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Chicago's best chicken wings...

Chicago's best chicken wings...
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  • Chicago's best chicken wings...

    Post #1 - September 29th, 2005, 1:14 pm
    Post #1 - September 29th, 2005, 1:14 pm Post #1 - September 29th, 2005, 1:14 pm
    Since we are already a few week’s into football season I thought we could get a post going about Chicago’s best chicken wings. Where do people like to go to get their wing fix? What places have the best deals on them? (Lot’s of places give them out for free now) Where are the spots that stand out from the rest, the places that don’t just take them out of a bag in the freezer and drop them in a fryer?

    A few of my spots where I go to get great wing’s are:

    Buffalo Joe’s--in Evanston, a local favorite for years now they might be the best ive found.

    The bird’s nest--located in Lincoln Park, they have these huge juicy wings that put hooters to shame if you like them that way, also they won a Chicago wing off a few years back.

    Yak Zie’s--They have a couple spots and this place is always good before or after a cub’s game.

    Buffalo Joe’s
    812 Clark st
    Evanston IL

    Yak Zie’s
    3710 N. Clark, Chicago
    506 W. Diversey pkwy, Chicago

    Bird’s Nest
    2500 Southport
    Chicago IL
  • Post #2 - September 29th, 2005, 1:52 pm
    Post #2 - September 29th, 2005, 1:52 pm Post #2 - September 29th, 2005, 1:52 pm
    I'll have to agree with Buffalo Joe's & Yak-Zies. Their wings are what I expect wings to taste like. I also find that most bars have pretty good wings as well. Or maybe they just seem really good as I'm washing them down with large quantities of beer.

    Does anyone know if the Buffalo Joe's on Howard delivers? I live in Edgewater & would love to find a good source of delivery wings.
  • Post #3 - September 29th, 2005, 2:42 pm
    Post #3 - September 29th, 2005, 2:42 pm Post #3 - September 29th, 2005, 2:42 pm
    In Evanston, you really can't beat the wonderful flavor and texture found at Buffalo Joe's. Their sauce is excellent, although their super spicy is just the regular with jalapenos on top. I'd still highly reccomend them.

    Also in Evanston is Nevin's Pub. I've only tried their BBQ sauced wings, but the sauce was tangy, sweet and had just a kick of spice. The texture of the wing was crispy on the outside and wonderfully juicy on the inside. This was a great find, after having never thought to try their wings after many visits.

    And of course there's BW3's, which has incredibly huge line of sauce flavors, most of which are flavorful and unique like the teriyaki and the jamaican. The buffalo sauce is very good, with a great tanginess and a wide range of heat, depending on your preference. Last time I checked they had mild, medium, hot, wild, and blazin. The blazin is just ridiculous, so I mostly go with the wild. They have been and will continue to be my favorite wings, with great crispiness and plenty of meat.

    Nevin's Pub
    1450 N Sherman, Evanston
    847-869-0450

    BW3's
    2464 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago
    (773) 868-9453.
    ~ The username is a long story
  • Post #4 - September 29th, 2005, 3:11 pm
    Post #4 - September 29th, 2005, 3:11 pm Post #4 - September 29th, 2005, 3:11 pm
    I almost forgot to post the place for the best buffalo boneless tenders in the city...maybe the world. Dublins pub on State St. doesnt really do anything wrong, from burger's to corned beef and believe it or not their salad's. I know numerous people who swear by them. The best menu item however has to be their boneless tenders made fresh, $10 gets you a plateful enough for two or even three if you want to split them as an appetizer. People have to try these they are the best. Bar none.
  • Post #5 - September 29th, 2005, 3:14 pm
    Post #5 - September 29th, 2005, 3:14 pm Post #5 - September 29th, 2005, 3:14 pm
    I can't argue with Buffalo Joe or Yak-Zies. But since neither is now close to me I am a frequent flyer at Wingstop on Harlem in Elmwood Park. Also, back in the city I always like the wings at Muskies at Lincoln and George. I probably haven't been there for over 10 years so I have no idea what they are like now or if the place even still exists. But they were very good at the time.

