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IRONTON — You’ve heard of buffalo wings, but how about elk wings?

Located next to the Elk Lodge in Ironton is a small restaurant serving up some of the best wings in the Tri-State. The restaurant also offers a variety of burgers, sandwiches, appetizers and daily specials such as Taco Tuesdays.

The restaurant was opened last year by new restaurateur Cody Wise.

“This building’s been here for about 150 years. There’s a lot of history here,” Wise said. “I’ve been a member of the Elks Club Lodge No. 177 since I was 21.”

Wise said he took over as the bar manager of the club, and business was slow.

“We had a kitchen that hadn’t been used in about five or six years, so I brought up the idea of starting to cook down here. The club said I could do it, so I took about $300-$400 to Sam’s Club and bought the kind of food I thought would sell here. We started with the basics: cheeseburgers, fries, onion rings, etc. I did it for about a year and we started to get a following, so they let me rent out this space and open a restaurant that is open to the public.”

Wise Guys opened to the public in July 2020.

“This is actually my first restaurant job, though I’ve learned a lot about cooking from my grandparents and my mom,” Wise said. “I’ve also learned a lot from friends and employees with more experience in the restaurant business, as well as other restaurant owners.”

Wise said the burgers are top-notch.

“Our feature burger is the Wild West. It has pepper jack cheese, pulled pork, bacon and barbecue sauce topped with a large onion ring. We have won awards for our wings, our burgers and our Philly Cheese Steak,” Wise said. “Our Cajun Dry Rubbed Wings are very good. I like to get the Cajun Rub with the Carolina Gold sauce.”

Customers can enjoy an order of boneless or traditional wings for $9.99 served with a side of crinkle cut fries. Sauces for wings include such flavors as Buffalo, BBQ, Parmesan Garlic and Sriracha Bourbon. There’s also a Philly Cheese Steak ($9.99) and a Chicken Philly ($9.99) topped with sauteed peppers, onions, provolone and A-1 Sauce. Hamburgers start at $6.99 for a classic cheeseburger. For $12.99, you can grab a sampler with wings, a choice of loaded nacho or loaded fries, mozzarella sticks and a choice of onion rings or fried pickles.

“What’s helped me out is Ironton being such a close-knit community,” Wise said. “I started at the worst time possible with the pandemic. It’s been a learning process, but I pride myself on maintaining my business. People have been really supportive of us down here.”

Wise Guys is located at 416 Park Ave. in Ironton, across the street from the courthouse. It is open from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. Monday through Saturdays and is closed on Sundays. Cash and all major credit cards are accepted. You can follow them at https://www.facebook.com/wiseguysrestaurant/. For carryout orders or catering information, call 740-442-8046.

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