Lord of the Wings: A Tantalizing Tour

lordSince the emergence of the timeless buffalo wing as a popular bar delicacy at the legendary Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York, during the 1960s, the chicken wing has become an American quick eats staple. You can get a wing doused in multiple sauces and/or spices, fried in batter or without and the price per wing usually amounts to pocket change, and fans of the wing flock to places with the best wings to chow down on. With their third edition of the Lord Of The Wings, RI Food Fights put on a competition during the month of January with 21 Rhode Island establishments entering the competition. Scoring on a scale of 1 to 8 bones (1 being the worst, 8 being the best), I went to each place and picked who I thought should win.

Biergarten (114 Spruce St, Providence) — Mango Habanero
There aren’t many places in Providence that made me want to leave as soon as I walked in, but Biergarten was that place. First off you had an Italian guy dressed up in German lederhosen. Second, every waitress had to wear these skimpy little outfits and each one looked like they wanted to quit yesterday. And the menu didn’t even have Habanero spelled correctly. The wings were okay — nothing spectacular. I’ll be surprised if this place lasts more than a year. – 1 Bone

English Cellar Alehouse (165 Angell St, Providence) – Mango Habanero
I remember when the English Cellar Alehouse was just a cellar, but now they have an upstairs as well. I got the Mango Habanero wings and they were surprisingly subpar. The sauce was a tad bland with no kick. I’ve gotten the same kind of wings from Domino’s before and they had more flavor. The wings were lacking in size, too. It was disappointing. – 2 Bones

Wings Over Providence (725 Hope St, Providence) – Jamaican Jerk
Over in Hope Village, Wings Over Providence is a no-frills establishment where you know exactly what you’re getting when you walk in. I got the Jamaican Jerk wings. They were very flavorful, but also a tad overpowering. A plethora of spices made for an intense eating experience. The wings themselves were great, but the sauce nearly knocked my tastebuds out. – 4 Bones

84 Tavern On Canal (15 Canal St, Westerly) – Kung Pao
84 Tavern On Canal in downtown Westerly has a great happy hour where you can get some amazing brews for cheap. Unfortunately their wings didn’t add up that well, but it was probably because I got the wrong flavor. Their Kung Pao wing was pretty much soy sauce and cashews with a side of greens. The wings were perfectly fried, but they should have upped a bit on the sauce. – 5 Bones

Federal Taphouse & Kitchen (279 Atwells Ave, Providence) – Asian Sesame
The name of the place gives away the location and Federal Taphouse & Kitchen is a fairly interesting spot. You don’t usually see places specializing in craft beer in the center of a place like Federal Hill. I got the Asian Sesame wings and the sauce was on point. I just didn’t like how the bones fell apart when I took my first bite. – 5 Bones

Wes’ Rib House (38 Dike St, Providence) – Hot BBQ
Wes’ Rib House has been bringing St. Louis style BBQ to the Olneyville neighborhood of Providence and has garnered awards and the good words of Providence’s inhabitants. Their Hot BBQ wings were okay — the sauce has that vinegar taste and the wings were average size. I wasn’t amazed, but I do plan on going back there for other things on their menu. – 5 Bones

GPub (61 Orange St, Providence) – Chipotle Smoked BBQ
A speakeasy style establishment in downtown Providence, GPub has an atmosphere that combines the aesthetic of a sports bar and the ambiance of a classy restaurant. I got the Chipotle Smoked BBQ wings and they were outstanding. The wings themselves were hearty and tender while the sauce was robust and flavorful. I wish the sauce was a little warmer, but they were enjoyable. – 5 Bones

Rhode Island Billiard Bar & Bistro (2026 Smith St, North Providence) – Hot Buffalo
This place has been a haven for poolhall junkies for quite some time, and it’s also a quality place to get a good beer when you’re running low on cash. Rhode Island Billiard Bar & Bistro is located in the Centerdale area of North Providence and it’s as classic as it gets. I got the Hot Buffalo wings and it was a standard no nonsense, quality and flavorful wing. The boldness of the hot sauce spoke volumes. – 6 Bones

Citizen Wing  – Volcanic Ash
One of the many food trucks that you can find all over The Ocean State, Citizen Wing lives up to their name by serving delicious wings. I got the Volcanic Ash, which is a sauce made of Honduran coffee, fig jam, cardamom and habaneros and it was very tasty. My only criticism is that the wings were a tad soggy when I got them, but they were also tender and practically falling off the bone. – 6 Bones

Cook & Dagger (566 Putnam Pike, Greenville) – Sweet & Spicy Smoky Jalapeno
Right in between Smithfield and Burrillville is the village of Greenville, and that’s where the nice little restaurant known as Cook & Dagger is located. What’s cool about this place is that they have a Wing Du Jour that switches up every day. On the day I went they had these Sweet & Spicy Smoky Jalapeno wings that had a distinctly robust flavor. The wings could have been bigger, but overall it was a great experience. – 6 Bones

