Tonawanda News

February 20, 2014

Ying says new restaurant thriving

By Jessica Bagley
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — TOWN OF TONAWANDA — The owner of Ying’s Wings and Things, who made allegations of racial discrimination against police last year, said he is focusing on his business at his new town location and not his ongoing legal troubles.

“Right now, I don’t complain about that,” Jimmy Ying said Wednesday. “I just concentrate on our menu, and we are doing well, we’ve been very busy.”

Ying moved the restaurant from the Sheridan and Eggert plaza in December, following a disagreement with the landlord and a series of run-ins with patrons and law enforcement. In November, a shooting took place in the Ying’s parking lot during a college party at the restaurant. Ying was charged with criminal nuisance after the attack, but the shooter has not been apprehended.

In December, police arrested Ying again and charged him with second-degree strangulation and second-degree assault following an alleged attack on an employee. He has pleaded not guilty, and is set to appear in town court on March 3 for further proceedings.

Town police spokesman Capt. Joseph Carosi said authorities have not had any problems with Ying since the recent move to 546 Niagara Falls Blvd. The business is a venture with Ying’s ex-wife, who has operated K Cafe at the location for more than a year.

The new location is smaller and more family-friendly, and Ying said the business has benefited from the different atmosphere. He’s still looking for a bigger space, but wanted to stay nearby in order to retain his customer base — and said he remains committed to investing in the town.

“Many people have thought we closed and are then happy to find out that we just moved,” Ying said. “We’ve gained about 70 or 80 percent of our customers back here, and we still deliver everywhere, and we’re still open until 4 a.m.”

Ying hasn’t been hosting the non-alcohol college parties — affairs at which neighbors and police say patrons simply drank in the parking lot rather than inside the bar — at the new spot, but he is holding them at his Depew location. Those events haven’t caused as many problems as the events did in the town, he said.

Although Ying said he is not letting issues with the town police discourage him, he did reference the disputes he has had with officers. Last year, Ying claimed that authorities were discriminating against him, his employees and the college students — many of whom were black.

“Minority businesses still get different treatment or discrimination,” he said. “We couldn’t turn away our customers because they are black.”

Town of Tonawanda police vehemently denied his and the employees’ claims.

“Mr. Ying is running an operation that is not conducive to his patrons or to the general public,” Chief Anthony Palombo said in response to Ying in November. “It is an unruly premise and we are going to enforce the law.”

Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000 ext. 4150, or follow her on Twitter @JessicaLBagley.