Residents brave cold for free wings at Buffalo Wild Wings opening

McHENRY – Would you wait for hours in sub-zero temperatures for free buffalo wings?

That's what some McHenry County residents were prepared to do early Monday morning as the Buffalo Wild Wings in McHenry offered free wings for a year to the first 100 people at the restaurant's grand opening.

But as temperatures plummeted below zero and wind chills reached -25, Buffalo Wild Wings Regional Manager Jim Gleich sent people away and told them not to come back until 6 a.m.

"We normally let people line up all night and kind of make a party of it," Gleich said. "But because of the weather we told everybody that they couldn't come back until 6 a.m., and now we're having them stay in their cars for safety concerns."

When cars pulled in to the restaurant, located in the Shops at Fox River, each person was handed a number in the order that they arrived. At 6:15 a.m. 26 people had already arrived and were given numbers.

At around 10 a.m. the restaurant will open, and the first 100 people will receive a coupon booklet for their free wings. The coupon allows for one small order of wings, which can be used only once per week.

The decision to keep people from lining up was an easy one, Gleich said, who had an off-duty sheriff's officer stationed inside the restaurant to inform people of the company's plan.

But people were prepared to brave the arctic temperatures as the first person arrived to the restaurant at 10 p.m. Sunday.

"A gentleman thought he was going to sit here in a folding chair with a parka and stay here for 12 hours," Gleich said.

Gleich said he didn't know how many people would show up with the cold weather, but once schools were canceled he figured a crowd would show.

"These are all high school kids out here," he said. "They're all 16, 18-year-old-kids right now."

The first vehicle that arrived this morning was a truck of three Marion Central High School students. They planned to camp out last night with a tent and a heater, but were told they had to leave.

"We wanted to camp out," said Logan Shaw, Marion Central junior.

"We want to be the first ones to set foot publicly in B-dubs," Marion Central Sophomore Matt Crook said.

Once the group heard that school was closed they knew they wanted to get in line for the free wings. And they were prepared to battle whatever elements mother nature threw their way.

"There's some crazy people out here," Crook said. "We're right along with them."

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