Chicken wings are always front and center during football season and at Super Bowl parties, but the wings at The Hotel Frankfort & Restaurant have a loyal following year-round—and for good reason. Director of Food & Beverage John Spence shares what goes into serving up these mouthwatering wings (with nearly a dozen sauces to choose from!).

We’ve heard you have quite a following when it comes to your wings, especially with your new Frankfort Beach sauce. What was the inspiration for adding it to your menu?

We have amazing wings and we wanted to create a signature sauce that you could only get from us. After several experiments, we settled on a mixture of BBQ sauce, hot sauce, fresh local honey, soy sauce, garlic and red pepper. That mixture turned out great, but it was missing something. So, we took it one step further and caramelized the wings on the grill, and now they have a bit of a cult following. We are looking into bottling the sauce this year!

What’s your favorite wing flavor that you offer?

Definitely the Frankfort Beach; however, our Angel Wing sauce, Thai sauce and Buffalo sauce are right up there. (Angel Wings are flavored with butter, garlic, Parmesan and dry buffalo spice.)

We’ve come to try the wings—what else is a must-order on the menu this winter? Drink recommendations?

Our crab cakes are a must-try—we use jumbo lump crabmeat with very little binder, and we serve them as a proper Maryland-style crab cake (no crabby patties here!) with our fresh-made lemon aioli. Our seared tuna also gets great reviews, as well as our local fish entrees.

Since we make most of our mixers in house, our signature drinks are very popular. Our most popular cocktail is our blueberry mojito. We use fresh mint from our garden, lime, agave nectar and local blueberries.

Find this and more food and drink articles in the January 2021 issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine; or subscribe and get Traverse delivered to your door each month.