Dining With Denise Neil

Wings & Things founder splits from NFL nephew, opens her own restaurant

Valerie Mitchell, who started Wings & Things with nephew and NFL star Kamerion Wimbley, now has her own place – Valerie’s Wings & Things.
Valerie Mitchell, who started Wings & Things with nephew and NFL star Kamerion Wimbley, now has her own place – Valerie’s Wings & Things. The Wichita Eagle

The aunt of retired NFL star Kamerion Wimbley, who in 2013 helped him start local chicken-wing restaurant Wings & Things in Wichita, has split off on her own.

Valerie Mitchell said she left Wings & Things last April after she and her nephew, former Tennessee Titan and Northwest High grad Wimbley, couldn’t agree on a contract or salary for Mitchell. In December, Mitchell started her own restaurant and called it Valerie’s Wings & Things. (Wimbley retired from the NFL last year.)

It’s at 3928 E. 13th St. and offers many of the same menu items she created at Wings & Things, including wings in eight different flavors plus fried catfish, fried shrimp, French fries, fried okra and onion rings. She plans to add burgers soon.

“It has pretty much the same menu,” she said. “I created their menu.”

Wimbley, one of the few Wichitans ever selected in the first round of the NFL draft, teamed up with his aunt in the summer of 2013 to open Wings & Things at 2800 E. Central, though Mitchell had been operating versions of the restaurant since 1992. Wimbley came to town for the grand opening, and the duo opened a second store at 331 W. 31st St. South in the summer of 2014. It has since closed.

Mitchell said she’s not worried about having chosen a name and menu so similar because she created all the recipes and had the name first. Wings & Things’ manager did not return calls seeking comment.

Valerie’s Wings & Things has plenty of seating and also offers food to go. She’s selling aprons and T-shirts with her new logo, featuring a cartoon version of her face. Her specialty, she said, is her “sweet heat” wing sauce, which she’s always been known for.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, though Mitchell said she’s been getting calls on Sundays and is considering adding Sunday hours. Call-ahead orders are available at 316-409-4602.

Denise Neil: 316-268-6327, @deniseneil

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