Two Washington brothers have teamed up to become first-time owners of a new sub sandwich and hot wings restaurant in town.
Mike and Lenny Aiello are the owners of Big Boy’s Grilled Subs and Wings, located at 919 Jefferson St. The new eatery opened April 23.
Originally from Massachusetts, the brothers grew up eating and working at “mom and pop” sub shops.
When they moved to Washington in 1994, they noticed there were not many of those types of sandwich shops around and wanted to fill a void.
Before starting their own restaurant, they worked at several local establishments including the old Busch Brewery restaurant and Elijah McLean’s among other places.
The brothers said they always wanted to open a sub shop and through luck, they were able to do so on Jefferson Street, where a former barbecue restaurant was located.
Both Mike and Lenny each have 20 years’ experience in the restaurant industry from washing dishes to managing.
“We’ve taken all of the good things we’ve learned from other places we’ve worked at and incorporated them into our business,” Lenny said.
Because they are from the East Coast, Mike said some of their sub sandwiches have that “East Coast flare” that customers may not find at other area sub sandwich shops.
“It’s wicked good,” Mike said, noting the term “wicked” is used a lot on the East Coast to describe things.
In addition to sub sandwiches, Big Boy’s offers pizza, salads, gyros and hot chicken wings with at least 12 different sauces, with more to come.
Big Boy’s hopes to become famous for its Wall of Flame, where people are put to the challenge of eating 12 hot wings within 10 minutes.
The wings have ghost chili pepper powder and habanero pepper seasoning. Customers are not allowed to have drinks or dipping sauce during the challenge.
If a customer eats completes the challenge, the meal is free. If customers cannot, they have to pay.
Mike and Lenny said about half of the people who tried have completed the challenge, but after it’s over, their cheeks are red, their lips burn and their eyes tear up.
In addition to hot wings, their jumbo ravioli and artichoke hearts are hand-breaded.
Mike said the restaurant is “reasonably priced,” noting that most items on the menu are under $10.
Big Boy’s employs about 10 people. It has flat-screen TVs and arcade games. The restaurant seats about 62 people.
Artwork on the walls at Big Boy’s was done by local artists Charlie Darling and Slava Bowman.
Big Boy’s will be serving their food at the August Sunset on the Riverfront event in Washington.
Big Boy’s is open Sundays through Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. The restaurant’s phone number is 636-390-SUBS (7827).