Most of you probably know Rick Ross from his work in the music industry and his collaborations with other rappers, like Diddy, DJ Khaled, Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, Meek Mill, Wale and T-Pain, to name a few. You may also know of Ross’ love for lemon pepper chicken wings and investment in Wingstop.
But you probably didn’t know that Ricky Rozay himself is planning to take over Bradenton’s Wingstop, 3553 1st St. E. He will be in the Bradenton area in the coming weeks to promote his love for Wingstop’s lemon pepper chicken wings.
Ross recently talked with Bradenton Herald business reporter Janelle O’Dea about his latest venture.
Q: How did you get into owning Wingstop locations?
A: Just loving the chicken wings. I fell in love with the lemon pepper. It was love at first sight. It was love at first sight the first time I tried them. I was like, “This is now a part of my life.”
Q: Why Bradenton?
A: I wanted to eventually work my way up north. My dad graduated from Union Academy and I have family in Lakeland and Polk County. Growing up as a youngster I always heard about the Bradenton high school football team as a football player. It almost sounded mythical, like they were the University of Miami. Our high school football team; we took a few L’s to Manatee. I wanna come to the area and get familiar with the community.
Q: How many wings can you eat in one sitting?
A: I try to stay at 10. But I could do 15. I usually get me a 10-piece lemon pepper and a 10-piece Louisiana rub.
Q: What’s the hottest wing sauce you can stand?
A: Atomic, by far. I kind of stay away from the extremely hot wings. I got me a 10-piece of those and by the time I was halfway through I didn’t know if I could finish them. I was like, “What do I do here?” They taste great so I went on ahead and finished my 10-piece, but that was the last time I had that particular flavor.
Q: What’s your favorite wing sauce besides lemon pepper?
A: The Louisiana rub. It’s amazing.
Q: When is your favorite time to eat wings?
A: The first day I ate them I was in a barbershop (in Miami) and the Wingstop was next to the barbershop. I went and got a 10-piece lemon pepper. That was at 1 p.m., I wanna say. And I went back at 8 p.m. You know, early in the day, if we just got started, mid-day, however you wanna do it, it’s all good.
Tom Hanks and Colin Kaepernick The two people Rick Ross would like to share a plate of wings with Source: Rick Ross
Q: Who is your favorite celebrity to share a plate of wings with?
A: The only celebs I really got to share wings with are my teammates, the artists on the team, you know, Wale, Meek Mill, you know we all go there. I could see me sitting down and having a 10-piece with a conversation with Tom Hanks. I could see that. I’m ready to see his new film and I wanna let him know what “Big” meant to me as a young youth. As well as (San Francisco 49ers quarterback) Colin Kaepernick. I could see him most definitely coming in and us enjoying some wings as well. My table’s open.
Q: How many Wingstops do you own?
A: I’m an owner. Let’s treat each one like it’s our first and last one. Let’s not get caught up in how many stores we own. Let’s treat this Bradenton location like it’s our very first and our very last one. How many we own isn’t important to me.
Q: Can you tell me about any collaborations you’re working on, whether culinary or musical?
A: Musical, I got a lot of dope things coming up. Actually I was just in the studio working on a Fergie record, so that was cool. I have always seen her videos but I didn’t know she was such a fly (expletive) chick, such a smooth talker. I see her vision. And I just collaborated with Skrillex for the “Suicide Squad” soundtrack.
Q: Where’s your favorite place to eat in Miami?
A: Other than of course Wingstop, of course, I’m always on the go so Checkers, with the Big Buford. And if it’s one of those days I can just enjoy life it would be Prime 112. When I just have all the time in the world, I’ll take you to Prime 112 to get you one of those amazing salads as well as one of those Kobe heavily massaged steaks.
More about Wingstop: Wingstop began as a small buffalo-style chicken wing restaurant in Garland, Texas, in 1994. There are now more than 900 Wingstop locations across the U.S., Mexico, Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates, according to the Wingstop website. Wingstop is a publicly traded company (NASDAQ: WING) and reported an 18.2 percent gain in revenue in the 2016 fiscal year second quarter.