The right stuff
2 Fat 2 Fly owners Corey Simmons (left) and Ramone Dickerson have fans across the country who love their creative stuffed chicken wings.
Photo by Andrew Haworth
Before we get to the revolutionary, secret-recipe, stuffed chicken wings, let’s talk about Ramone and Corey, two lifelong friends from Irmo whose food-with-fun philosophy elevates their 2 Fat 2 Fly restaurant beyond tasty wings.
In equal parts, Ramone Dickerson, 36, and Corey Simmons, 32, are free-wheeling business partners and spontaneous comedy duo. Their joyful chemistry, paired with those ingenious wings, is a magic formula that’s generated a nationwide fan following for their Columbia restaurant and food truck.
“It’s trippy, because there was a time when we couldn’t give these away,” Simmons reminisces, comparing 2 Fat’s early days to their current status as minor media celebrities. Their guest spot on Cooking Channel’s Eat St. led to a one-season docuseries on Oprah Winfrey Network, where fans tuned in to watch the trials and tribulations of the young food entrepreneurs. They’ve shared their wings on TV with Steve Harvey and Whoopi Goldberg and, last December, were featured on the online tailgating show The Grill Iron.
Ten years ago, Dickerson and Simmons were buddies mapping out career plans while working a variety of odd jobs. Then, they stumbled upon a unique food concept.
What if, they reasoned, they could take all the flavorings that make chicken wings so messy but delicious and stuff them on the inside? Dickerson, a self-taught chef who’s been tinkering in the kitchen since age 9, figured it out (the “how” is a closely guarded secret) with a combo of jalapenos, bacon and cheddar. They called it the Sucka Punch, and it was a hit with the patrons they were cooking for at a Columbia watering hole.
“We knew we had to rival something like the buffalo wing,” Dickerson says. “If I want a spicy wing, and you tell me it’s stuffed with bacon and cheese and jalapenos, then I’m in, every day of the week.”
Next came the Mac & Cheese—their top seller—followed by the Jambalaya (rice and smoked sausage), Chicken & Waffle, and a rotating menu of 55 flavors. Their epic fail, Dickerson says, was the Thin Mint: “You should never stuff a thin mint, as a life rule.”
In 2010, they took the wings on the road in a food truck they bought used and “Frankensteined” into functioning order, Simmons says. Their tiny-but-busy brick-and-mortar location opened near USC’s Williams-Brice Stadium in 2015.
Hoping for a return to TV and an eventual move to a bigger restaurant space, Dickerson and Simmons revel in creating fun food experiences for customers and entertaining audiences in the cooking classes they teach to kids and low-income adults.
“We see ourselves as just creative bodies, so we have fun with everything we do,” says Dickerson, who served as one of the state’s 2016 Chef Ambassadors.
“We put it on the menu that love and hugs are definitely free,” Simmons says. “All you have to do is put it out there that you want one of those hugs, and we’re coming around.”
Pimiento cheese creamed collards
6 cups collards, washed, rinsed and chopped
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup chicken stock
Fire-roasted red pepper pimiento cheese (recipe below)
Salt and pepper to taste
Saute collards with butter and onion over medium-high heat until collards are bright green, about 3–4 minutes. Add chicken stock. Fold in prepared pimiento cheese. Season to taste.
Fire-roasted red pepper pimiento cheese
1 red bell pepper
2 cups shredded, extra-sharp cheddar cheese
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
Salt and pepper to taste
Roast red pepper over an open flame or under oven broiler until blackened. Place in sealed plastic bag 5–7 minutes. Remove, and wipe off charred skin with paper towel. Seed and dice the pepper. Mix all remaining ingredients, then fold in chopped red pepper.
2 Fat 2 Fly’s Wing City
905-A Bluff Road, Columbia | (803) 638-4411 | 2fat2flywings.com
Hours: Thursday through Saturday, 5–10 p.m.