Never fear, wing lovers: Ballard's Wingmasters may no longer exist, but new bar Fitzgerald’s promises to carry on access to the objects of your addiction.
The Ballard sports bar changed hands in late October, when locals Kevin Fitzgerald and wife/partner Brenda purchased the wing spot. Although doors never closed, the owners got right to work changing over outdated POS systems and coolers, and bringing in a chef to develop a new menu.
The first step? "Cleaning. Lots of cleaning and more cleaning," Fitzgerald tells Eater. The new awnings and new name went up the last week of November while the interior is being upgraded with new paint and such. "We’re keeping the character of the old bar, but giving it a facelift," he says. When sticky, saucy wings are your specialty, a little sprucing probably couldn’t hurt...
The drink menu will change somewhat, with new draft beer and more bottles, plus a new wine program to come, and Fitzgerald promises a cocktail list as a focal point in the coming months. The new owners have lined up a year’s worth of programming, too, with every sports package for pro and college games already being purchased, and comedy acts scheduled too.
As for food, Sam Twynam will be taking over the kitchen. With 25 years of experience managing kitchens — including a long stint as executive sous chef of the Jolly Roger Taproom at Maritime — he has big plans for an overhaul.
But before sauce-heads freak out, Twynam tells Eater he plans to keep the most popular wings on the menu, knocking off just a few of those that didn’t have much of a following. The enormous baby arm-sized mozzarella sticks will also remain.
A new range, new ovens, and a new hood will help make the transition from greasy food haven to fresh flavors, says Twynam. Meat will come from Ballard mainstay Cascioppo's, and Twynam plans to brine, rub, and roast their own turkey and roast beef for sandwiches. Two daily from-scratch soups, breads from neighbor Tall Grass Bakery, and a fresh sheet with comfort food like bacon-wrapped meatloaf will round out the menu.
This is Kevin and Brenda Fitzgerald’s first bar ownership, though both have worked in the industry for decades. Kevin Fitzgerald says, "The new Fitzgerald's will be a combination of Old Ballard charm with new and improved food choices along with great beer. It will be the place for the locals to grab a drink and meal while watching their favorite sports team.We hope to create a great neighborhood sports bar for all to enjoy."