East Coast Wings & Grill, a North Carolina–based restaurant concept known for its 75 flavors of award-winning buffalo-style wings, plans to expand into Philadelphia with several new locations over the next five years.

The company’s plan stems from a franchise development agreement that has already been signed with business partners Anthony Chong and Daryl Ortiz to open multiple stores throughout Philadelphia, including a University Model restaurant in University City.

The area’s first restaurant is expected to open in Philadelphia in the second half of 2013. 

“While we have developed patiently over the last nine years, 2013 is going to be a big year for us in terms of restaurant openings,” says Sam Ballas, CEO of East Coast Wings & Grill, whose company recently achieved its ninth consecutive year of same-store sales increases.

“We are a brand that is focused on strategic growth and are confident that Philadelphia will be yet another successful market for us,” Ballas says. “We are simply thrilled about the partnership with Tony and Daryl, and are excited to bring the East Coast Wings & Grill experience to Philadelphia.”

Chong, a successful multiunit franchisee for 7-Eleven and other brands for many years, wanted to branch out and expand his brand portfolio. He heard of the success of East Coast Wings & Grill franchisees and decided he had to investigate further.

Ortiz, a New York native, has been in the franchising business since college, when he picked up jobs for extra cash at Domino’s and Subway. Ortiz took to franchising, so much so that he now has nearly two decades of experience working with franchise giants 7-Eleven and McDonald’s as a consultant and franchisee designee.

Ortiz met Chong in 1997 when he worked as Chong’s 7-Eleven consultant. In 2012, the two decided to go into business together and began their search for a franchise with good, strong financials when they decided upon East Coast Wings & Grill.

“After thoroughly investigating several franchise concepts, Tony and I found it refreshing to work with a company as transparent as East Coast Wings & Grill,” Ortiz says. “No other concept we researched offered the same high-level support for franchisees like East Coast Wings does.

“In fact, when we spoke with current owners in the system, each and every one had positive feedback to share,” he says. “The satisfied franchisees at East Coast Wings & Grill are a true testament to the company’s success.”

Proving the concept is successful in any economic climate with 36 consecutive quarters of same-store sales increases, East Coast Wings & Grill is far different from the norm in the chicken-wing segment.

With a focus on great-tasting, freshly prepared food for families, rather than alcohol (alcohol sales account for less than 11 percent of total sales), the burgeoning brand creates a warm and inviting décor that leaves customers feeling a sense of community.

And while its 75 flavors of buffalo-style wings, offered in 675 combinations depending on heat intensity, remain a staple of the concept, East Coast Wings & Grill’s six-page menu also includes such casual-dining fare as burgers, salads, sandwiches, and more.

Denise Lee Yohn: QSR's Marketing Guru, Growth, News, East Coast Wings & Grill