For three decades, Harold "Shorty" Prebish and Dwayne "Wags" Wagner ran Shorty & Wags, the south Minneapolis chicken-wing institution.
Their locally treasured restaurant at 38th & Nicollet closed in 2011, and neighbors mourned the loss of fried okra, catfish, chicken gizzards, and other Southern delicacies. The flagship wings would live on.
Prebish moved north to Longville, Minnesota, where he slinged S&W recipe wings at his new place, Shorty's. That spot closed "a couple years ago" following his wife's death, he tells City Pages. Wagner relocated to Gilbert, Arizona, in 2005 with plans to open a bar/wing joint, but he died before realizing that dream, just three months before Shorty & Wags closed.
S&W loyalists in Minneapolis could still get their wing fix at Lyn-Lake's Country Bar ... until it shuttered earlier this month to become a Blue Door Pub.
Now, the legendary wings will have to bubble to life inside countertop deep fryers.
Shorty & Wags salvation is still available through the mail, thanks to Wags' daughter, Heidi Freeman. Her Arizona-based company, D&H Spices, provides the full suite of original S&W products, including seasoning, batter, and sauces. And Prebish is still selling the goods outta Minnesota.
"99.9 percent of our clientele are Minnesotans," Freeman says. "It’s so cool to get these stories; it means more than money."
It's a family business, after all.
"I’m honoring him," she says of "Uncle Shorty," who continues to lend support from Minnesota. "If we ever reap the big benefits, he’s the one I’m taking care of."
Prebish, all these years later, is still taking care of hungry Shorty & Wags fans.
"[Customers] miss our product so much," he says. "The only thing I can do now is sell seasoning and batter -- they can make their own."
Country Bar -- which Freeman sold to the owner of West Bank's Nomad World Pub for $300,000 in 2015, according to records -- was the last place to get prepared Shorty & Wags wings, as far as Freeman knows. You can order S&W products via D&H Spices here. Or, if you prefer, just call Prebish at 612-685-4231, and he'll hook you up.