After last Thursday's market close, Motley Fool Hidden Gems Watch List pick Buffalo Wild Wings (NASDAQ:BWLD) blew the doors off consensus first quarter-earnings estimates. The wings, beer, and sports restaurant chain reported first-quarter earnings every bit as hot as its Wild & Blazin' sauce. Analysts had expected $0.18 per share, and the company reported $0.27. On Friday, investors reacted by bidding up the shares by 24% to $32.46.

Fool writer Seth Jayson hinted that this company could be in for a spectacular growth period, and I happen to agree with him. To me, Buffalo Wild Wings is reminiscent of the early period of The Cheesecake Factory (NASDAQ:CAKE). Over the last five years, that company known for its monster menus and portions has tripled its share price, despite its annual average P/E ratio remaining around 30.

Over the last four years, Buffalo Wild Wings has grown annual sales 38% and net income 30%. In the latest quarter, same-store sales, an important metric for the restaurant and retail industry, were up 11.8% compared with the same quarter last year. The firm has no debt and is funding expansion of company-owned stores internally. (It currently owns 85 restaurants and franchises a further 168.)

By the end of 2004, Buffalo Wild Wings plans to open another 16 company-owned and 38 franchise restaurants. Management sees no barrier to Buffalo eventually expanding to 1,000 restaurants within the U.S.

The company went public just last November and it may be too early to judge its staying power. As a value investor, I'm not often attracted to high-growth companies like Buffalo Wild Wings, but then again, I remember others I thought overvalued: Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) and Chicos FAS (NYSE:CHS) readily spring to mind. "Wings, Beer, Sports, All The Essentials" is Buffalo Wild Wings' slogan. I also believe that it has all the essentials for an extended period of growth.

Discuss the firm's results -- or its food -- on the Buffalo Wild Wings discussion board.

Fool contributor Philip Durell owns no shares in the companies mentioned in this article, but wouldn't mind sampling Buffalo Wild Wings' 12 wing sauces and 20 varieties of beer.