J. Timothy's To Appear On Travel Channel's 'Food Paradise'

Plainville’s J. Timothy’s Taverne is in the national spotlight again, slated for an appearance on Travel Channel’s “Food Paradise” Sunday, Jan. 14, at 8 p.m.

The episode theme, “Lots of Cluck,” will highlight “the country's choicest chicken dishes,” according to a listing. “Whether it's fried to golden perfection, smothered in gravy, stuffed in a taco or topping a mound of crispy fries, chicken is one of the most versatile meats on the planet.”

J. Timothy’s general manager Greg Gardner said a crew from the network shot scenes at the restaurant over two days, for about 10 hours’ time. While he says he can’t disclose what’s featured in the episode, it seems likely the Travel Channel will showcase the eatery’s signature dish: “dirt” wings, known for their unique preparation (fried, sauced, fried, then sauced again.)

“It just blows our mind; it really does,” Gardner says of the restaurant’s latest national recognition. “For a little town — Plainville, Connecticut, in particular — to be put on the map like that, it’s a humbling experience. And we’re very grateful for the opportunity.”

As restaurant legend goes, the dirt wings get their moniker from a guest who played on the restaurant’s softball team years ago. His nickname was Dirt, as in “older than dirt,” and his wings would get cold as he spent time socializing around the bar. He’d ask the cooks to throw the wings into the fryer again, which created the now-renowned crispy, caramelized texture.

Before long, others, too, were ordering the wings cooked “dirt” style. “There’s a very close-knit ring of regulars out there,” Gardner says. “Once someone started doing something, it caught on pretty quick and then it just took on a life of its own. It was pretty incredible.”

The wings are available in traditional buffalo flavor, honey gold BBQ, teriyaki and sweet red chili. They’re served with celery, carrots and J. Timothy’s housemade bleu cheese dressing.

This is the second cable TV closeup for J. Timothy’s specialty, following other mentions on BuzzFeed, Thrillist and The Daily Meal. In early February 2016, Food Network featured the dirt wings on its “Top 5” countdown-style program, just days before the restaurant headed into its busiest weekend of the year. This year, they expect to sell about 10 tons of wings for Super Bowl orders, Gardner said.

The restaurant will take orders for Super Bowl wings starting Jan. 22. Orders typically book up by the Friday before the game, Gardner says, so customers are encouraged to plan early. Wings are available in “cold packs” with sauce on the side, allowing for easy reheating at game time.

Gardner expects the latest spotlight will bring in more out-of-town guests, as the Food Network appearance did two years ago. From his office window facing New Britain Avenue, he’ll see visitors walk up to the circa-1789 building and take photos of themselves in front of the “J. Timothy’s Taverne” lettering.

“It blows my mind,” he says. “It’s like we’re a destination.”

Travel Channel’s “Food Paradise” airs Sunday, Jan. 14 at 8 p.m. and then re-airs Jan. 15 at 3 a.m. and Jan. 20 at 2 p.m. travelchannel.com. J. Timothy's Taverne is at 143 New Britain Avenue in Plainville. 860-747-6813, jtimothys.com.

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