis Underground Gallery will also be adding hand-painted murals to the walls.

The menu begins with the brand’s namesake wing sauces, which are available served with traditional bone-in wings, hand-breaded boneless wings and tenders. Popular flavor picks include ancho chile-lime dry rub, spicy honey mustard and honey hot sauce. Some more interesting options include ghost pepper as well as chicken ’n’ waffles dry rub.

Appetizers include options such as loaded tots, hummus and buffalo chicken nachos, while salads include highlights like the chicken apple walnut salad with garden romaine, Granny Smith apples, strawberries, candied walnuts, blue cheese crumbles, grilled chicken and citrus vinaigrette.

Hand-tossed New York style pizzas are available with topping options such as the house special with pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, green peppers, onions and black olives. From the burger menu, choose from options such as the “Hangover Burger” with hardwood-smoked bacon, hash brown, fried egg, avocado, lettuce and pepper jack cheese.

Weekly specials include all-you-can-eat wings on Tuesdays, boneless wing specials on Wednesdays and fish fries on Fridays. Behind the bar, guests will find 30 draft handles with several local craft beer options as well as a selection of around 25 whiskeys.

Native Grill & Wings’s current hours of operation are Sunday through Thursday from 11am to midnight and Friday through Saturday from 11am to 1:30am.

Native Grill & Wings, 1566 Country Club Plaza Road, St. Charles, Missouri, 636.493.9583,

New restaurant coming to Quincy

QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) – A new restaurant will open on Quincy’s riverfront in February, according to a news release.

The news release stated Native Grill & Wings will open at 138 N. Front St. in mid to late February. It stated Tilted Kilt, which is currently located in that space, will close Thursday at 11 p.m.

Franchise owner Duane Venvertloh said this will be the first location in Illinois.

“We are very excited to bring this fast-growing family sports grill to Quincy,” Venvertloh said. “We look forward to being an active part of the community more than just your typical ‘sports grill,’ and our primary goal will always be to provide a welcoming environment for the whole family. We’re also excited to be a part of the city’s effort to develop the downtown and the riverfront.”

General Manager Heather Balzer said the staff of 14 employees will carry over to the new restaurant, and they will be hiring 30 to 40 new employees.

“(It’s) a whole new environment.” Balzer said. “We’re going to completely remodel the entire building. The whole building will be different. It will be something to look forward to.”

The release stated the restaurant offers over 20 wing flavors. Customers can also order flavors individually.

“Native is thrilled to welcome Duane to the team, as his community involvement is parallel with the presence Native strives to have, and I am confident that he will make our Midwest expansion successful,” said CEO Dan Chaon. “We’re incredibly pleased with the acclaim we’ve received in Arizona over the past few years, and are excited to see the same following and recognition in Illinois.”

According to the release, the restaurants are divided into a bar and grill with around 40 flat screen TVs.

Tilted Kilt opened in January of 2014.

Native Grill and Wings to replace Tilted Kilt on Quincy Riverfront

December 28, 2017 // Doug Wilson // Herald-Whig

QUINCY — The Tilted Kilt is set to close Thursday night to make room for a new sports bar and grill in February. 

Heather Balzer, general manager of the Tilted Kilt, said Native Grill and Wings will open by late February at 138 N. Front, where the Tilted Kilt has operated for the past four years.

“I held an employee meeting this morning, and by the end of it, everybody was super excited,” Balzer said.

The staff of 14 will be kept on the payroll during remodeling, and Balzer said a job fair will be held in late January to seek 30 to 40 more workers.

Duane Venvertloh, who will be the franchise owner, told The Herald-Whig’s news-gathering partners at WGEM that this will be the first Native Grill and Wings franchise in Illinois.

According to Native Grill company information, the restaurants have about 40 flat-screen televisions and offer 20 or more flavors of wings at a typical location, as well as sandwiches, fish, pizza and other offerings.

Native Grill and Wings was launched in 1978 in Arizona by members of a family who named their restaurant Native New Yorker. The pizza shop struggled until it shifted its focus to chicken wings. The company has grown rapidly in recent years.

Company CEO Dan Chaon has said Native Grill has created a restaurant chain that appeals to families.

Balzer said her staff will trade in the Tilted Kilt’s trademark plaid kilts and white blouses for jeans and black T-shirts.


Native Grill & Wings Veterans Day 2017 Roundup

November 2017 // Veterans Day Roundup

Veterans Day Deals: Where vets get freebies and discounted meals, haircuts and more //

LIST: Veterans Day deals, discounts and freebies around Phoenix //

All the Restaurants Where Veterans and U.S. Military Eat Free This Weekend // 

2017 Veterans Day Free Meals, Discounts, Sales and Deals // 

Chamber Focus: Native Grill & Wings is now open

October 22, 2017 // The Daily Courier 

The Prescott Valley Chamber of Commerce welcomed Native Grill & Wings on Oct. 16. Officially open, Native Grill & Wings is a family friendly spot with a wide menu including wings and pizza. Prescott Valley Mayor Harvey Skoog presented words of welcome to management, staff, and the Chamber board and ambassadors. Find them at 5533 E. Highway 69 in Prescott Valley, with the option to call your order ahead 928-227-0815, or check out their app (Native Grill & Wings on Google Play or the App Store).

Preview Magazine: Best Sandwiches

October 2017// Preview// Michele Chiappetta & Rob Harmon

Ranging from traditional basics to the truly unique, we’ve found 48 of the best things to happen to the 918 since sliced bread. Are you ready to revisit that most classic of American food groups – the sandwich?

Ah, the sandwich. Ever since the Middle Ages, when John Montagu, the fourth Earl of Sandwich, supposedly invented a quick, neat way to eat without leaving the gambling table, we’ve had a love affair with this delectable, handheld meal. And though it was once only popular with aristocrats who could afford to lose money playing cards, the sandwich has since become one of the most egalitarian and middle-class lunches of all time.

In truth, the sandwich in its many forms has probably existed ever since humans could slide meat and cheese between slices of bread. It has even been taken to court, specifically a court in Boston, where it was ruled that the legal definition of “sandwich” in that jurisdiction would require slices of bread to be part of the meal. Who knew a simple lunch meal could be so complex?

The sandwich in its many forms is ever popular as a lunch option for worker bees, students, and others who are on the go. In an ever-increasing handsfree world, it’s still the go-to meal for someone with a free hand. And you can choose from all kinds of sandwiches, breads, fillings and more in just about every corner of Green Country.

That said, here’s our list of 48 fantastic places around Green Country where you can grab some meat, cheese and bread and hit the road, having conquered your royal appetite.

Native Grill & Wings
10804 E. 71st | Tulsa
Mouthwatering chicken, battered and smothered in mozzarella, parmesan, marinara sauce, sprinkled with fresh basil, all stuffed in a hoagie — the chicken parmesan at Native Grill & Wings will become one of your favorites at first bite. The meatball sub is everything you’d expect, jam-packed with marinara sauce and mozzarella, and a sure hit with the taste buds. Try the California Cluck and you’ll love it — charbroiled chicken on a toasted ciabatta bun with bacon, tomato and avocado. And if your East Coast cravings kick in, go for the Philly Steak with thinly sliced rib-eye steak, grilled onions, green bell peppers, red wine mushrooms and topped with queso.

See the full article here.