    And since you didn't really specify Buffalo Wings in the title, let me give a thumbs up to the wings at Sweet Baby Rays. Like everything there, they've been a little inconsistent. But when they are good, they are very good.
  • Post #6 - September 29th, 2005, 3:19 pm
    Post #6 - September 29th, 2005, 3:19 pm Post #6 - September 29th, 2005, 3:19 pm
    Hands down, Buff Joe's. I haven't found a place yet that can hold a candle to it. The only strike against them is they serve their wings with ranch dressing. Were their wings not so good, this would be an unforgivable sin. Please, at least give us the option of blue cheese!

    They do occassionally have an off batch of wings, but 9 times out of 10, it's pure heaven. Mmm...

    I haven't tried Yak-Zies, yet, but given the number of times it's been mentioned on this thread in conjunction with BJ's, I'll have to give it a shot.

    I've been to BW3's about four or five times and have been disappointed every single time. Sure, they have a good variety of sauces, but the wings themselves were below-average. They were not very crispy and tasted like they had been reheated rather than made to order.
  • Post #7 - September 29th, 2005, 3:35 pm
    Post #7 - September 29th, 2005, 3:35 pm Post #7 - September 29th, 2005, 3:35 pm
    I still do not get how the top ten lists never have 10 items. What am I missing? :?
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #8 - September 29th, 2005, 3:42 pm
    Post #8 - September 29th, 2005, 3:42 pm Post #8 - September 29th, 2005, 3:42 pm
    top ten men doesn't write the lists, he has writers who do that. He's just trying to stir up discussion.

    And, frankly, I think it's about time LTH had a buffalo wing thread. I do hope this stays primarily buffalo-style, since the harold's/ECS-style is very well discussed elsewhere.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #9 - September 29th, 2005, 3:56 pm
    Post #9 - September 29th, 2005, 3:56 pm Post #9 - September 29th, 2005, 3:56 pm
    BW3...i like their variety of sauces, but have generally found the wings to be quite inconsistent...and not a particularly good value.

    I've been going to 10 cent wing night on Tuesday's at McGee's for a few years now...and they are seriously good wings. Better than those I've tried at other bars (not that I've been conducted a wide ranging taste test). Meaty, with an excellent buffalo sauce that I find to be almost perfectly spicy. Pretty good waffle fries too. There is a $5 drink minimum per person.

    Atmosphere wise...well, it attracts a lot of students...is quite loud (esp when the El runs by)...but there are more than enough TV screens to catch any and all games (they have them tuned multiple channels, this week they had the Sox, Cubs, Indians, Red Sox, and a college football game on - all visible from my table).

    Oh, and I forgot to mention, a better than expected beer selection.

    McGee's Tavern & Grille
    950 W. Webster Ave.
    773-549-8200
    Last edited by clogoodie on October 12th, 2005, 10:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
    "Ah, lamentably no, my gastronomic rapacity knows no satiety" - Homer J. Simpson
  • Post #10 - September 29th, 2005, 7:34 pm
    Post #10 - September 29th, 2005, 7:34 pm Post #10 - September 29th, 2005, 7:34 pm
    I split all the posts after the last one about wings (and there are many) off to a new thread in Site Chat where those so inclined can discuss the merits of top ten lists to their hearts' content. Let's reserve this space for talking about wings. Apologies to anyone who thinks the exact point of the split was misguided--it can get a bit tricky.

    Cheers,

    Aaron
    Last edited by Aaron Deacon on September 30th, 2005, 12:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #11 - September 30th, 2005, 10:33 am
    Post #11 - September 30th, 2005, 10:33 am Post #11 - September 30th, 2005, 10:33 am
    What amazes me is that it is so unbelievably easy to make decent wings, yet scores of places in Chicago screw them up. I've gotten abominations like breaded Buffalo-style wings, baked wings, wings barely coated in sauce, anemic wings, wings that taste like they've been left out on the kitchen counter for days, wings advertised as "Buffalo style" but come out tasting more like BBQ, and the list goes on.

