When I rolled out of bed this morning…er, afternoon, J started asking about lunch. She was hungry. I was hungry, so we started getting ready to leave the house. Last night, I gave her the option of Mexican or wings. Today, I wasn’t really in the mood for Mexican so I made the call to head to Okemos to try out the new chain in town.
Wild Wing Cafe is on the corner of Grand River Avenue and Okemos Road in the building that used to be Bennigan’s. The chain is an east coast franchise based in South Carolina. The Okemos location is both the farthest north and west.
I never went into the Bennigan’s, so I have no idea if anything has changed inside. The dining room is anchored by a large bar in the middle that is covered with LCD TV’s. In fact, that’s pretty much the whole design theme. LCD TV’s everywhere. Everywhere! The place really has a sports bar theme. The TV’s are accented with MSU pictures that have been blown up and hung on the walls.
There are tables and booths that fill in the space around the bar. We were shown to a table near the stage that hosts local bands on weekends. A waitress came over and took drink orders while we looked over the rather large menu. I knew I wanted wings, but there were a lot of options. J isn’t in to the traditional wing as much as I am, so she needed a little more time to work her way through the choices.
When the waitress came back with our Pepsi’s, I was ready to order. I looked at J to make sure she was ok then I put in an order for eight hot wings. Since this was our first visit, I went with a safe choice just so I could get a feel for the wings. Hot was about the middle of the road choice. I was hoping there would be a little bit of spice, but nothing overwhelming. The waitress asked if I wanted all eight hot or if I wanted to add a second “marinade.” I should have, but didn’t. I really still prefer the good ol’ fashioned buffalo wing. The wings were delicious. The sauce was exactly what I was hoping for. There was a little bit of spice, but it wasn’t so bad I needed a gallon of milk just to eat them. They were a little bit bigger than I remember Buffalo Wild Wing’s being and they were cooked very similar.
The impressive thing to me was how messy they weren’t. The sauce stuck to the wing. There wasn’t an abundance of hot sauce. One of the cool things about Wild Wing Cafe was their choice of napkin. Most places just give you a handful of paper napkins and let you rip your way through them. Wild Wing Cafe gave us what was essentially a bar towel. It was a heavy, blue, cloth towel which would have worked on the messiest of wings.
Since there was no side with the wings, I ordered an appetizer of buffalo chips. I thought they were going to be just for me, but J asked if they were enough to share. The waitress said they were so I kept my mouth shut. It was a good thing I did, it was a pretty large order. The chips were fresh cut and topped with chunks of bleu cheese. J really liked the buffalo chips. I liked them, but I thought the middle of some of the bigger chips were still soft. The bleu cheese was just thrown on top and fell off the chips. I would have liked to have seen them stuck under a salamander or something for a few minutes just to melt the cheese a little bit so it would stick a little bit better.
J still wanted chicken, but didn’t want wings. She doesn’t like dealing with the bones whereas I think the bones give the wings a whole lot more flavor. The Knockout Nuggets were her choice. She also got her choice of marinades on the nuggets. She got honey BBQ and a spicy honey BBQ. The nuggets were basically like boneless wings. She really liked both of the honey BBQ varieties and even had a couple left over for me. In my opinion, they were too much breading and not enough chicken, but that’s always my complaint with boneless wings. I’m also not a honey BBQ fan, so it wans’t really my thing, but J really liked it.
Our bill was just over $22 and that was with the appetizer being half off. The only complaint was how long it took to get our meal. Even though we only got chicken, it took about 15-20 minutes to get our meal. It is only the second day the place has been open and they were doing pretty good business for 1:30 in the afternoon, so I’m sure that had something to do with it.
Wild Wing Cafe was pretty good. For a guy that likes wings, Wild Wing Cafe hit the spot. It’s still got the chain atmosphere and there’s the chain preparation, but for what it is, I really liked Wild Wing Cafe. I wasn’t expecting a neighborhood joint and that’s not what I got. What we got was good wings and in a comfortable chain setting. Can’t complain about that.
Like most guys, I love wings. Finding a good hot wing is always a hard thing to do. It seems like this is one case where the chains do a pretty good job of beating the local places. I know it’s bad to say, but I love Buffalo Wild Wings. When I lived in Peoria, I ate at BW’s almost every week on Tuesday night.