I make my living writing about things that interest me.
In order to kill time and for 14 hours a day I run a fast food wing operation and a fast-casual Mediterranean restaurant right next door. I would give you the names of my establishments but my contract with Cosmos Philly doesn’t allow it. If any of you wants to get a hold of me however you can find me at novagrill.com.
During my spare time I also do family therapy (leave her she’s cheating on you with your best friend vlaka I told one of my workers recently) and business consulting (got to raise your wing prices RE I said to a friend who owns a pizzeria and was complaining about the rising food costs)
On Sundays I’m transformed into a soccer player where for 2 hours the “wannabees” and the has-beens” meet and spend 20 minutes debating who is playing with who, another 20 minutes arguing if the ball crossed the line or not and then there’s about half hour of “koutsobolio” which ends with breakfast and a Greek omelet with extra feta cheese, extra crispy bacon and 2 loafs of wheat toast (healthier than white bread) layered with several pounds of butter and more koutsobolio.
Greek ladies never let your husband or boyfriend call you a koutsobola again. Just listen in on what the men are talking about at the next Greek dinner dance and you’ll see who talks more about others, men or women.
Wait, did I just say boyfriend? No such thing in the Greek community, the word boyfriend doesn’t exist. Women are either single or married and if there’s a young Greek buck with “yia sou” tattooed on his bicep, ¾ of a bottle of hair gel and “skoularikia” on both ears named “Panos” that’s picking up your daughter to take her to the movies he’s not a boyfriend OH, NO, He’s just a FRIEND!
As most of you know in a few days we will have the super bowl and with the super bowl come… you guessed it the massive consumption of FTEROUGES (Chicken Wings). “Hi Mr. Costas my name is Jeff and I’m with the News of Delaware County” said the guy on the other end of the line, “No not interested, I get my news from Cosmos Philly I don’t want to buy your paper”. “No, no sir I would just like to interview you about the wing shortage if that’s okay” WOW! My two teenage daughters won’t even say good morning to me and this guy wants an interview so I spend the next hour answering Jeff’s questions.
Wings used to be thrown out or used for chicken stock not that long ago. Yea they used to be a “meze” in Buffalo New York http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=124630769
but became popular nationwide when the Buffalo Bills went to the super bowl 4 times. http://www.kitchenproject.com/history/BuffaloWings/
In Capitalism the story goes like this: An increase in demand pushes the price of a good upward so once the chicken wings became popular their price starts going up and from 60 cents/pound to 1.00 then 1.50 and today they are between 2.10 and 2.50/pound. (Wholesale boneless chicken breast is 2.20, thighs are a buck and chicken legs are 60 cents/pound).
Another interesting thing that not too many people know is that every small family run chicken farm in New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland was gobbled up by major outfits like Purdue which left only a few major slaughter houses/suppliers in the marketplace. Believe it or not chickens today are slaughtered for their 2 wings and come super bowl time with the high demand the independent fast food operator that has chicken wings on the menu ends up losing money and calls me to complain about it. “ti tha ginei re Costa ?” as if I’m in on the price fixing. Did I say price fixing? Nah, there’s no such thing as collusion is there? In Economics 101 they told us that prices are set by the free market. I say :“tou kolou ta enniamera kai to m… ni tis Xaidws” (I just love Greek sayings, don’t you?.
So when there are only 2-3 major players they can limit supply by not slaughtering as many chickens and they can also throw their wings in massive freezers during the summer months when demand is low and once football season begins VOILA! There’s a shortage of wings and the poor pizzeria/wing operator is pulling his hair out because 1) he can’t find wings and 2) he has to fork out anywhere between $80-$100/case. How many wings are in a case you ask? Roughly 220-250 pieces so each wing ends up costing 40-45 cents each. Then if you add the blue cheese, celery sticks, labor etc.the pizza/wing guy is left with nothing so that Louis Vuitton his wife wants to show off at church on Sunday will have to wait a bit.
Another thing I just don’t understand with the “Amerikanoi” is why do they have to have wings on Superbowl Sunday? I don’t get it. We cook thousands and thousands of wings that day with people waiting out the door in the cold FOR CHICKEN WINGS!
Having a Superbowl party? throw some Souvlakia on the grill instead.