Old Pueblo Abuelo: A Sad Goodbye to Wings over Broadway

Wings over Broadway at 8838 E Broadway Blvd. (Andy Morales/AllSportsTucson)

This is the 29th installment of “Old Pueblo Abuelo,” a thought on positive things happening in the Old Pueblo from a sometimes cranky and often times humorous grandfather actually born in Tucson and writing from my desk in Tucson, the Old Pueblo.

It was called Long Wong’s from 1994 to 2002 and then Wings over Broadway. 20 years. Come Sunday, it will be no more.

The 5004 E Broadway Blvd. location changed hands from the Almada family to the Esquibel family in 2007 and those wings started to really fly. The second location opened at 8838 E. Broadway in 2017 in the former location of BZ’s Pizza Company. BZ’s had a short run of three years and it suffered from the closure of Safeway, which anchored the strip mall by Camino Seco. The 5004 E. Broadway location closed in 2020 and spot is now an open lot.

Safeway moving out may have been a sign of things to come along with the overly drawn out Broadway improvement project that stopped customers from coming in, and then COVID, but I prefer to think about the good things that happened inside where customers became friends. Where bartenders, servers and cooks became friends. Where strangers became friends.

Lemon Pepper and Blue Cheese. (Andy Morales/AllSportsTucson)

It became a hangout for former and current high school football coaches and youth teams crowded around the tables. NFL Sundays were a must. Wings over Broadway earned 11 out of 15 awards for the Best Wings in Tucson including the last 10 awards in a row. That doesn’t happen by accident.

Dozens of restaurants have closed in the Old Pueblo in recent years and many more are struggling. Each has its own collection of stories and memories, especially local restaurants. The owners and employees are our neighbors, their money and goodwill stays in our neighborhoods, not in an office in another state.

Wings over Broadway has been a constant supporter of youth and high school sports and many of our AllSportsTucson shows have been recorded there. Personally, I have probably eaten well over 1,000 wings, 10 at a time. My favorite is lemon pepper with blue cheese and a michelada and my friends there all know it. Soon, they will forget what I like but I will remember how I felt every time I walked through those doors. It’s been said Wings over Broadway resembled the TV show “Cheers” and I guess that’s a good way to remember it.

Everybody knew your name.

More “Old Pueblo Abuelo” can be found here.

Owner JJ Esquibel making me one of my last drinks at his bar. (Andy Morales/AllSportsTucson)

“I just wanted to tell everyone thank you and from the bottom of my heart I appreciate all the overwhelming love and support we received yesterday in posts and in person. I truly do love all our customers and all the support we’ve gotten over the years and in our last few days. Yesterday was the business post but today is the heartfelt personal one. Over the years we have built the business, but most importantly we have built a community!! Those who know and come here as regulars know exactly what I’m talking about. We have customers who come to WOB not just for the food but also the interactions with our employees. We know customers by name and orders. We have customers that became friends and friends that became family. We’ve seen couples come in while dating who now bring their families in. That’s WOB… that’s who we are!! Those are things that you can only get at a small locally owned business. So please come in this week, get some great food while you can. Have a few drinks and share your memories with us. Thank you and we love our WOB community.” JJ Esquibel.

The original location. (Tucson Citizen/June 4, 2008)


Named one of “Arizona’s Heart & Sol” by KOLD and Casino del Sol, Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014, he was awarded the Ray McNally Award in 2017 and a 2019 AZ Education News recognition. He was a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. He was the first in Arizona to write about high school beach volleyball and high school girls wrestling and his unique perspective can only be found here and on AZPreps365.com. Andy is a Southern Arizona voting member of the Ed Doherty Award, recognizing the top football player in Arizona, and he was named a Local Hero by the Tucson Weekly for 2016. Andy was named an Honorary Flowing Wells Caballero in 2019, became a member of the Sunnyside Los Mezquites Cross Country Hall of Fame in 2021 and he was a member of the Amphi COVID-19 Blue Ribbon Committee. He earned a Distinguished Service Award from Amphitheater and he was recognized by the Sunnyside School District and by Tucson City Councilman Richard Fimbres. Contact Andy Morales at amoralesmytucson@yahoo.com

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