By Naeisha Rose
Jamaica Hills will be home to a new food joint next week Friday and the first 100 customers are in for a treat.
Atomic Wings, an authentic Buffalo chicken and hot wings franchise, will open its first store in Queens at 159-23 Hillside Ave. Sept. 7 at 11 a.m., according to CEO Zak Omar.
“We are going to do a special for the neighborhood,” said Omar. “The first 100 customers will get free fries, and we will be giving away a prize.”
After the customers get a taste of the eatery’s food there will be a raffle for a 43-inch smart television at 3 p.m.
The restaurant is also in the midst of setting up a wing-eating contest between its NYPD and NYFD neighbors, according to the CEO, who was raised in Woodside.
“We have 14 flavors [of wings] and all of our chicken is all natural, antibiotic-free and hormone-free,” said Omar. “Most of our sauces are gluten-free and all of our sauces are proprietary. We created a formula and our customers love the taste.”
The company’s hottest sauce is called nuclear and it also has exotic sauces like Thai-chili, mango-habanero, lemon-pepper and jerk-barbecue to name a few.
“The franchisees are from Queens and they wanted to have a site in their community where they grew up,” Omar said. “So after I toured the area I looked around and that area has been up-and-coming for some time.”
Sy Khan and Yamah Omar, the franchisees, are from Jamaica and Maspeth.
Omar hopes that everyone will enjoy their particular brand of Buffalo wings.
“The authentic Buffalo wing is naked and not breaded, and we know that because our founder worked at the Duff’s Bar, where the Buffalo wing was founded,” said Omar about Atomic Wings Founder Adam Lippin.
Omar is the son of an Afghan refugee who came to the United States in 1980 via Ellis Island and started one of the first food trucks outside of Wall Street, and that is where the CEO’s love of food came from.
“During the Soviet War my dad had to pack up in the middle of the night with my brother and my mom and come to America,” said Omar. “His first endeavor was to open up a fried chicken truck outside 1 Chase Manhattan Plaza. Growing up my dad made us work there every summer.”
It was one of the first food trucks in the city and it used to have lines circling the building, according to Omar on his first customer service experience.
“I was always amazed about that,” said Omar, now 37, about his father Mo.
After leaving Woodside when he was 18, Omar went on to earn a business computer information system degree at Hofstra University in 2004 and worked at Wall Street as an IT specialist from 2010 to 2013.
He has become a franchisee of a few Dunkin’ Donuts stores in Washington, D.C., in 2007, but after being diagnosed with Leukemia in 2013 he moved back to New York to be closer to family and receive chemotherapy and radiation at Sloan Kettering in Manhattan. He also received a bone marrow transplant and learned four months ago that he is in remission.
While getting treatment he met the founder of Atomic Wings at one of the site’s in Manhattan and offered his franchise expertise to help expand the business. He started working at the company in 2017 and currently there are 20 sites.
When it comes to Atomic Wings, Omar wants customers to know that they “have something for everyone.”
Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose