Winging it: Food truck launches a store front location - Albuquerque Journal

Winging it: Food truck launches a store front location

Alejandra Leal, left, and Brittany Muller began their chicken-wing business as a food truck and recently opened their first store-front restaurant located on Gold Ave SW and Fourth Street. (Chancey Bush/Journal)

When Alejandra Leal and Brittany Muller set out to open up their own food truck three years ago, the duo had one stipulation: they wanted to do something different.

In Albuquerque, many of the food trucks at that time focused on typical street food fare like tacos, tortas and burritos and while those were popular, Leal said she wanted to make sure her food truck served something else.

Realizing that their nascent food truck would most likely be parked outside of breweries, Muller and Leal turned to a favorite snack of bar hoppers — wings.

In the three years since launching, Wing It Up has earned a legion of fans, enough to where Muller and Leal could open up their own store front location, years before they thought it would even be possible.

Wing It Up, at 317 Gold SW, at the intersection of 4th Street and Gold, opened May 14.

Though Wing It Up has many devoted customers with many traveling from Grants, Los Lunas, and Bernalillo during the first week as a brick-and-mortar restaurant, Muller said that when they first launched as a food truck, customers were weary to try options that weren’t tacos and burritos.

“No one wanted to try the wings,” Muller said.

To convince customers to give them a shot, Muller said her cousin donned a chicken mascot suit and began handing out samples wherever the food truck was parked.

It worked.

Soon, the food truck was met with more demand than they could keep up with and regularly sold out when it opened up shop.

Bella Romero and Aristeo Ballejos enjoy wings at Wing It Up located in Downtown Albuquerque. (Chancey Bush/Journal)

Leal and Muller credit the success of their food truck to three things — serving an item that’s different, providing great customer service, and most importantly, serving up quality wings.

The demand was also enough to keep the less-than-a-year-old food truck afloat when the coronavirus pandemic hit.

“Sad to say, COVID destroyed a lot of businesses,” Leal said. “For us it was the other way around. We blew up when COVID hit.”

To keep the business open, Leal and Muller parked their food truck at their house in the South Valley and began at-home deliveries to customers all across Albuquerque and Rio Rancho.

“People were just calling us left and right and we would deliver all over Albuquerque … wherever we (could) find people that actually wanted food,” Leal said. “And after that we just kept getting phone call after phone call after phone call.”

Despite earning a devoted following for their chicken wings, neither Leal nor Muller have any formal culinary training.

Wing It Up, at 317 Gold SW, opened in mid-May. (Chancey Bush/Journal)

Muller, who handles most of the cooking, said she learned how to cook as a teenager from her grandmother.

“She basically showed me everything I needed to know about cooking,” Muller said.

The two decided on opening a food truck after Leal’s father died in an accident and left her some money.

“We just went for it,” Leal said. “There was no turning back.”

Wing It Up dishes out its namesake item in boneless, bone-in, breaded and “naked” varieties, chicken tenders, chicken sandwiches, french fries and sides like fried pickles.

Customers can choose from more than 20 different sauces and rubs — including a Hot Cheeto option — to dress up their chicken wings and fries.

Wing It Up is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, and from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. It is closed on Sunday and Monday.

For more information, visit facebook.com/wingitup2019

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