In the past two decades, wings made an ascendance from useless meat by-product to appetizer to full-fledged meal. You'd be hard pressed to find a American style bar/restaurant in Chicago that doesn't have a wing option (or three) on the menu. So while traditional thinking says that there's no dearth of wing options out there, it also states that wings always sound pretty good.
So Dallas-based Wingstop's first entry into the city - one half-diagonal block away from the cultural battleground of North-Damen and Milwaukee - seems to be poised to ensnare many a hungry dude and dudette with that one particular craving. The restaurant follows an aviation theme, with model planes hung about amidst the several televisions showing the sport of the day. The space is long and thin - good for duos, but not so great for larger groups. The cooler is filled with a number of imports and crafts – for $3.75, take your pick from Red Stripe, Magic Hat # 9, 312, Fat Tire and several others. A basket of 10 wings runs $6.39, or a family pack – 35 wings, carrots and celery, and two dips – goes for $24.99.
Aside from the usual mild-original-atomic spectrum, the flavors can be hit or miss. The cajun has a few extra exotic spices, but is a bit dry and closer to the masochist heat of the atomic than the mild. The BBQ is smothered in sauce, which is sweet and a little too overpowering of the meat taste, yet still addictive. The garlic parmesan is breaded and seasoned nicely but drowning in grease - eat with remorse and a napkin.
While not the best wings in the city, it's probably more consistent than a random bar. So if you're looking for a drink and could use some wings, stick to your usual watering hole. But if you're looking for wings and could use a nice drink, Wingstop's got you in mind.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Dan Morgridge