KOK Wings & Things, founded by former University of Louisiana at Lafayette students, has announced it will be establishing a new location in Baton Rouge and aims to have it open by July.
KOK was founded by Corey McCoy, Avery Bell, Jared Johnson and Tre’jan Vinson, who were fraternity brothers in Kappa Alpha Psi. McCoy shared how the concept of the restaurant first came about when chief executive officer McCoy and Vinson decided to cook for a house party.
“We were living together while we were going to UL. Me and Trey were fraternity brothers at the time and we started to throw house parties at our house,” McCoy said. “We ended up thinking about cooking for everybody, making the party a little bit more fun and my dad had a nice little recipe that he thought so we tried it out a couple times. It was pretty good, pretty successful, and I realized we could possibly make a business out of it.”
The KOK in Baton Rouge will be their fourth location, on top of their two locations in Lafayette and one in Franklin.
“We want to get ready before the fall semester starts, you know LSU and Southern homecoming — so much going on in the fall and fall is always restaurants’ high period,” Vinson said. “So we want to get our staff trained and get the community in Baton Rouge really used to having the best wings in town.”
This new location will be a full service location like the one on University Avenue. They hope to replicate the success of their University Avenue location by adapting to the local community in Baton Rouge.
“That location will replicate a lot of what University has, but just how University started off just selling food and alcohol and then adapting to the community, we want to take that same approach,” Vinson said.
On the topic of why Baton Rouge was chosen, Vinson shared that there’s been a demand there and that it’s a larger market than Lafayette, giving them the opportunity to see how well they’re able to do in a more populated city.
“It’s been a high demand and we’ve been wanting to elevate from one market to another. Baton Rouge is a bigger market than Lafayette, there’s just more people, more infrastructure there,” Vinson said. “We’ve only been able to go to lateral markets like southside Lafayette or Franklin, so this would be the first time that we’d actually see what our product and our brand can do in a bigger city and how quickly we can make an impact.”
Vinson further added that they do plan to expand KOK further with the goal to eventually become a national brand.
“We want to get out of state, we want to go from city to city, state to state, maybe even to another country if at all possible. Right now we’re trying to make sure that we can go from major city to major city in Louisiana,” Vinson said.
Vinson spoke on how KOK had opened up three locations within a year of each other when they first started up, though they slowed down to focus on infrastructure and staffing. However, the hope now is to ramp up the addition of new locations again.
“Going to Baton Rouge will help with that because it’ll show how quickly and effectively we can implement the things that we planned,” Vinson said.