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Buffalo Wild Wings opening draws large crowd Monday morning

Some waited overnight for free wings, grand opening in Morris

MORRIS – About 100 people were waiting as of 8 a.m. Monday outside the new Buffalo Wild Wings in Morris for a year’s worth of free wings.

The doors to the new restaurant were scheduled to open at 10 a.m., but the real attraction for most was the free wings. The first 100 people in the door received a coupon book full of vouchers for a free snack-size order of wings redeemable once per week for 52 weeks.

Some, such as Joe Faletti and his grandson Keegan Clampitt, both of Coal City, were waiting as of 10 p.m. Sunday. They downplayed how serious the event was, but when they heard about the promotion they decided to give it a shot.

“We thought, ‘What the heck, let’s do it’,” Faletti said. “It’s something to cherish with your grandson forever.”

They were two of a handful of people who brought folding chairs, while others brought blankets and some even snuggled on the cement under building's extended roof.

Store managers handed out, every 15 or 20 minutes, wing trays to each person waiting. Whether someone earned free wings was determined by the amount of stickers they collected. As of 8 a.m., Faletti, Clampitt and others were in the lead with eight stickers.

“If you have eight stickers you have the best chance of getting free wings, if you have one or two, you have less of a chance,” General Manager Eric Perez said to one curious customer.

Tony Presbitero said he began driving by the restaurant – located on Sycamore Drive next to Big R – about 7 p.m. Sunday night. He’s from Orland Park but his girlfriend is from Morris. Presbitero said he came back every hour until he saw Faletti and Clampitt in line and decided to set up shop.

“I’d still come [without the free wings],” Presbitero said. “You know what you’re getting when you come to Buffalo Wild Wings no matter which one you go to – the atmosphere, the food’s good and you know it’s going to taste the same at each one.”

Presbitero said he was going to place an order of boneless Asian zing wings once he reached a table. The coupon book amounts to about a $400 value, Faletti said.

Just after 8 a.m. management could be heard telling those that had just arrived they may be out of luck. Because the free wings reward was based on the amount of stickers each customer had collected, it may be a bit late in the game for anyone after 8 a.m. to catch up to the leaders.

Morris Mayor Richard Kopczick was expected to be on-hand for a ribbon-cutting ceremony prior to the 10 a.m. grand opening. A Morris police officer sat outside the building to ensure crowd safety.

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