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WNY couple starting Buffalo-inspired food truck in Denver

For many Buffalo transplants, there's no duplicating the Queen City's wings and fingers anywhere else in the world.

Chris Rizzo and his wife Jessica moved from Western New York to Denver, Colo., nearly two years ago, and found that the Rocky Mountain wings were decidedly "subpar" by their standards. The fix? Start a Buffalo-inspired food truck themselves.

Before April, the Rizzos plan to open Sha-WING Food Truck, focusing on Buffalo staples like wings, beef on weck and chicken finger subs. Garbage plates and Loganberry are also under consideration for possible menu items.

"Everyone else does [wings] wrong," Chris Rizzo explained in a phone call. "[Buffalonians] just deep-fry and sauce them. Others try to grill, bake or smoke them."

Citing Gabriel's Gate and Coles as two of the couple's preferred wing joints in Buffalo, Chris and Jessica opted against choosing between Anchor Bar and Duff's -- although Chris did admit that he admired the former's tradition.

Coles on Elmwood Avenue boasted some of the Rizzos' favorite wings. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News file photo)

Coles on Elmwood Avenue boasted some of the Rizzos' favorite wings. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News file photo)

Chris, a native of Rochester suburb Penfield, lived in Denver from 2006 to 2009 while long-distance dating Jessica, a Kenmore native who went to school at Buffalo State College. Chris moved back to Western New York to be closer to Jessica, attended Erie Community College to study business, then got married.

"We had early plans to open a food truck in Buffalo," Chris admitted, "but we ended up waiting." Denver will benefit from his patience.

Sha-WING will vend for special events in downtown Denver, close to Sports Authority Field -- the home of the Broncos -- as well as near Lodo's Bar and Grill, the Colorado Bills Backers bar.

The couple is confident that they can churn out quality food on par with what they ate growing up, and simultaneously fill a culinary void.

"We really missing eating Buffalo food," Chris Rizzo admitted. "Nowhere out here has real-deal Buffalo stuff."

Email Ben Tsujimoto, who likes his wings crispy, at btsujimoto@buffnews.com

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