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3-Min Grill: WingstopSteven Bardwell CHAMPAIGN,Ill – In this week’s 3-Min Grill, we head out of the studio to the Wingstop in Champaign to find out all about their wing process. We’re here at Wingstop learning about the process of cooking some bone-in and boneless wings. They encourage pre-ordering so you don’t have to wait in store for the wings to cook. Bone-in cooks in about 30 minutes, while boneless take only about 7. During the holidays, Wingstop is doing a toy drive. They are working with other companies to collect toys and will be having pictures with Santa all on the 24th at Wingstop. Lemon pepper is something you have to try, but I do like spicy. This is handmade rub and be very careful with cajun season. Homemade ranch is made everyday as well as homemade blue cheese.
Business owner feeds the hungry
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – CHAMPAIGN — It’s hard to imagine Thanksgiving day without a good meal.
One Champaign business made sure people got one – no matter their situation.
Wing stop on Neil Street had its first “wings-giving”. The store didn’t do any sales or take any orders.
Instead – the owner, his parents and a handful of volunteers spent a few hours preparing hundreds of boxes –
Each filled with wings and fries. The goal was to make sure no one in need went hungry. The store owner says this will become a new tradition for every Thanksgiving.
Giving Back: Sahil ContractorCHAMPAIGN, Ill – CHAMPAIGN — A young business-owner is out to make life a little easier for others. Sahil Contractor bought the Wing Stop restaurant in Champaign last year. Since then, he’s planned several events aimed at giving back to the community. His second Wing Stop location in Springfield is also in the works. That could open sometime next Summer.
3-Min Grill: Wingstop
CHAMPAIGN,Ill – In this week’s 3-Min Grill, we head out of the studio to the Wingstop in Champaign to find out all about their wing process.
We’re here at Wingstop learning about the process of cooking some bone-in and boneless wings. They encourage pre-ordering so you don’t have to wait in store for the wings to cook. Bone-in cooks in about 30 minutes, while boneless take only about 7.
During the holidays, Wingstop is doing a toy drive. They are working with other companies to collect toys and will be having pictures with Santa all on the 24th at Wingstop. Lemon pepper is something you have to try, but I do like spicy. This is handmade rub and be very careful with cajun season. Homemade ranch is made everyday as well as homemade blue cheese.
The right recipe: Restaurateur has ‘committed his life to helping others’
Photo by: Stephen Haas/The News-Gazette Wingstop owner Sahil Contractor works in the kitchen of his business Friday, Oct. 12, 2018, in Champaign. Contractor is being recognized with the NAACP of Champaign County’s ‘Unity in the Community’ award.
CHAMPAIGN — For the past two years, Sahil Contractor has missed his family’s Thanksgiving dinner to feed the homeless and others who were alone for the holiday.
When asked why, the young owner of two Wingstop restaurants — including one at 512 S. Neil St., C — simply says, “I’ve been so blessed in my life.”
For holding his annual “Wingsgiving” event and making other contributions, the Champaign man will be awarded the NAACP of Champaign County’s “Unity in the Community” award at its annual Freedom Fund Banquet on Friday.
“Sahil has committed his life to helping others,” said Lucretia Williams, who nominated Contractor.
He “was taught from a very early age what a blessing it is to share with others and give back to those in need without expectations of receiving something in return,” continued Williams, who heard about Contractor and his free food give-away on Thanksgiving through a TV news report. “I thought, ‘Who does this?’ I immediately went to Wingstop to meet him.
“Being a business owner myself, I was just really impressed by his life and his passion for community service. It’s really heartwarming.”
Contractor was born in Chicago and grew up in Arlington Heights. After graduating from Rolling Meadows High School in 2012, he studied business management at a community college in Palatine, but later dropped out.
“School really wasn’t for me,” he explained. “I’m more of a hands-on person. So when the restaurant came up for sale, I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to start my career and test myself, because the business was a performing so poorly, and see if I could turn it around.”
Contractor was only 21 when he bought the franchise in August 2015 from his father — Chicago-area businessman Salil Contractor — and his father’s business partners. Prior to then, the restaurant had been losing $3,000 to $4,000 a month.
The son took a different managerial approach.
“It was a matter of me being in the restaurant from open to close seven days a week and learning the community,” said Contractor, who managed to turn around the finances in eight months or so. Last week, he broke $1 million in sales and won a company award.
“Hospitality is my number-one priority,” he continued, explaining that he and his small staff bring guests’ orders to their tables, refill their drinks, bus their tables and thank them for stopping by when they leave. “Basically, I treat (customers) how I want to be treated times 10. It’s all about their dining experience, and I don’t take a dime of anyone’s business for granted.”
He and his dad, who owns and operates a number of Wingstops and Dunkin’ Donuts in the Chicago area, opened a Springfield-area location last December.
The younger Contractor held his first Wingsgiving in 2016. During the event, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., he and his staff, who volunteered their time, served 600 to 700 free meals consisting of five boneless wings, fries, a dinner roll and drink.
“It’s not just the homeless,” he said. “A lot of college kids can’t go home or be with their family. So it’s really for anyone who doesn’t have a warm meal.
“Last year, we were slightly lower, but I didn’t do any marketing,” Contractor continued. “This year, we’re doing a huge campaign. I want to do at least 1,000 meals minimum in Champaign and in Springfield, as well.”
In addition to the Wingsgiving events, Contractor sponsors a Christmas toy drive. Last year, he also put on an Easter egg hunt at Crystal Lake Park, benefiting Carle’s pediatric unit.
Contractor is also a songwriter and recording artist who has released a couple of “melodic hip hop” songs under the name Illi. He hopes to start his own label, called Signature Music, which he’ll use to give back “on a much larger scale.”
Until then, he wants to continue to help the Champaign and Springfield communities and inspire other business owners to do the same.
“Six hundred people might be a small number … but that’s 600 people that didn’t have anything prior to that,” he said.
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