Food & Drink » Food & Wine

The scoop on Riko’s Kickin’ Chicken and Pinks Coffee House

by

comment

Honey Gold, Honey Hot, BBQ, Lemon Pepper. We're talkin' wings here, Riko's wings to be exact.

Riko's Kickin' Chicken, created by Mariko "Riko" Wiley, has been a serious contender on the food truck scene over the past three years, serving up party-size wings, whole wings, as well as legs and thighs.

Riko, who has worked in the restaurant business for a decade, had that proverbial entrepreneurial bug, while at the same time experienced that universal food truck dilemma: Omnipresence is still just an idea.

In March, Riko and his wife, Tiffany, responded to these circumstances with a physical address — 1329 Madison, near the corner of Cleveland.

If opening day is any indication, they made the right choice.

"We had a line around the building from open to close. We closed at midnight that day," Tiffany says.

She says their biggest seller is the 10-piece party wings, rolled and dipped in one of 10 sauces for $5, but they also have some not-so-wingy best-sellers, too.

Tiffany Wiley of Riko’s Kickin’ Chicken shows off their popular wings.
  • Tiffany Wiley of Riko’s Kickin’ Chicken shows off their popular wings.

The shrimp burger is a popular choice — a beef or turkey burger, grilled and topped with shrimp ($10), as are the Kickin' loaded fries — French fries covered in Ranch dressing, bacon bits, jalapeños, and cheese ($4.99), which you can make Kickin' Chicken loaded fries if you want to top them with chicken.

Recently Riko thought he would try dipping his catfish filets in his signature honey gold sauce, and they were faced with another opening day.

"It went viral," Tiffany says. "We had a line out the door."

They also offer Kickin' Fried Bologna ($6) which comes with slaw and barbecue sauce, a veggie burger ($6), tacos (two for $7) with your choice of chicken, fish, or shrimp, and cakes and banana pudding, and they offer catering and hope to open a second location in the future.

"We're really embracing the area and getting to know everyone," Tiffany says.

"We cook to order and cook it when the customer comes in and orders. We put a lot of love into our food," she says.

Riko's Kickin' Chicken, 1329 Madison, 726-5347. You can find them on Facebook and Instagram. Open Tuesday-Thursday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday noon to 4 p.m. Check Facebook for Monday openings.

One of Leanne Nastasi's favorite college memories was hitting all the different coffee houses in Montreal.

When the Canadian sales manager and her husband were transferred to Olive Branch, Mississippi, for his work, she couldn't find any eclectic coffee shops.

So she just opened her own, Pinks Coffee House.

"I found the perfect spot," Nastasi says.

The spot she found was on Pigeon Roost Road in the Old Towne district of Olive Branch, and over the last three years, Nastasi has carved out just the kind of coffee house she — and her customers — have been looking for.

"I knew it needed to be a place kids could come to, so I created the TV room in the back with sofas," she says.

She really wanted to create a place for everyone.

"It's a community meeting place, a safe place, where you can come and not be concerned about what you look like or who you are," Nastasi says.

When she first opened, she tried to create a traditional coffee house, with a top-of-the-line espresso machine and such, but she found that her customers wanted candy-bar coffee drinks and homestyle meals.

Now she has people driving in from Cordova and Vicksburg just for her chicken salad.

"I put cranberries, pecans, local honey, and not too much mayo and serve it on a croissant," Nastasi says.

Her BLAT is her second-biggest seller, also served on a croissant, which she heats before adding the mayo ($7.25), and customers especially like her BLTP — her BLT topped with her popular spicy pimento cheese ($7.25).

She makes quiche — with or without crust, funeral potatoes, mango salsa, and all sorts of sweets, including cupcakes, mini cupcakes, oatmeal cranberry cookies, peanut butter pie, and on and on, and her Rolo caramel mocha is nothing to sneeze at.

She also hosts family game nights, tea parties, offers catering and lunch boxes, and kids cooking classes, and her daughter, Gracie, who is 8, runs a kids' book club.

"I have a little girl who wants to be a baker, so I pay her to come in and make the mini cupcakes," Nastasi says.

"It's a place where you can come with your laptop and get to know different people," she says. "If you stick around, you feel like you're part of a family."

Pinks Coffee House, 9120 Pigeon Roost in Olive Branch, (662) 420-7229. Find them on Facebook. Open Monday through Friday 7-ish to 5-ish, Saturday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Add a comment