Apr. 4—VALDOSTA — Andy's Wings and Things has been a part of the local community for more than three decades.
While the popular family-owned restaurant has a range of food items, its chicken wings have been tossed in "Andy's special sauce" for years. The sauce inspired the eatery's creation.
Andrew "Mr. Andy" McRae, Andy's co-owner, said he got his start in entrepreneurship after leasing the kitchen belonging to Amvets, a club located on Old Statenville Road. He was a member of the club.
While in the Army, he concocted his secret sauce, he said. His first 10-pound bag of chicken was purchased from a Tallahassee, Fla., store.
Adrique McRae, Andrew McRae's son and Andy's co-owner, said the original building was condemned, which caused he and his dad to seek out a new site.
During their search, they found a building located at West Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, which formerly housed a barbecue business. It became home to Andy's for two years.
"Business was OK; it had its highs and lows," Adrique McRae said. "One night, after work, we got a random call from reporting the building up in flames. So, yes, we literally watched all our hard work crumple in our faces."
In mid-October, the Valdosta Fire Department reported responding to a structure fire at the 100 block of West MLK Jr. Drive. There were no injuries reported in the fire.
"Me and father thrive on showing love to our customers, and most of all, serving the community in a mannerable fashion," Adrique McRae said, "and for someone to do that really cut deep. Everything was lost in the fire."
Though the owners opened a GoFundMe account, it didn't raise much money, they said, forcing them to start from "ground zero."
Their journey first took them to a Baytree Road building before they landed at a North Ashley Street location where they decided to stay.
"With lots of cleaning and strategizing the correct business plan, we jumped out on faith and got things rolling. ... God has been so good," Adrique McRae said.
Andrew McRae said the foundation of Andy's is crafting personal homemade dishes the community loves.
He said the restaurant values its customers.
"We have a long line of loyal customers that trust us to satisfy them every time they come in," he said.
Adrique McRae said the business is in a different place with the same taste.
"If anyone knows the food, (it) has always been to die for," he said. "We (added) several more desserts and a couple new side items, as well. If anything, overall the food is better."
Aside from Andy's special sauce, chicken wings also come in lemon pepper, buffalo and "Da Drip" flavors. The owners describe Da Drip as having a sweet, tangy flavor profile with an added "kick" to it.
Ribs, chitterlings, baked macaroni and cheese, potato salad, fries, collard greens, pork chops, sausage dogs, grilled chicken, red velvet cake, pound cake, strawberry shortcake and "Andy's ghetto juice" are also on the menu. Andy's ghetto juice is Andrew McRae's version of a lemonade.
Andy's has booth seating on both sides of the space with a walkthrough in the middle.
Photos of the McRaes and others cover the walls.
The restaurant is taking COVID-19 precautions as directed by the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control. A transparent divider separates employees from customers and staff members wear masks.
The McRaes said they thank the community for spending more than 30 years supporting them.
"Through all the hardships, we are still standing," Adrique McRae said. "It feels good to be back."
There are hopes to make Andy's a franchise.
"Andy's is gonna be here forever," Adrique McRae said. "Our kids' kids will eat it. It's been around for decades, and we plan to keep it that way."
The establishment, 2525 N. Ashley St., is open 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Call (229) 241-0557 for more information.