By day, Canarsie resident James Brown leads a team of technicians in his capacity as a manager for Verizon.
By night, things get a bit spicier: James Brown is the Godfather of Chicken Wings.
On Nov. 1, Brown, 34, and his longtime friend and business partner Hugh Webb, also 34, opened Brooklyn’s first Atomic Wings, an upscale buffalo wing franchise.
Brown said the neighborhood’s diversity helped cement their decision to open shop at 321 Ninth Street in Park Slope.
“We appeal to all ages and ethnicities,” Brown said. “I figure we’ll grow together.”
The Brooklyn store is the pair’s second. They opened their first in the East Village last year.
More stores are on their horizon, the men said. A Smith Street location is in the works, and the duo is also eyeing one at the Nostrand-Flatbush Avenues junction.
“We want to start a wing revolution,” said Webb.
The restaurant offers ten different types of wings appealing to traditionalists, as well as to more adventurous eaters.
On the spicy scale, flavors range from mild to “nuclear suicidal.”
“We have seen guys sweat profusely from eating them,” Brown said of the suicidal wings. He claims one man even suffered a nosebleed from the piquant poultry.
The recipe is closely guarded. “It’s definitely a secret,” he said.
Some of their more non-risk aversive clientele will order a bucket of 50 suicidal wings, and challenge each other to an eat-off.
The Park Slope store is the chain’s largest to date, and features four flatscreen TVs, Internet access, NFL Ticket service, and a lounge area. Aside from wings, soups, burgers, and salads are also offered. The store has roughly 10 employees.
The two have been friends since the first grade, when they were both living in East Flatbush. They both attended George Westinghouse High School in Downtown Brooklyn, and today live in the same apartment complex in Canarsie.
Yes, Brown said, their wives are friends too.
Webb, a package delivery driver for United Parcel Service, said he and Brown always dreamed of going into business together. “We’ll hopefully work for ourselves one day,” he said.
“The goal is to be our own boss, build the brand and manage existing locales,” Brown added.
Good organization is key to their business partnership, the two said in separate interviews. Brown deals more with the financial side of the business, while Webb handles the operational aspects.
“As long as we communicate, we know what the other is doing,” Brown said.
Webb said his friend is a whiz with numbers, but may have delusions of poultry grandeur.
“He thinks he’s the Godfather,” Webb joked.