VooDoo Wing Co. brings the heat

Samantha Vise, Staff Writer

My eyes stung and my nostrils burnt as the smell of hot sauce infiltrated my senses. I had just walked into Voodoo Wings, and at that moment, I knew I was right where I needed to be. Hot wings and I go way back, so it is no surprise that I have been impatiently waiting for this new Florence hotspot.

This new wingery is nestled right next to the university’s Cyprus Flats apartments. They held their soft opening on Mar. 7, and they opened to the public on Mar. 8. The restaurant has been packed since opening, according to James Riddell, the general manager.

“I love it,” said Riddell. “I was expecting to be busy, but we’re not even as busy as we can be. We blocked off the to-go pick up window and I don’t have DoorDash or anything like that. We’re getting slammed just by people coming in, and that’s amazing.”  

Riddell has been in the wing business his entire life, from working at Hooters to opening Florence’s Buffalo Wild Wings. Wings are no stranger to him. Originally from Mobile, Riddell was invited by a friend to be the manager at Voodoo Wings, which was an opportunity he could not pass up. 

Riddell and his wife moved to Florence around a month and a half ago and immediately fell in love with the town. He made sure to pay homage to the University of North Alabama, decorating the restaurant with UNA jerseys and football helmets.

I could barely notice the decor, as the building was filled with people. Low tables, high tables and the bar were all packed with patrons, all chowing down on some homemade wings.

“Everything we do is handmade – down to the whipped cream on the banana pudding,” Riddell said. “Everything is fresh, that’s why our menu is so small. Instead of trying to please everybody, we’re going to focus on a few great items and continue to make them great.” 

And you can taste it. Riddled with 15 different flavors to choose from, I settled on Riddell’s favorite: Mango Habanero, and I was not disappointed. The sauce was the perfect mix of sweet and spicy, and the homemade ranch made sure to cool down my tastebuds. The wings – and the SideWinder Fries –  were cooked to crispy perfection. My fellow ranch connoisseurs know there’s nothing as good as homemade ranch, and Riddell’s ranch was no exception. 

“These are the best wings around here,” said one customer, who also recommended the Mango Habanero.

“I like ‘em – they’re some of the best wings I’ve ever had!” said another.

And they were not wrong. As a fellow wing lover, I can confirm that Voodoo Wings are delectable. Although the building was around a year late for their opening, it was definitely worth it.

“My favorite thing about opening? Finally being able to get the chicken to the people!” Riddell said. “It took a long time to get this building up, but now we’re open. It’s good talking to people. Towards the end of the night when it slows down I can actually walk around and talk to people, and I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback. So far so good.”