Daddy J's Wing Shack stands where the old Venice Cafe used to be, opposite the Encino Medical Center on Ventura Boulevard. It's owned by Joseph C. Phillips, who opened the restaurant this summer.
In between cooking up batches of wings for customers, Phillips talked about what led him to open the wing shack in Encino.
"The initial concept was that there was no good place to get good wings," he said. So he looked into spaces in West Hills, where he lives with his wife Nicole and three sons, and also looked at Encino.
"We like Encino," said Phillips, "there are a lot of good restaurants and a lot of discriminating restaurant goers."
Phillips said that his interest in cooking began when he started preparing meals for his wife in the 1990s, when he was acting in the television show General Hospital.
"I didn't know how to cook," adding that he learned as he went along, teaching one of his sons at the same time.
Before General Hospital, Phillips appeared in the Cosby Show as Denise Huxtable's (Lisa Bonet) husband, Lt. Martin Kendall (for a clip, click on the YouTube video above). During his stint as a cast member of General Hospital he also studied at a culinary school before landing an internship at Spago's. He then began catering for events and groups, and then decided to start his own restaurant.
Phillips said that he was prepared for the challenges of opening a restaurant during the economic downturn.
"We were concerned," he said, "our feelings was if we were prepared, if we had a product people enjoy in good times and bad, then that was a really important factor."
He also wanted to be his own boss.
"We were tired of working for other people: agents, casting directors," said Phillips.
As well as his acting roles, Philips is also known for his outspoken political views; his Wikipedia page mentions his work as a conservative Republican commentator and as the National Co-Chair of the African American Steering committee for Bush Cheney '04.
"I spoke for the [Bush Cheney] campaign all over the country," said Phillips, before adding that "there are no politics allowed in Daddy J's. Wings are for everyone—the chicken wings are non-political."
Daddy J's Wing Shack, 16200 Ventura Boulevard, Encino. Tel: 818-461-8888.