It’s been fun to watch the evolution of the chicken wing as a winning ingredient for so many local restaurants.

There was a time when it was hard to find wings featured on anyone’s menu. But someone added some sauce, somebody else added some seasoning and the next thing you know wings are on everybody’s menu. Sure, the saucy ones can be messy, but who doesn’t like playing with their food?

So when somebody offers 25-cent wings all day, every day, I’ve got to check it out. Johnny Carino’s, 137 N. Range Line Road, has reworked its small bar and transformed it into a much larger tavern with big-screen TVs. The remodeling removed parts of two walls and extended the bar. There is now a long row of taps. Before, the bar offered about five beers. The tavern now has about 50 choices with some as low as $2 each.

A grand opening was held on Nov. 7. The first 100 guests received free pizza for a year.

Clearly, Carino’s has identified a target market that it wants to serve and is going after it in a big way. And it’s working. When I visited the restaurant last Wednesday afternoon, the tavern was hopping with activity. The bartender greeted some senior guests as if they were regulars, noting that she had expected to see them the day before. The happy hour menu changes from day to day, offering budget specials on wood-fired pizza and Italian dishes and drinks. It’s a good value for those of us who are on fixed incomes.

But I was there for the wings. You have to order five wings of the same flavor. I ordered five lemon-pepper wings. These are seasoned wings. They cost 25 cents each. I also ordered five garlic-teriyaki wings. These are sauced wings. They cost 45 cents each. My total bill came to $3.80, including tax. These bone-in wings were not petite. These were substantial wings. By comparison, five wings at most other restaurants might cost you $5 to $8 as an appetizer.

The order did not come with the usual carrots, celery and ranch dressing, but it did come with a small loaf of Italian bread and a saucer of olive oil and black pepper for dipping. I had four of the wings and called it good. I really liked the lemon-pepper version. The rest came home in a to-go box.

One last thing — the promise is to get you your wings in 15 minutes. I got mine in half that time.

Bottom line: Good value and good service equals a winner in my book.

New home on Main Street

Copy Products Inc., a family-owned business based in Springfield, is moving its branch location in Joplin to a site with much higher visibility in downtown Joplin.

CPI is moving to a modern office building at 731 S. Main St. The property, which has been on the market for some time, was the former First Financial. CPI is moving from a smaller space at 809 Katherine Ave.

A spokeswoman for the company in Springfield said the move will take place after the new building is prepped for occupation. “We’re gradually doing that now,’’ she said.

CPI has been in business since 1963. It specializes in digital and color office equipment, printers, scanners, fax machines, shredders, folders and collators. CPI also offers managed print services and electronic document management.

CPI has offices in Springfield and Joplin in Missouri, Mountain Home in Arkansas, and Iola, Pittsburg and Wichita in Kansas.

If you have news about something that’s happening on Range Line Road or Main Street, dial 417-623-3480, ext. 7250; or send an email to; or send a fax to Wally Kennedy at 417-623-8598.

Wally Kennedy is a reporter and columnist for The Joplin Globe.

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