Elmwood Diner (777 Elmwood Ave, Providence) – Coca-Cola Wings
This old school diner has been getting the word out about their breakfast, but their wings were out of the ordinary. These wings were fried in a Coca-Cola infused batter, and it wasn’t really sweet. You could taste a hint of Cola, but nothing totally crazy. I would have liked to see them do an actual sauce with Coca-Cola though. – 6 Bones

Hank’s Down South (33 State St, Narragansett) – Smoked Buffacue
This was my first time being at this place located within the Port of Galilee, and I was impressed. Hank is the dog that greets you at the door and Amy is the kind lady who runs Hank’s Down South. She served these big wings that were smoked and beside them were a bottle of homemade BBQ sauce and a bottle of homemade buffalo sauce she let me use at my leisure. So I combined the two and it was impeccable. Hank’s Down South also does live music on Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons. I suggest you head over there and check out a show. – 7 Bones

Rocco’s Pub & Grub (55 Douglas Pike, Smithfield) – Bourbon Bacon
Rocco’s has a cool ambience with graffiti on the walls that I instantly dug right when I walked in. With over 50 sauces to choose from, I decided to go with the Bourbon Bacon. I loved how each wing had the saltiness of the bacon and the sweetness of the bourbon reduction. Definitely an exquisite and delicious taste that made me want more. – 7 Bones

Rogue Island Local Kitchen & Bar (65 Weybosset St, Suite 108, Providence) – Apple Habanero
I’ve been going to Rogue Island at the Providence Arcade for a few months now and I’ve gotten to like the place. Very laid back with farm fresh food and an excellent beer selection — you can’t go wrong. They had these Apple Habanero wings that had a great balance of sweet and spicy. Nothing overpowering either so even your friend who doesn’t like spicy flavors would be able to enjoy. They were very satisfying and delicious. – 7 Bones

Bailey’s Pub (1910 Smith St, North Providence) – Carolina Gold
This place gave me a bit of nostalgia when I walked in due to it being part of my days as a student at Rhode Island College. Bailey’s Pub is a classic Rhode Island dive that has great beer and delicious food. I got the Carolina Gold wings, which were in a mustard-based sauce. A bit sweet and a bit spicy along with having a lot of flavor, I might have to come back again. – 7 Bones

The Fire Brick Oven Pizza & Bar (1874 Mineral Spring Ave, North Providence) – Balsamic
The Fire in North Providence has always been praised for their pizza, but their wings are pretty good too. Their Balsamic wings were incredible, in a sweet reduction that stuck to the plate and my fingers with a sweet and tangy taste. I was wowed at how delicious these were, I almost asked for seconds. – 7 Bones

SoulFull – Southern Fried
You can find SoulFull among the many food trucks located at Kennedy Plaza in downtown Providence on weekday afternoons. Their southern fried chicken wings had me mesmerized with the combination of spices and a light breading. Next time you’re waiting for the bus go over to where they are by Burnside Park and get yourself something good. – 7 Bones

Pizza J (967 Westminster St, Providence) – Smoked Thai Chili Wings
Being the rave of dining out in the city for the past few months, Pizza J has been getting a buzz both because of their pies and their wings. Their smoked wings with Thai Chili sauce were impeccable. The subtle smoky and sweet flavors coming together were truly delicious. The tin pail for the bones, the celery and blue cheese were nice touches as well. – 7 Bones

Boneyard Barbecue & Saloon (2247 West Shore Rd, Warwick) – Honey Flustered
Down in Warwick there’s a cool little joint that’s a mix between a sports bar and a rock ‘n’ roll bar. With a combination of honey mustard and garlic with a spicy kick, Honey Flustered was outstanding. The wing was perfectly fried, crispy on the outside and tender with every bite. I almost asked if I could get the sauce bottled, it was that good. – 7 Bones

Boneheads Wing Bar (131 Washington St, West Warwick) – Wrong Side Of The Road
Last year’s winner, Boneheads Wing Bar, is a wing lover’s paradise. A variety of sauces ranging from the bold and spicy to the sweet and sticky make it that way. I decided to get the Wrong Side Of The Road — Boneheads’ award-winning wing with their trademark honey sriracha sauce. They were succulent and very tasty, I was left very satisfied. – 7 Bones

Tomaselli’s at Rosario (17 Rosario Dr, Providence) – Pink Vodka
Anyone who knows me well knows how much I love vodka sauce. Whether it’s on pasta or on a pizza, it’s a love affair that has never done me wrong. Obviously when I came to Tomaselli’s and saw they had that available as a sauce for their wings I had to try it. I was blown away, simply fantastic. The grated mozzarella that topped it off made it even better. Absolute perfection hands down. – 8 Bones

And the winner is…..
In my opinion, Tomaselli’s at Rosario takes the title this time around. Regardless of who won, so many places brought their A game and it made the Lord Of The Wings a wonderful month-long edible journey. In February, RI Food Fights are throwing the 1st annual Italian Grinder Throwdown that’s going on all month long all over Rhode Island. Check out their website and grab your passports before they sell out.

RI Food Fights’ Website: http://www.rifoodfights.com

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