Simplicity -- and, obviously, homemade good taste -- paid off for the Parrot's Cay on Sunday when the Grand Forks tavern and restaurant earned national bragging rights for its Shark Sauce.

"It's our buffalo wing sauce and our barbecue sauce mixed together," owner Rob Drahovzal explained. "That's all it is."

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The Parrot's Cay was one of 38 restaurants nationwide that brought their best flavors to the National Buffalo Wing Festival in Buffalo, N.Y., over the weekend. The Shark Sauce took first place in the creative barbecue category, and the restaurant will find out in the next few days if it also picked up a few fan favorite awards.

Drahovzal said it was a good showing for the Cay's first appearance at the festival, which he likened to "the Super Bowl of wings" -- not much of a stretch considering that it drew about 78,000 hungry people this year.

"We've got an award-winning sauce now," he said. "We haven't been able to say that before, so that's kind of exciting."

Drahovzal said the festival, now in its ninth year, seemed like a good challenge for the Parrot's Cay.

"I thought we should try it to see how our wings stack up to other people," he said.

He heard a lot of good feedback, he said, "the same stuff that we hear in the restaurant in town." Drahovzal said he had to disappoint many samplers who wanted to buy a bottle of the Shark Sauce to take home -- but he's hopeful they will soon be selling their homemade sauces by next year.

Besides the bragging rights, Drahovzal brought home a first-place trophy that will serve as a reminder of the accomplishment. He's still figuring out a safe place to display the award in the bar -- but customers probably won't have to look too hard to find it.

"It'll be the one with all the spotlights on it," he joked.

Reach Johnson at (701) 780-1105; (800) 477-6572, ext. 105; or send e-mail to rjohnson@gfherald.com.