Boyette has come home to Aiken Standard 1

John Boyette

The great thing about the profession of journalism is that no two days are ever the same.

Sure, there are some repetitive elements, but by and large each day brings a new story and a new opportunity.

Last week, I strolled down memory lane in my Sunday column about Aiken’s restaurant scene. I heard from many people, and they reminded me of some of their favorite restaurants. Places like Blue Top in Graniteville or the Pizza Villa on Richland Avenue.

Column: Aiken's dining options keep evolving

In the column, I addressed the possibility of Wild Wing Cafe coming to Aiken and mentioned that one of our reporters had reached out for comment but had heard nothing yet.

On Tuesday morning, I received a call and an email from the restaurant chain’s marketing director. She had picked up on the column and wanted to know when she and Wild Wing’s CEO could meet with me.

We settled on Thursday, and I took reporter Kristina Rackley along with me. Later that afternoon, the story about Wild Wing opening an Aiken location in the former Travinia’s building hit our website. Predictably, it did very well with lots of traffic and comments on social media.

There are many positive aspects to this story. First, Wild Wing is going into a building that has been vacant since New Year’s Eve 2016. New construction is great, but I really don’t like to see empty buildings sit idle for too long. Kudos to Wild Wing for remodeling an existing building. The same goes for Diablo’s Southwest Grill, which is going into the former Chipotle location on Whiskey Road.

Second, it looks like Wild Wing will be hiring more than 100 employees. More jobs are usually a good thing.

Steve Weigel, Wild Wing’s CEO, told me and Kristina that some changes to the menu are coming and will feature what he calls more “fork and knife” foods. The restaurant boasts 30 different types of wing sauces and around 80 different beers.

Wild Wing Cafe set to open on Aiken's Southside

Weigel, a restaurant industry veteran with experience in the Outback, Red Lobster and Friendly’s chains, also said that Wild Wing will latch onto Aiken’s equestrian theme with its décor. Travinia’s had a small, enclosed room for private parties off the main dining room, and it appears that Wild Wing will keep that and perhaps call it the Polo Room.

The restaurant also will feature live music, and it will provide another option for parties and celebrations.

Of course, with any restaurant news that we report comes the inevitable question: when is Olive Garden coming to town?

So, Olive Garden, it’s your move. Maybe someone from the popular restaurant chain will reach out to us. Stay tuned.

Thanks for reading.

John Boyette is executive editor of the Aiken Standard. Reach him at or (803) 644-2364.