You don’t often find chicken wings on gourmet food trucks. Of course, if you’re a wing fanatic like me, you probably already know this. But for those who live in New Jersey, there’s one truck ready and able to satisfy our collective wing cravings: Chick Wings & Things. Their tasty take on chicken wings is the reason they are joining our list of The Best NJ Food Trucks.
Chick Wings & Things owners Karen and Rockeem Magbie met in New York City nearly 15 years ago. Karen, who was born and raised in Scotland, moved to the US in 1993. She came stateside to work as a nanny but didn’t intend to stay. However, her love for the culture and northeast landscape kept her here. Meanwhile, Rockeem was living in the Lower East Side in downtown Manhattan. Before becoming an official New Jerseyan, he drove buses and worked for the post office.
Shortly after dating, the couple moved to New Jersey with the intent to start their own business. Before Chick Wings & Things , their first operation was called K&R Hamburgers & Hotdogs. Despite their lack of formal training, the two make a strong team; Likewise, their first foray into food service gave them the culinary experience to launch their current food truck concept.
With Chick Wings & Things, the Magbies are able to hone in on their passion. The couple operates their truck full-time, serving events and parties all across NJ. With frequent help from their six daughters and others, they offer some of the best wings I’ve ever eaten.
To learn their story, Best of NJ spoke with the Magbies about all things Chick Wings. Check out the full interview below!
The Best NJ Food Trucks: Chick Wings & Things Interview
Best of NJ: How long ago did you begin Chick Wings & Things?
Rockeem Magbie: We started the food truck in 2011. And then the first four years, we were selling just everything.
Karen Magbie: The menu was insane. From burgers to cheesesteaks to gyros.
Rockeem: And we would sell it every day. Then another food truck told us that we had to come up with a theme. Somebody told us if you dedicate yourself to this, you’re going to be successful.
So everyone used to ask us to cook wings for Super Bowl events and stuff like that, plus we love wings, so that’s what we decided to make. So we started the wings, and it just took off—like the past five years. And each year is getting better and better.
BONJ: What made you get into food trucking?
Karen: My [first] husband actually passed away on 9/11, 2001. And he was a chef, and his goal was to open up a restaurant, a pizza shop. I think if he was alive, he would love this whole concept of the food trucks. But I think that’s kind of why I went down that road.
I actually wanted to do the store, and Rockeem wanted the food truck. And there was a sort of tug-of-war, but eventually we settled on the food truck; because we felt it’d be less expensive to get things going. And I’m happy that we chose the truck, because it’s been a great experience so far, always meeting new people. I love it.
BONJ: How would you describe your truck today?
Karen: I don’t want to say that we’re unique, but no one else really does wings.
Rockeem: Yeah, when we started, I think there was only one other wing truck, and it was in the city.
Karen: Rockeem makes all of the sauces homemade.
Rockeem: And we try to stick to our chicken theme; everything has chicken. So everyone knows what they’re going to get when they come to us—they’re going to get chicken [laughs].
BONJ: What sets chick Wings and Things apart from other trucks?
Rockeem: I think, honestly, it’s the sauces. Like we said, they’re all homemade sauces. We put a lot of thought—and love [laughs]—into our sauces, and I hope it shows. And I think another key to our success is our speed. We try to get everything out as quickly as possible, under a minute, if possible. Pacing—that’s the key.
BONJ: Do you always offer the same wing sauces on the truck, or are there some seasonal flavors?
Rockeem: We always offer the same sauces on our truck. We have Buffalo, citrus barbecue, garlic parmesan, garlic lemon pepper, teriyaki, and spicy orange.
Karen: I’d say garlic parm and Buffalo are the two most popular sauces. We always get so many orders for those at events.
BONJ: What are your most popular non-wing menu items?
Rockeem: I would say our pulled chicken sliders. That’s a big hit. Also, people love the homemade chili; they love when they dig into the fries and get that extra meat. Their expressions are the best when they see the presentation.
BONJ: Tell us about the catering you offer.
Karen: We really enjoy catering. We’ll do any type of event: Graduation parties, weddings, anniversaries, corporate events, Super Bowl parties, anything.
Rockeem: You name it, we’ll be there.
Karen: And we’ll travel far. We’ve gone down to Wildwood and even up to Connecticut. And everything we offer on the truck is available for catering events.
BONJ: Where can people find you online?
Want to find more of The Best New Jersey Food Trucks? Then check out The Best New Jersey Food Trucks: The Complete Series.
Feature (Top) Image (& Additional Images): © Patrick Lombardi / Best of NJ