Setting the Stage: Wild Wing Café Hosts a Night of Old-School Rock

Groups of all ages rocked and rolled into Johnson City’s Wild Wing Café on Feb. 17 to watch Rusty Steele and Quarter Bounce pulsate the stage past midnight.

Originating from Virginia and Northeast Tennessee, the Gun N’ Roses tribute band classify as a classic rock band, but they accept requests from show-goers and even play a little bit of country music.

Sarah Goodpaster, the restaurant’s marketing and promotions manager who runs the show from Knoxville, networks and coordinates these events to the last chord. Goodpaster remains on the constant hunt for music groups and entertainers to keep the performances rolling.

“Some events take weeks or months of planning,” she said. “Other events like booking tribute bands are a phone call. Then, I start promoting and marketing the events.”

While arranging events proves time-consuming, Goodpaster ensures the show goes on every week at both the Knoxville and Johnson City locations for the Wild Wing Café.

“When it comes to this profession, [one must be] creative and very detail-oriented,” Goodpaster said. “I love live music and love being able to have a bit of creative freedom and, above all, having a good time. I get to throw a party every weekend”

Goodpaster set the stage for a full house, and the Wild Wing Café management fulfilled the crowd’s expectations by scheduling experienced staff to work entertainment nights.

“I don’t get too stressed out [by the crowds],” said Drew Reardon, a bar manager at the Wild Wing Café. “I’ve been in this business for 30 years. When you are staffed properly and train your staff, that’s the best way to prepare for these events.”

Employees scrambled to meet the needs of the crowd, waltzing within the bar confines or zigzagging through tight-knit friend circles and tables. The kitchen kept busy, clanging plates and glasses, while sending the waiters and waitresses with a pile of food and drinks.

After gulping down a couple of beers and inhaling wings, folks of all ages surged the dance floor as soon as Rusty Steele and Quarter Bounce broke out with Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall.”

Mallory Garrison, a frequent guest at the Wild Wing Café, guzzled the last drops of her beer to join the dance crowd.

“It’s like a constant party,” Garrison said over the live music. “It’s a getaway from my job and from everything else that stresses me.”

Rusty Steele and Quarter Bounce serenaded the audience until the night grew short, and the audience dwindled at the show’s end.

Customers called taxis or tagged along with friends when closing time approached, leaving the sports pub with sticky fingers and a smile.

“We want to give our guests more than they expect and have them leave Wild Wing Café with more than a full belly,” Goodpaster said. “We want our guests to leave with a memory.”

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