Monday, 12 August 2019 19:41

Wing Queen Cafe owners close Rockingham restaurant, going mobile

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Carolyn and Deric Spencer, owners of Wing Queen in Rockingham, closed their restaurant last week, but will soon be operating a food truck. Carolyn and Deric Spencer, owners of Wing Queen in Rockingham, closed their restaurant last week, but will soon be operating a food truck. Matt Harrelson - Richmond Observer

ROCKINGHAM — News spread quickly Monday afternoon on social media after a post circulated stating that Wing Queen Cafe was shutting down for good with Friday, Aug. 9 being its last day of service. Although the business has officially shut its doors, a new one has opened in the form of the Wing Queen Rib Shack food truck.


Owners Carolyn and Deric Spencer have operated Wing Queen in its location on U.S. 74 Business for the last four years and one month, but with a new grandchild in the world, they decided it was time to close up shop and move on to a new adventure. Or at least a familiar one.

"We had a food truck years back, which both of us worked full-time jobs, so we done it on the weekends, but we both just loved cooking," said Deric Spencer. "Once the kids got grown and went off to college, we had a lot of time on our hands. We just started looking around (for a restaurant location), seeing if we could find somewhere, a nice little place. We ran across this one here, and it was a perfect match. It worked out real fine."

The new food truck won't be operational for another couple of weeks — Carolyn Spencer said next month at the earliest — and the two are going to take some much needed free time to see their family.

"We're gonna take a little time and see our grandson. We got our first grand, and we haven't been able to spend time with the family much because this business consumes a lot of your time," said Deric Spencer. "We'll be more flexible with our time and days."

The couple have cooked ribs a few times on their smoker behind Wing Queen, and Deric Spencer called it, "a good hit," but for those worried that wings might not make it on the new menu, they needn't fret much. For the most part, the menu will stay the same.

The food truck will carry wings, ribs, the couple's "famous" mac and cheese, collard greens, potato salad, baked beans and other goodies that will change daily.

"We won't be doing hamburger steaks, stuff like that. We're gonna still do the Phillys (cheesesteaks), but mainly just trying to get it into a barbecue category," said Deric Spencer. "Try a brisket and see how people adapt to that. See if that's something that will do good in this area."

The annual beer festival Hoptoberfest is fast approaching, and one of the staples for that event is the wing competition — something the Spencers are contemplating competing in.

"We've had a few people ask us about it. We've thought about it," said Deric Spencer. "Matter of fact, the gentleman who owns Superior Cranes mentioned it to me and said this year it was going to be at the dragstrip. He said it was growing so that's definitely something that we'll look into. We'd love to participate."

In the meantime, the couple said they're going to "play it by ear" when it comes to choosing which locations to drive the food truck to.

"I've already had several people ask us if we'll come set up at their job, do lunch for them, community events," Deric Spencer said of eating spots. "Any kind of way that we can participate and help the community, we're looking forward to that."

As far as costumers looking forward to the truck and getting their wings back, the Spencers wanted Richmond County to know that just because the store front is no longer open, it doesn't mean Wing Queen is going away completely.

"We're gonna continue to have a Facebook page, and we'll have on there where we gonna be, what time will be there, give out what we're gonna have on the truck," Deric Spencer said. "The menu will change. We'll definitely have ribs and chicken, but some days the sides may change. It'll give us a little bit more playing room with things to try and try to give a little more different style to people, a little more stuff outside of the box."

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