11 Must-Try Wings Around the U.S.

By Zagat Staff  |  January 28, 2015

As Super Bowl Sunday approaches, we're turning out attention to a quintessential game-day snack: chicken wings. Check out 11 spots that have mastered the barroom favorite and learn to make your own batch of Buffalo chicken wings in our new how-to video.

  • San Diego: Dirty Birds

    The sheer variety of wings boggles the mind at this Pacific Beach restaurant. With a choice of 33 flavors to choose from, like chicken enchilada and flaming-hot mustard, you’re best heading in on Monday nights for their all-you-can-eat wings for $13.99, starting at 6 PM until close. Deep-fried and tossed in sauce, these wings are served with the de rigueur side of ranch with celery and carrot sticks to break up the wing-palooza. Find more killer wings here.

    4656 Mission Blvd.; 858-274-2473

  • Seattle: Brave Horse Tavern

    These beauties appear simple and classic, but you'll be impressed with the incredible prep that goes on behind the scenes. First, they're brined overnight, then smoked before getting crisped in the deep-fryer. The sauce is a special creation made just for BHT by Bonache, the crazy-popular local pepper-sauce company. Score!  

    310 Terry Ave. N.; 206-971-0717

  • Credit: Danya Henninger

    Philadelphia: Han Dynasty

    Make a late-night trip to the new Old City home for Han Chiang’s Sichuan restaurant to gain access to the special “street-food” menu. There, you’ll find dry-pepper-style wings, triple-flash-fried with both long hot and dry chile peppers for a crisp bite that you’ll enjoy even as it numbs your tongue.

    Multiple locations

  • Los Angeles:  Night + Market Song

    Kris Yenmbamroong’s peek gai hey-ha, or “party wings,” are a staple at his two Night + Market restaurants, especially at the Silver Lake sibling. The wings are fried and glazed with a spicy-sweet Thai sauce and are a good intro to the menu. Start there and then move into some of the more fiery dishes. Good news: the restaurant is now open for lunch, Monday through Friday. Find more of LA's best wings here.

    3322 Sunset Blvd.; 323-849-0223

  • Denver: Highland Tap & Burger

    Along with a remarkably diverse selection of burgers, this citywide favorite in LoHi turns out terrific chicken wings, smoked in whiskey barrels and sided with housemade chunky blue cheese and the signature "tap" sauce.

    2219 W. 32nd Ave.; 720-287-4493

  • New York City: Mighty Quinn's

    While most flock to this mecca of Texalina 'cue for the slow-cooked brisket, the spicy chicken wings are the real sleeper stunner at the many outposts of Hugh Mangum's BBQ chainlet. Check out more great options here.

    Multiple locations

  • Credit: L to R: PB&J, Fish Sauce, Hot, Gochujang at The Hay Merchant/Julie Soefer

    Houston: The Hay Merchant

    Place your bet on how many wings can you put away at this Montrose beer joint and eatery, where they sling orders of six, 12, 30 and 60 ($6-$55). Dip the fried flappers in any or all of four fancy sauces, created to reflect the diversity of the city (classic hot sauce, Vietnamese fish sauce, Korean gochujang and Thai PB&J) and wash it all down with any of the 80 craft beers on the drink menu.

    1100 Westheimer Rd.; 713-528-9805

  • Boston: Kirkland Tap & Trotter

    Craigie on Main chef Tony Maws trades that restaurant's refinement for a more rustic, funky gastropub approach at his Somerville spot. We're green with envy for anyone who gets their hands on the green chile chicken wings, tossed in a spicy sauce with jalapeño, coriander, cumin and cinnamon. Plus: cotija cheese and pepitas. Get your hands on more killer wings here.

    425 Washington St.; 857-259-6585

  • Chicago: Jake Melnick’s

    Arguably some of the best in the city, this sports bar doesn’t skimp when it comes to wing selection. Opt for traditional Buffalo, "firecracker" or the more gourmet garlic and cayenne grilled wings.

    41 E. Superior St.; 312-266-0400

  • Atlanta: Bone Lick BBQ

    Westside's Bone Lick marinates its wings (pictured above) for two days in a specially seasoned mix before putting them in the smoker. The resulting delicacies are served "naked," which is a great way to savor that smokiness, or sauced. As is usually the best advice: go naked. 

    1133 Huff Rd. NW; 404-343-6574

  • Credit: Eric Wolfinger

    San Francisco: Dirty Habit

    Among the delicious small plates courtesy of chef David Bazirgan are these sweet-and-spicy chicken wings, which may qualify as the best wings ever.

    12 Fourth St.; 415-348-1555