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Tap Room / St. John Brewers Wins First Place at National Buffalo Wing Festival

Chef Isaac Buckner of the Tap Room/St. John Brewers won the first place trophy in the Sriracha category at the 21st Annual National Buffalo Wing Festival that took place over the Labor Day weekend in Orchard Park, New York.

From left, Chef Isaac Buckner, Onaisi Martinez, Vernon Araujo (KOW), Nick Norris and Daryl Caslin. (Submitted photo)

The Tap Room/St. John Brewers was the 2023 King of the Wing winner in the Restaurant Division, and the team then earned the opportunity to represent the Virgin Islands at the national competition, according to a press release announcing the victory in New York.

The team, accompanied by the V.I. Tourism Department, showcased several island-inspired wing sauces and was well received by the judges, food critics and festival goers alike, according to the press release.

“I’m feeling so grateful for the opportunity to represent the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Tap Room/STJ Brewers at the ‘Wingfest’ in Buffalo, New York,” said Buckner. “I’m so thankful for the unconditional support of my family and friends, Alpine Securities, the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism, and my STJ Brewers crew for holding it down while I was gone and of course the continuous support of our amazing V.I. community!”

The opportunity to compete at the Wingfest, with paid airfare and accommodations, was the prize package for the winner of KOW’s Restaurant Division at the 12th Annual King of the Wing contest that was presented by Alpine and White Bay Group on June 10 at Magens Bay beach and sponsored by Rapier Med, Magens Bay Concessions, Heineken, Johnnie Walker and the Tourism Department, the press release stated.

From left, Onaisi Martinez (STJ Brewers), Drew Cerza (Wingfest Organizer) and Chef Isaac Buckner with a representative from “Flying Goose” Sriracha. (Submitted photo)

“We’re extremely proud of the St. John Brewers team for bringing home a trophy,” said Vernon Araujo, the director of Philanthropy and Community Relations at Alpine and lead event coordinator for King of the Wing. “To win such an award where the buffalo wing originated is quite a feat. Now, it’s our turn to extend our hospitality to the restaurants of Buffalo and beyond by inviting them to participate in next year’s King of the Wing competition on St. Thomas. We spoke to several teams that are eager to compete in the Virgin Islands.”

The 13th Annual King of the Wing contest is scheduled for Saturday, June 8, 2024. For questions, call Vernon Araujo at 340-714-2020, email kingofthewingvi@gmail.com or visit www.kowvi.com. You can also follow KOW on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter (@kowvi) or TikTok (@kingofthewingvi).

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