Ah, the Buffalo wing. Or is it just chicken wing? Hot wings? Does it even matter? Because, let's be honest, there's pretty much nothing better than a good fried chicken wing.
Like any food with a cult following of diehard fans, there are many different ideas behind where the chicken wing originiated. Some say they are the creation of Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York, where owners Frank and Teressa Bellissimo were the first to deep fry frozen chicken wings, then toss them in cayenne hot sauce before serving. Yet another claim suggests a man named John Young served breaded chicken wings in his special "mambo sauce" at his Buffalo restaurant, John Young's Wings 'n Things, in the mid 60s.
Even if we don't know where they came from, many have a standard for how they should be served. Some say in oder for it to be a true "Buffalo" wing, the chicken should be deep fried and tossed in a vinegar and cayenne-based hot sauce. But like so many other famous foods, over the years grilled and breaded versions with special, exotic sauces have popped up, winning the hearts (and stomachs) of so many Americans nationwide.
Even though it's not quite National Chicken Wing day yet -- that's July 29th for anyone counting down the days -- we're celebrating early. Here are the best wings in Palm Beach County.
Not your average dive, this Palm Beach Gardens establishment has a good assortment of all the most important things: music, beer, and food. Most notable: the chicken wings, voted among the best in West Palm Beach by adoring fans near and far. Pair them with any one of the 75 bottled beers on the menu, grab a seat to enjoy some live music, and you've got yourself the perfect evening. And it's all served until the wee hours, as the kitchen closes at 2:30 a.m.
This Boca Raton establishment is known for its vegetable and fresh organic, farm-to-table focus. But what we're focusing in on are their Korean-style chicken wings off the starter menu. They're served with a special "good for your Seoul sauce" and a fresh pickled cucumber kimchi for a creative departure from your standard celery and blue cheese.
Last year, we named Kapow! owner of the title the best chicken wings in Broward and Palm Beach counties in our annual "Best Of" issue. And for good reason. They're not your average wings. While we love ourselves a good old traditional Buffalo wing, times are changing. Wings are no longer limited to mild, medium, hot -- or uncreative. Kapow! Noodle Bar has ushered in a new dawn of chicken wings with their own stamp, creating a Vietnamese-style treat. Rather than being smothered in fatty sauce, these little beauties take a swim in a sweet, spicy, Asian-inspired marinade and then are drained and fried dry. They're served piping hot, sprinkled with cilantro, and a drizzle of the sauce reduced to a gooey, addictive syrup.
Not all wings are created, cooked or served in an equal manner. Sometimes, departing from traditional frying method is all it takes to make your wings stand out from the flock. Which takes us to Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza. Because what's better than coal fired pizza? Well, coal oven-roasted chicken wings, of course. It's a signature menu item at each of the chain's South Florida locations, where every order is served with a heaping topping of caramelized onions and a side of fresh-baked focaccia bread.
6. Tree's Wings & Ribs
How much do you like Buffalo wings? Like, could you ever see yourself ordering 5,000 at one time? If you can, Tree's Wings and Ribs can do that for about $4,399. With locations in Lake Worth and Royal Palm Beach, Tree's is the place you call when you're craving chicken wings and don't want to move from your couch. Fried up fresh to order, be sure to get them extra wet and extra well-done, with sauces like garlic, cajun, teriyaki, BBQ, honey dip and traditional Buffalo sauce. We love the lemon pepper -- a specialty they are well known for. Aside from the wings, their special house dressing for dipping is a must-have, a spice-flecked, light green-tinged blue cheese dressing that can't be beat. Of course, you probably won't be ordering them in the thousands, but that's totally your call.
After a long day at the beach, there's no better place to stop than this casual, neighborhood-type spot in a strip mall just steps from the sand and surf. Known for their seafood and sports bar-like hang out atmosphere, the wings just so happen to be some of the best in the county. Here, you get them one way: well done. And there's only one type of sauce, a delectable house blend of honey, butter, garlic and spices -- but you can order them in hot, medium and mild depending on personal preference. So grab a seat indoors or out, shoot a few rounds of pool, pound back a few beers -- and have some finger-licking good wings while you're at it.
The wings at Sweetwater have become like most everything else at Sweetwater and developed their own sort of cultish following made up of people that swear they are among the best in the county. Fried fresh-to-order, they're served up two ways with a house made Kansas City bacon bourbon BBQ sauce, or a Buffalo honey garlic. Try a split order and get both. You won't be disappointed.
3. Wings Plus
This Lake Worth establishment is the place to come for authentic chicken wings, without any frills. Located across the street from the Palm Beach College campus, the wings are served up in true dive bar atmosphere. The place isn't anything to look at -- there isn't much going on. And although the "plus" stands for dozens of soups, salads, finger foods, platters, sandwiches and entrees on the menu, there isn't much of anything to write a feature on Yelp! about. Unless you're talking chicken wings. Maybe that's why there's typically a line at the walk-up order counter, where people pack in to get Buffalo-style wings that are deep fried and finished on the grill. They come in a variety of flavors, with sauces like Jamaican jerk, raspberry, lemon pepper and parmesan garlic. The favorite is the Key West, a mustard-based Buffalo sauce with a hint of sweet heat.
2. Bru's Room
Despite multiple locations and a "chain" restaurant status, there's no denying: Bru's Room wings are pretty much as close to chicken wing nirvana as you're going to get in South Florida. If you're a wing lover, the recipe you're already salivating over is the "triple threat," a heavenly combination of their three most popular sauces -- BBQ, sweet 'n tangy and standard hot -- smothered over wings that are fried, grilled and finished with a garnish of minced garlic.
Don't let the laid back Caribbean theme fool you. Inside this tiki-hut style eatery there's a bar serving up the count'y best chicken wings. Here, it's all about choice. Exercise yours wisely. You can order your wings with a wide array of homemade sauces, and fried or grilled. Or both. The best: Teddy's wings sauce, of course. It's made from scratch, a vinegary puree of fresh banana peppers that's finger licking good whether it's on the wings or at the bottom of the basket. Some of the other 20 or so flavors include fun fruit mashups like raspberry, pineapple and guava tequila lime. When the weather is nice, grab a seat outdoors under the tiki's shade and be grateful the best buffalo wings in the area come with a tropical breeze, too.
Follow Nicole Danna on Twitter, @SoFloNicole.
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