This story is part of Tri-Cities Best, a viewer vote-driven section of News Channel 11’s community coverage. Hundreds of nominations and votes placed several local businesses within reach of the title of Best Wings:

  • Alley Kat
  • Delta Blues BBQ
  • Rock’s Wood Fired Pizza & Grill
  • Southern Craft BBQ

Each nomination is a privilege, and each vote is an honor.

ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WJHL) – J’s Corner has been serving the Elizabethton community for over a decade now, but it would be easy to believe it’s been downtown for half a century. Fans rallied around the business, declaring it the winner of Tri-Cities Best Wings.

The business sits on Lynn Avenue in Downtown Elizabethton. (Photo/WJHL)

“I’ve had many sayings as we’ve gone through the years,” James Weir, co-owner of J’s Corner, told News Channel 11. “But simple and good, we just keep it simple and good.”

License plates from all across the county adorn the walls of the small corner shop, and most of them are donations from loyal customers. Weir said the business “flies them with pride” since each plate carries its own story. That personal connection is what brings Weir’s customers in time and time again.

Just one small section of a wall sports tags from Georgia to Maine, the span of the Appalachian Trail. (Photo/WJHL)

“We try to greet every single customer that comes in that door like they’re our friends because they are,” Weir said. “It’s something that we’re very thankful for. I think that’s one thing that may set us apart, is our customer service. We take pride in showing our customers that we do appreciate them.”

Weir is one of three owners and is a long-time chef. (Photo/WJHL)

J’s Corner offers a wide menu with a focus on typical diner-fare like burgers and BBQ. What sets their wings apart, Weir said, is a combo of in-house ingredients and special preparation.

“We smoke ’em, bring them up halfway then we deep fry them,” Weir said. “It keeps the good flavor in there and then it also brings the juiciness when you bring them up out of the fryer. Really good wing.”

Two-stage cooking means the wings get a smoky flavor without drying out. (Photo/WJHL)

The unique process used for J’s Corner’s wings is strikingly similar to the famous process used in Ridgewood BBQ’s pork, where a smoker is used to start the meat and a flat-iron griddle is used to finish it. A dusting from a proprietary spice blend with notes of brown sugar and seasoning salt is thrown onto each wing during the first stage, and then a sauce is added after frying.

The J’s Corner dust is a standout part of the menu, Weir said, and the restaurant is in the process of bottling it for sale in regional grocery stores. A few more flavors are coming down the pipe too, like a possible garlic parmesan wing.

“We try to do everything we can on-site,” Weir said.

Weir said his staff plays a massive part in the business’s success, and was thankful that they help forge relationships with new customers.

“When we have this kind of feedback, we’re extremely thankful for it,” Weir said. “Extremely thankful.”