    And it ain't about the sauce. The sauce is easy. Just get Frank's and some margarine (the only place in my cooking I use this atrocious stuff) or butter and you have a sauce that will please everyone. The key is getting big meaty wings, knowing how to deep fry them properly, making them to order, and being liberal with the sauce.

    You cannot let wings sit around. Even at Buff Joe's, if I get a double order spicy, by the time I get to the end of the batch, they've lost their crispness. I do not believe in wings to go--the sauce permeates the chicken skin and makes it soggy. You have to eat wings within 10 minutes of making them. When I make my own, I always serve them as they come out of the deep fryer. I have been unable to find a way to hold them for long so that they don't lose their crispness. The texture of the skin is key to a good wing. Any idiot can make the sauce, and that's why BW3 fails miserably on my Wingometer.
  • Post #12 - September 30th, 2005, 10:45 am
    Post #12 - September 30th, 2005, 10:45 am Post #12 - September 30th, 2005, 10:45 am
    margarine vs. butter

    I've made Buffalo wing sauce a few times at home & I've always used butter. Is it better with margarine? What makes is better? I've always been a subscriber to the "Butter Makes it Better" philosophy.
  • Post #13 - September 30th, 2005, 10:49 am
    Post #13 - September 30th, 2005, 10:49 am Post #13 - September 30th, 2005, 10:49 am
    Binko wrote: I do not believe in wings to go--the sauce permeates the chicken skin and makes it soggy. You have to eat wings within 10 minutes of making them. When I make my own, I always serve them as they come out of the deep fryer. I have been unable to find a way to hold them for long so that they don't lose their crispness. The texture of the skin is key to a good wing. Any idiot can make the sauce, and that's why BW3 fails miserably on my Wingometer.


    When doing take out, as in BBQ, the mantra should be "sauce on the side".
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #14 - September 30th, 2005, 11:02 am
    Post #14 - September 30th, 2005, 11:02 am Post #14 - September 30th, 2005, 11:02 am
    viaChgo wrote:margarine vs. butter

    I've made Buffalo wing sauce a few times at home & I've always used butter. Is it better with margarine? What makes is better? I've always been a subscriber to the "Butter Makes it Better" philosophy.


    Well, the texture and taste of the sauce seems better with margarine. I actually got the tip from a Buffalonian, who swears the original wings were made with margarine, but there is certainly some debate over which is preferable. I know I'm not the only person who prefers butter in all cooking applications except wings.

    Give it a shot and see what you think.

    Other handy tips for the sauce include adding honey and/or yellow mustard.
  • Post #15 - September 30th, 2005, 11:05 am
    Post #15 - September 30th, 2005, 11:05 am Post #15 - September 30th, 2005, 11:05 am
    stevez wrote:
    Binko wrote: I do not believe in wings to go--the sauce permeates the chicken skin and makes it soggy. You have to eat wings within 10 minutes of making them. When I make my own, I always serve them as they come out of the deep fryer. I have been unable to find a way to hold them for long so that they don't lose their crispness. The texture of the skin is key to a good wing. Any idiot can make the sauce, and that's why BW3 fails miserably on my Wingometer.


    When doing take out, as in BBQ, the mantra should be "sauce on the side".


    That would minimize the damage, I suppose, but it's actually never occurred to me to order wings take out. I would think that in the time from the deep fryer to your house, they would lose some of their crispness, even sans sauce. But if you're really jonesin' for some hot wings, your way would be the best way to do it.
  • Post #16 - September 30th, 2005, 3:33 pm
    Post #16 - September 30th, 2005, 3:33 pm Post #16 - September 30th, 2005, 3:33 pm
    midas wrote:I can't argue with Buffalo Joe or Yak-Zies. But since neither is now close to me I am a frequent flyer at Wingstop on Harlem in Elmwood Park.


    There's also a Wingstop on Clark in Roger's Park. We did the carry out thing from there once; not much else to say about it. Had they been great wings, we certainly would have gone back for more. As it is, we usually hit the Buffalo Joe's on Howard since we can get a bucket of rib tips (also good but not great) to round out the pig out...

