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michael-paceAfter spending 22 successful years in the restaurant business, why would anyone want to go into the “wings” business?

“I wanted to do something different, and besides, everyone likes wings,” states Michael Pace.

Pace has turned a popular snack into a delicacy, mastering the process along the way. In the process, he has created Wingboss, a fast food restaurant in Berwyn specializing in chicken wings. Each of his nine flavored sauces are original recipes Pace created based on his years of experience in food service.

In 1990, Pace left the hectic and unstable world of the Board of Trade to open a restaurant with a few friends. Taking a page from his childhood memories, Pace launched La Bella Pasteria in west suburban Oak Park.

“A lot of the influence that went into La Bella came from family meals,” Pace recalls. “Every Sunday I would go to my grandparent’s house for pasta and neck bones. When we started La Bella, we tried to bring that family atmosphere to the public.”

Riding the wave of success generated by his first restaurant, Pace opened a second spot in Oak Park, the Avenue Ale House, in 2002, and then a third restaurant, Scappa Italian Kitchen in southwest suburban Clarendon Hills, in 2007. But after 22 years, it was time to do something different.

“You kind of get burnt out,” Pace confesses. “I wanted to spend a little more time with my family. I have a 16-year-old son who I want to enjoy.”

Pace sold the three restaurants and started Wingboss. And since the restaurant just celebrated its anniversary in May, Pace is obviously doing things right.

Working with a few of his former chefs, Pace has create a full spectrum of unique sauces, all of which are made from scratch. Nothing is out of a bottle and, bucking the trend at the national chains, nothing is precooked.

“I did some research before opening, but I already knew what I wanted to do,” Pace explains. “Wingboss is different because everything is fresh and special. Even the Garlic Parmesan wings are made with imported Parmesan cheese.”

Pace hopes to open more spots, and then possibly start franchising. Considering that Wingboss currently goes through 12,000 to 15,000 wings a week, the potential impact on the local chicken population could be considerable.

“Fifteen thousand pieces a week … that’s a lot of chickens! Poor chickens,” Pace says with a laugh.

Wingboss is located at 6625 W. Roosevelt Road in Berwyn. For details, call 708-637-4424, or visit www.thewingboss.com.

About Lissa Druss Christman

Nine-time Emmy award winner Lissa Druss Christman is a veteran communications strategist specializing in public affairs, crisis communications and public relations. She also brings more than two decades of experience as a news and sports television producer to bear on behalf of her clients. She is the chairman of the board of directors of The Jarrett Payton Foundation, a member of the National Italian American Foundation and a volunteer with the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans and the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii. Lissa spent more than a decade with Bears Care, the charitable arm of the Chicago Bears.