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Meet Nathan Echols and Amber Snearl of These Wingz? in South Side

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nathan Echols and Amber Snearl.

Nathan and Amber, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I started vegetarianism in the early 90’s just after my grandmother Elizabeth Echols passed away. I was watching a documentary on how animals were being killed for food and I stopped eating meat the next day. There were very limited option in the 90’s and not understanding the need for more than salads and fries I became sick and started to supplement my diet by eating fish.

Fast forward to a year ago after years of on again and off again vegetarianism I decided to go Vegan and I wanted it to stick this time. I learned about Seitan and started experimenting with the different ways to cook with it. Inspired by companies like The Herbivorous Butcher and Monk Meats I started thinking about what I missed the most as a Vegan and that was Chicken Wings. Through several trial and errors, I finally found a recipe that tasted pretty good. I dream about the name, logo and concept and These Wingz? was born.

I convinced my brothers Javon and Ken to invest their time and money and hired a Blogger Amber Snearl and we entered our first event The Vegan Food and Drink Festival. We knew we had something when the line for started to form and stayed consistent for the duration of the event. We have done several events here in Chicago, New York, and South Florida with similar results.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
There are learning curves all new businesses need to go through and we have had our share. We have gone through power issues at events, running out of wings and in some cases bringing too many wings for the size of an event. The biggest struggle we have had to endure is learning on the fly. Luckily, we have a great team in place and we are able to move through the issue and come up with solutions that work. We learn from our mistakes and continuously try to improve our process.

These Wingz? – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
We are a Vegan business that sells comfort food. We are starting with Vegan Wingz, but will expand the business to include more comfort food options. Understanding how difficult it was to maintain a Vegan or Vegetarian diet, but considering the benefits we wanted to develop food that will help Vegan and Vegetarian diets stick.

Our mission is to provide good food that happens to be healthy, perfect for Vegetarians, Flexitarians, and Vegans alike. We want These Wingz? to bridge the gap between people who aren’t ready to change their diets and vegetarians across the country. We will start one Vegan wing at a time.

I love the approach we are taking to make people more aware of our brand. Our blogger Amber is a master at giving information little bits of information about Vegetarianism and Veganism while informing people of who we are. We have had a chance to meet several Vegan Chefs like Doug McNish and others and it mostly loves.


We also try to establish a great connection with our customers. Ashley Carter is probably the first person you will meet at our booth. She provides a warm smile and a patient demeanor while serving our customers. We just want to deliver good food and good vibes. I’m not sure if that sets us apart from anyone or not but we believe in having fun and delivering our food with a smile.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
We have seen people waiting in line for our Wingz for hours. Upwards of 3 hours to be exact. When a surge of people rush to get in line for your food and stay in a line that long, that all love and respect. That inspires us to work on getting food out faster and develop quicker ways to meet the demand. We don’t want our customers waiting that long for our food.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Jocelyn Carreon, Vegan Food & Drink Festival, Kia Lola

Getting in touch: VoyageChicago is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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