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Yelp Goes Knuckles Deep With Sticky’s Finger Joint



NYC_MunchMadness2015_WeeklyYelp16_blank__1__pdf__1_page_

Duke VS. Wisconsin? Boring. The real battle of the titans concluded last Friday as Sticky's Finger Joint slayed Dough Doughnuts, a proverbial dragon in New York's culinary landscape, to be the last restaurant standing in Yelp's annual Munch Madness competition. Ruggy of Yelp NYC sat down with co-owner Paul Abrahamian of Sticky's to talk championships, running a business in Manhattan, and the Kardashians.

Ruggy: What did you do celebrate the Yelp's Munch Madness win? Bottle Service at Lavo? Disney World? A bender in Atlantic City?

Paul: Charged my phone on my laptop (that battery took a beating during voting for sure) and took a glorious nap on a bus en route to see my family. 

R: In the short history of Yelp's Munch Madness, you crushed previous voting records. How were you able to command such a response from the Sticky's community?

P: Our chicken is just that good. If you've been to Sticky's, you've likely had an awesome experience. From the food to the music to the service, we try to keep it a real. We put the word out that Yelp's Munch Madness was happening and our fans pulled through. Our diehard frequent fryers are the best people ever!

R: Some of your menu items at are insane (the salted caramel is a favorite of ours). What was the inspiration for creating an entire business dedicated to chicken fingers? Was it tough writing a business plan? 

P: Chicken fingers have been a staple in my diet since I was a little kid. The driving force behind everything we do at Sticky's is creativity. We wanted to do something that had never been done before. We created something no one knew they wanted. Chicken fingers taken to an elevated level by not only using farm raised, antibiotic-free, hormone-free chicken, but also by putting unique, flavorful, and creative spins on this childhood favorite. 

R: Did you have a mentor? Or did you just wake up one day with the idea of dedicating your career to feeding the masses delicious and creative fried chicken fingers?

P: Only in my wildest of dreams could I have imagined that Sticky's would be what it is today. As far as a mentor, the person I have learned the most from has been my business partner and the other face of Sticky's, Jon Sherman.

R: You've had some ups and downs in the media – is there anything you regret or anything you'd have done different in hindsight?

P: Building a business is a roller coaster. I had ups and downs for sure. I've had to learn a lot of things the hard way. Experience and adversity are the toughest teachers. You're given a test first and a lesson afterwards. One of the most important things I have learned is don't let your emotions get the best of you. It's one thing to be a passionate maverick, it's another to be an emotional slingshot. It gives people who don't like you ammunition to use against you. Actively try to keep a cool and objective mindset. Try to keep it real. Also shout out and thank you to Bobby Flay and his team at Rock Shrimp!

R: Is it true Big Boi from Outkast had you cater his birthday party? Have any other notable celebs popped by for a bite? 

P: Lets make something clear, Big doesn't do creamy sauces. Big and his entire crew have been awesome to us and it's an honor and privilege to have him as a fan and friend. We feed a lot of people – celebrities included. Our Greenwich/West Village location is home to lots of celebrities. Just like you, they eat out and order delivery and pick up. Maybe a bit vague, but I'm trying not to be a Sticky's Snitch. 

R: You have awesome reviews on Yelp – what does having a good reputation on the site mean to your business?
 
P: Truth in numbers. It means we're doing something right. It means our food is awesome. It means our employees are happy and enjoying their jobs. Finger game on lock.
 
R: Do you regularly engage with your customers via the free business owner tools on Yelp?
 
P: We try to respond and engage as much as we can. I read our Yelp reviews and all online reviews religiously. Yelp is such a great tool for us as business owners to see how things are going. We really want everyone to have a consistently awesome experience. 
 
R: You've now got two locations. Any further expansion plans in the future?
 
P: Only those who risk going too far can find out how far they can go. We don't have a crystal ball, but there's no doubt the concept could be huge. Like household name huge. What I can tell you with some certainty is that we're planning on opening a third store open by the end of this year. We'll certainly keep the community and our fans posted. Moving forward it's all about keeping it real with our food, our customers, our employees and and ourselves. Keeping it real always.
 
R: If you could be any Jenner or Kardashian, which one would you be and why?
 
P: Kendall seems to have it pretty good right now but I'm happy being me. 
 
R: Anything else we should know before wrapping up this interview?
 
P: We love you all! Thank you to Dough and to all the other awesome and tasty restaurants involved in Yelp's Munch Madness. We had a blast. And finally and most importantly thank you to all our fans and friends who showed their support and voted for us and let their voices be heard. Go to www.stickys.com and order online #MustEatFingers #BoomBoom. 
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