    Anybody else seen Pizza Hut's "Wing Street" concept? I believe they're still testing the concept in a couple locations here in Chicago, but I tend to think concepts like this get rolled out nationally more often than not.

    Just Googled "wing street" to double check myself: http://www.wingstreet.com/default.asp
  • Post #17 - September 30th, 2005, 4:27 pm
    Post #17 - September 30th, 2005, 4:27 pm Post #17 - September 30th, 2005, 4:27 pm
    ehh.. how about a "$/wing" notation besides your restaurant list?

    that'd be really useful for.. say.. "college students"???
  • Post #18 - October 5th, 2005, 3:46 pm
    Post #18 - October 5th, 2005, 3:46 pm Post #18 - October 5th, 2005, 3:46 pm
    The wings at the Village Tap in Roscoe Village are pretty good. They have their own sauce that seems to have honey and chipotle peppers in it. Not the classic hot sauce/butter or margerine and not BBQ wings but a tasty version nonetheless(is that supposed to be one word or three?)

    Village Tap
    2055 W Roscoe
    Chicago IL 60618
  • Post #19 - October 5th, 2005, 3:58 pm
    Post #19 - October 5th, 2005, 3:58 pm Post #19 - October 5th, 2005, 3:58 pm
    Just my $.02, but I am a huge fan of the wings at JT's Porch on Roosevelt Road in Lombard. They serve huge wings with the tips attached.

    Buy one order get one 1/2 off at lunch.

    Flip
    "Beer is proof God loves us, and wants us to be Happy"
    -Ben Franklin-
  • Post #20 - October 5th, 2005, 5:01 pm
    Post #20 - October 5th, 2005, 5:01 pm Post #20 - October 5th, 2005, 5:01 pm
    Anyone try Gotor's Pub. There are 2 locations, Wheeling and Palatine. I believe they have won a wing contest 2-3 years in a row and I know that one of the other competitors was Buffalo Joes.
  • Post #21 - October 5th, 2005, 5:47 pm
    Post #21 - October 5th, 2005, 5:47 pm Post #21 - October 5th, 2005, 5:47 pm
    For a different approach, I always LOVE J&J fish's wings. They're huge and cheap (Once I accidentally ordered 20, thinking that they'd be your typical wings in sauce and i walked home with 3 styrofoam containers full) they may not be the wings you're thinking of (buffalo) but they're fried and come with hot sauce.
  • Post #22 - October 6th, 2005, 8:31 am
    Post #22 - October 6th, 2005, 8:31 am Post #22 - October 6th, 2005, 8:31 am
    Has to be margarine. Seems to have more resiliency.

    And two more points on the sauce:

    (1) should have garlic powder
    (2) should (but not must) have some minced chilies in there

    But otherwise, the sauce is secondary to the frying and Chicago is short on good wings.
  • Post #23 - October 6th, 2005, 8:58 am
    Post #23 - October 6th, 2005, 8:58 am Post #23 - October 6th, 2005, 8:58 am
    I always use a 5:1 ratio of hot sauce to real butter with a dash of garlic power and a dash of worchestershire sauce when i make them at hom..
  • Post #24 - October 6th, 2005, 9:31 am
    Post #24 - October 6th, 2005, 9:31 am Post #24 - October 6th, 2005, 9:31 am
    Top Ten,

    Could you please do me a favor and drop the pretense of your introductions? Just ask for opinions on whatever you are reviewing, or paring down to a "Top Ten" list. In other words, none of us need an excuse (cold weather/football season/war) to discuss a type of food. Although I admit to enjoying certain foods during particular seasons (Watermelon during Summer), I think most of the people on this forum can write about Chicken Wings during basketball season, too.
    The onions say "AAAHHH EEEESSE"
  • Post #25 - October 6th, 2005, 9:59 am
    Post #25 - October 6th, 2005, 9:59 am Post #25 - October 6th, 2005, 9:59 am
    JohnB wrote:Top Ten,

    Could you please do me a favor and drop the pretense of your introductions? Just ask for opinions on whatever you are reviewing, or paring down to a "Top Ten" list. In other words, none of us need an excuse (cold weather/football season/war) to discuss a type of food. Although I admit to enjoying certain foods during particular seasons (Watermelon during Summer), I think most of the people on this forum can write about Chicken Wings during basketball season, too.


