As the preparation for DISH continues, Kyle Murray, our Arts & Entertainment Editor, had the pleasure of catching up with Larry Swayne, the owner of Wingzza. A popular food truck, Larry is serving that work and proud to do so–having pioneered the street food movement.
KYLE MURRAY (KM): How long have you had your food truck?
LARRY SWAYNE, OWNER OF WINGZZA (LS): We opened October 10, 2010 so we just celebrated our five year anniversary. Time flies!
KM: How did you come up with the name of your truck?
LS: As most pizza places were offering subpar wings and most wing places were offering no pizza at all, I was looking to create a brand that gave them equal attention. Wingzza was a great fit! Branding your food is a critical element when entering the fast food market; when they see or hear our name, they know exactly what to expect.
KM: How has your truck contributed to the entertainment portion of dining?
LS: Before Wingzza, there wasn’t really a food truck ‘industry’ in Charlotte. We pioneered the street food movement and stamped it as something fun and cool to do. A hipster’s destination, our presence helped inspire events like Chow Down Uptown and Food Truck Friday. Now, hitting a food truck event is akin to happy hour or a hookah bar, just for foodies. Plus, we bring OUR atmosphere to every event—music and style with great food.
KM: If your food truck could be described as an artist who would it be?
LS: I would have to say Nas as our influence can’t be denied; sometimes underappreciated but always respected. And, if you forget about us, we always find a way to surprise you.
KM: If at the time your food truck was turned, its personal theme song would play, what would it be?
LS: Big K.R.I.T.’s, ‘Pull Up.’
KM: How did you choose the colors of your logo, truck and branding?
LS: I wanted something that represented power and purpose so I went with black, straight up. More, hip hop culture influenced our logo and placement. I wanted something fly, so the wings were more than appropriate and I wanted it to be in your face—undeniable. The size of the logo on the driver’s side of the truck is, intentionally, HUGE; no matter how far away you are, you’ll see us. It’s almost like a bat signal!
KM: What do you like to spread?
LS: I like to spread LOVE. Considering all the ins-and-outs that are associated with food truck operation, it’s tough to touch everyone all of the time. However, at the end of the day, I’m a very positive person who just wants everyone to be happy and that starts with food. What makes you happier than good food?
KM: If you weren’t in the food industry, what would be your alternative?
LS: I have a degree in Marketing and was a Sr. Account Manager at a marketing consulting firm prior to opening the food truck. With that said, I would likely be in that space with a focus on branding and social media.