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Meet Lertkiet Lertchayantee of Wings Ahoy

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lertkiet Lertchayantee.

Hi Lertkiet, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
In 2011, I spent 48 hours by plane and by car to arrive in a small college town in Kentucky as an international student from Thailand. The first night there was no water service in the house where I was going to live. I remember walking 2 miles to buy water from Wal-Mart so I could bathe and brush my teeth. For three years, it was surviving minimal English skills, being broke all the time, and having serious culture shock.

Many times, I would ask myself “What am I doing here?”, “I miss Thailand – Is this where I want to be in the future”, “Can I be happy in America?”After graduation I moved to New York City and started working in restaurants – this was my inspiration. Like many immigrants, I thought of America as a big country where everyone has big dreams. My big dream was that I too wanted to own a restaurant, but I had limited English and little funds.

While working in NYC, I had the chance to see many well-run restaurants with innovative and fresh concepts. Ideas were constantly running through my head, and it hit me one day in a coffee shop after work – America is such a diverse and culturally mixed people why not offer a taste of some of those regions in fried chicken wings?

My goal was to deliver authentic tastes in the form of sauces and seasonings. The idea for Wings Ahoy came from a pirate traveling the world gathering the most flavorful sauces anywhere and offering them to our customers.

Once I had decided on a fried chicken wings restaurant and the concept, I began to research other fried chicken spots, particularly American and Korean. I decided to make my fried chicken extra crispy with multiple sauces and seasonings.

Through tireless experimenting and many hours of painstaking work my dream has been realized in a small fried chicken spot in Towson, MD

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
I truly believe that what comes easy won’t last. It has not been a smooth road to get here.

America is a tough place to be successful and, since arriving here I’ve had to deal with having English as a second language and working 7 days a week, saving every penny for the business. The location I could afford needed extensive renovations and ended up costing substantially more and taking months longer than I had anticipated.

After a year of challenges obtaining the licenses, buying the equipment, and testing countless versions of sauces and seasonings Wings Ahoy is finally serving customers with love and quality.

As you know, we’re big fans of Wings Ahoy. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
Wings Ahoy is serving traditional wings boneless slathered in unique sauces and seasonings as well as sandwiches and sides. We use a second fry technique on our chicken to make it extra crispy and with our homemade marinade, it remains tender and juicy.

Our sauces and seasonings are made at the restaurant and won’t be found anywhere else. We use authentic ingredients to assure that we deliver a region’s genuine taste to customers. I am so excited to bring this wonderful taste to customers – with 12 different sauces and seasonings we know we’ll have something for everyone.

I love making people happy with the food and hearing their reaction when they taste meets their expectations

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