    I think someone else said this in another toptenmen-started thread: "tough crowd"


    edited for clarification
  • Post #26 - October 6th, 2005, 3:37 pm
    Post #26 - October 6th, 2005, 3:37 pm Post #26 - October 6th, 2005, 3:37 pm
    yep..
    Last edited by laikom on March 10th, 2006, 11:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #27 - October 6th, 2005, 5:14 pm
    Post #27 - October 6th, 2005, 5:14 pm Post #27 - October 6th, 2005, 5:14 pm
    viaChgo wrote:
    JohnB wrote:Top Ten,

    Could you please do me a favor and drop the pretense of your introductions? Just ask for opinions on whatever you are reviewing, or paring down to a "Top Ten" list. In other words, none of us need an excuse (cold weather/football season/war) to discuss a type of food. Although I admit to enjoying certain foods during particular seasons (Watermelon during Summer), I think most of the people on this forum can write about Chicken Wings during basketball season, too.


    I think someone else said this in another toptenmen-started thread: "tough crowd"


    edited for clarification


    Since that was JohnB's first and (so far as I write this) only post on LTHForum, I don't think it's fair to say "tough crowd" based on his (admittedly harsh and critical) post. I think toptenmen must have enemies lurking here, awaiting their moment to pounce! :P
  • Post #28 - October 6th, 2005, 6:30 pm
    Post #28 - October 6th, 2005, 6:30 pm Post #28 - October 6th, 2005, 6:30 pm
    Just so you know, topten, i like your posts, keep 'em up.
    Last edited by laikom on March 10th, 2006, 11:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #29 - October 12th, 2005, 2:34 am
    Post #29 - October 12th, 2005, 2:34 am Post #29 - October 12th, 2005, 2:34 am
    I have eaten at several of the places included here, although not McGee's, and I want to STRONGLY weigh in in favor of Buffalo Joe's. They have the best wings that I have ever had, period. I cannot believe that they are being compared to overcooked, undermeaty tasteless garbage like BW3's...

    In particular, I want to answer the Ranch vs Bleu Cheese argument: I understand this complaint, and used to like Bleu Cheese better, but I've become convinced that Ranch is superior - two reasons: it does a better job of cooling off the palate in between bites of spicy wings and tangy vinegar, and because its texture clings to wings better than clumpy bleu cheese. This is particularly important at a wing place like Joe's where there is a substantial amount of vinegar in the sauce.

    Butter vs Margarine - again - texture and cling. Butter soaks into the crisp a little bit more, which makes it a little more soggy. Margarine is a little more "artificial" so it coats rather than soaks. It also stays separated better when mixed in with other sauces. If you add lemon juice, rather than vinegar, for tang, it goes better with the butter, though.

    Buffalo Joe's sauce seems difficult to replicate for some reason - I can never get it right - it is almost tomatoish, so I've tried puree and even ketchup, but it never comes out right.
  • Post #30 - October 12th, 2005, 6:15 am
    Post #30 - October 12th, 2005, 6:15 am Post #30 - October 12th, 2005, 6:15 am
    TimAlderete wrote:In particular, I want to answer the Ranch vs Bleu Cheese argument:
    Tim,

    Interesting, I don't agree, but interesting none the less. My Chicago wing preference is Yak-Zies on Diversey. Medium sized wings, tossed in the 'standard' mix of margarine/hot sauce, with the addition of cayenne for the hotter versions. Nothing fancy, always good, served with celery and chunky blue cheese dressing.

    Enjoy,
    Gary

    Yak-Zies
    506 W Diversey
    Chicago, IL
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow

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