By Charles Lam
Buffalo wings might just be my favorite thing about American food. They’re quick and easy to eat, great to socialize around and are brightly flavored, and are tangy, spicy and savory, all at the same time. Some of my favorite memories are of my friends and I eating wings and watching sports, or eating wings trying to one up each other in both heat and quantity. I’m fairly sure I could eat just white rice and buffalo sauce just fine.
So, in a quest to find the best buffalo wings near campus, I ate at the three most wing-centric restaurants within driving distance, Original Buffalo Wings in Diamond Jamboree, Wing Stop on Barranca and Buffalo Wild Wings on Culver.
Original Buffalo Wings
Located in the Diamond Jamboree plaza, Original Buffalo Wings gets crowded pretty easily on Fridays and Saturday nights. With minimal interior seating, it can be hard to find a place to sit and enjoy your food. Luckily, DJ is full of extra seating, especially if not everyone in your group is in the mood for wings.
The food here can be inconsistent. The sauce flavors are great, though not as numerous as Buffalo Wild Wings or Wing Stop. However, the wings themselves can be a little wimpy. On average, you’re going to be getting less meat than you would anywhere else.
In addition, the sides do not impress. They do the carrots and celery perfectly fine but their fries are unimpressive, often times over-seasoned. I would avoid the garlic fries as they tend to go overboard on garlic. (I didn’t think I would ever say anyone went overboard on garlic, but they managed it.)
On the bright side, the drinks here are great. You have your standard soda fountain and shit beers but they are surprisingly flanked by a few more premium choices, including Blue Moon and Fat Tuesday style alcoholic slushies.
Competitively priced, their All You Can Eat Tuesdays are a must try: $14 for unlimited wings, sides and non-alcoholic drinks cannot be beat.
The newest wing place to open near campus, Wing Stop is located just off Culver and Barranca and opened the fall of 2011. Larger than Original, the restaurant is still pretty small. I would be wary about showing up on Fridays, when their wing special and limited seating can lead to a bit of a wait.
The wings here are solid; their sauces do what they’re meant to, coating the wings well and keeping them moist. The quality is also good, the wings are well-sized, being both easy to handle and meaty — even the boneless wings impress.
The sides are as average as average can get. The fries are OK. The veg is OK. Everything is just OK. Be careful when ordering dipping sauces though, ranch comes at an extra dollar per serving.
Make sure to check them out on Mondays and Tuesdays during their 50-cent wing specials.
Buffalo Wild Wings
By far the largest dismemberer of chicken in the area, Buffalo Wild Wings is comparatively giant when next to Wing Stop and Original Buffalo Wings, with both a large bar area and a respectable-sized dining room. Waits here are very rare, happening only during big sports games. Even during their special nights, seating is readily available.
BWW also has the benefit of being the largest chain of the three, the menu is the most varied, featuring some great burgers (that readily beat out the ones served by Original Buffalo wings) and perfectly shareable appetizers. There’s sure to be something that’ll please everyone, even the most ardent haters of chicken.
Both the boneless and bone in wings are sizeable and — even if they aren’t — the restaurant has a tendency to throw in an extra wing to make up for the runts of the litter. The sauces are all stars, each filling their own niche. The rubs are also quite nice, though may get too strong if the wings aren’t tossed correctly.
Finally, the bar is a big winner. The beers of the month are great and cheap, even during non-happy hours and have featured notable craft brews such as Magic Hat.
Make sure to show up on Mondays, Tuesdays or Thursdays when specials are going on. 60 cents for both wings, 55 for traditional and 65 for boneless respectively.
I feel like I’m almost cheating when I give it to Buffalo Wild Wings. They’re the biggest, they have tasty food and they have the best bar. Nothing against Original or Wing Stop but the size alone is not something they can compete against.
Each restaurant can deliver, but for the most efficient night out? It’s gotta be Buffalo Wild Wings.
Filed Under: Features