Review: Plymouth’s Hottest Chicken Wings

We round up the area’s best chicken wings from sweet to hot.
Spicy chicken wings from Tea House were the most saucy of the lot.

Chicken wings seem to be on every menu these days, whether it’s at the corner fast-food joint or the white-tablecloth establishment. The classic recipe is the buffalo wing, which is deep fried and tossed with a sauce made from vinegar, hot cayenne pepper and butter, served alongside chunky blue cheese dip with celery and carrot sticks. As with many iconic foods, its origins are hotly contested, but the most pervasive claim is by Teressa Bellissimo, the owner of the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, NY, who invented the dish in 1964.

The buffalo wing no longer reigns supreme in the realm of wing cuisine; chicken wing recipes have proliferated in the last few decades, and today’s choices are varied, creative and endlessly enticing. The wing’s popularity makes sense on every level. For the diner, a chicken wing has the highest ratio of skin to meat, which translates to maximum flavor and moistness. A restaurant owner appreciates wings for another reason: at about a buck per pound, they are economical, quick-cooking and versatile. Plymouth offers a tantalizing array of wings in every permutation. We’ve rounded up the area’s best, on a scale of sweet to hot.



Jake’s City Grille

Jake’s wings come grilled and deep fried, adding a seductive smoky-charred accent that plays nicely with the sticky sweet “Jake sauce.” Jake’s kitchen separates the wings and drummettes for the diner’s convenience; some people prefer one to the other, but we stripped them both clean with equal gusto. A few celery sticks and a buttermilk-heavy blue cheese dip provide backup, and Jake’s thoughtfully provides moist towelettes for post-prandial clean-up. If there’s one thing that’s true of all chicken wings, it’s that they are unavoidably messy—which we will insist is a major part of the fun. $10.95. 3005 Harbor Ln. N.; 763.559.1595;



The Eat Shop

Like many of its menu items, The Eat Shop takes a classic recipe and updates it with clever reinterpretations. Their honey chipotle wings arrive under a scattering of vinegary sliced pickled celery instead of the usual raw sticks—their acidity a welcome counterpoint to the dish’s sweetness. The honey is more apparent than the chipotle in the thick sauce, stirring up barely a whisper of heat. The ranch dip in this case is silky smooth. $11; $6 during happy hour. 16605 County Rd. 24; 763.270.5929;


Doolittle’s Woodfire Grill

These wings are kept whole, including the rarely-seen tip, marinated in 14 herbs and spices, and roasted over Doolittle’s signature roaring open flame. The resulting wing was more rotisserie than buffalo, but none the less delicious for it. Each smoky morsel was achingly tender; we especially loved the unexpected crunch in the blue cheese dip. $9.95. 550 Winnetka Ave. N., Golden Valley; 763.542.1931;



Tea House

Despite the moniker, these wings were not intimidatingly spicy although they were certainly the most saucy of the lot. The chicken wings were deep fried to create a rubbly surface that collected a thick coating of the soy- and garlic-accented house sauce. Super messy and super yummy. $6.95. 88 Nathan Ln.; 763.544.3422;


Famous Dave’s

For those that hate the labor-intensive process of eating chicken wings, Famous Dave’s offers a boneless option. Although we enjoy the satisfaction of building a mountain of chewed-clean bones, these boneless white-meat wings have an appealingly dense, almost nugget-like texture for less sloppy consumption. There are many sauce choices on the menu: We chose a mixture of hot and sweet, Dave’s proprietary “Pineapple Rage.” The initial impression is of sweet tropical fruit, but a sneaky heat lingers long after the last wing is gone. The blue cheese dip is mild and creamy with a pop of dill. $9.99. 1308 Hwy. 55; 763.525.0500;


Buffalo Wild Wings

Also known as “B-Dubs,” Buffalo Wild Wings staked their entire raison d’etre on the mighty wing in 1982, building an empire complete with proprietary recipes, extensive merchandise and locations nationwide. The menu lists a dizzying array of sauces and seasonings, including such novelties as Thai curry, Caribbean jerk and Parmesan garlic. We were thrilled with the “signature traditional” medium-hot classic wing sauce: B-Dubs nailed the hallmark balance of vinegar and fire that’s the gold standard of a buffalo wing. Their creamy, chunky blue cheese dip was the most pungent—in the best possible way—of all that we sampled. We also appreciated the choice of several different portion sizes. Lots of celery made for the perfect palate cleanser from fieriness and fat. $4.99. 3505 Vicksburg Ln. N.; 763.551.9464;


Old Chicago

Old Chicago offers wings oven-roasted or in a Jamaican jerk dry rub, which delivered on its promise of searing heat. These reddish-gold wings were easy to handle and instilled a glorious, lingering burn that begged for more than the three celery sticks for coolant. We liberally ingested the cooling ranch dressing by necessity, as we did the icy cold beer. $10.99. 3505 Vicksburg Ln. N.; 763.744.1221;