Food & Drink

Atlanta's best wings

Published On 08/23/2013 Published On 08/23/2013
Strawberry/Sriracha Wings, Jack's Pizza and Wings - Atlanta

As the results of Super Bowls 25, 26, 27, AND 28 can attest, the best that Buffalo's got to offer is usually second-rate... except when it comes to one thing: wings. To be fair though, Atlanta's chicken-wing game is right up there with any city, and, to prove it, we put together a list of the eight best examples from a town that hasn't lost nearly as many Super Bowls as Buffalo.

Smoked-n-Fried Wings, DBA Barbecue
Virginia Highland
The VaHi barbecue joint first smokes their wings so that flavor permeates all the way to the bone, then fries 'em up crispy so that sauces like habanero-mustard and Hotlanta Hot adhere thoroughly. Isn't science awesome?!

Biddy Wings, Chick-a-Biddy
Atlantic Station
The Atlantic Station chicken shack dishes out locally sourced bird pieces in flavors like Wood-Grilled Piri Piri, Spicy Green Tabasco, and even a Thai Chili number w/ peanuts sprinkled on top.

Jerk Wings, Cafe Circa
Feeling like a jerk? You're either A) pretty self-aware, a**hole, or B) in the mood for this O4W bistro's island-inspired wings glazed in ginger BBQ sauce.

Pa'Zings, Calypso Wings
These now-world-famous monstrosities are the product of an unnatural union between pepperoni pizza and chicken wing, and are... naturally... REALLY FREAKIN' DELICIOUS!

Smoked Wings, Fox Bros Bar-B-Q
Opened by some dudes who have to try really hard not to call their sister's boyfriend David Silver during holidays really know their chicken, this spot serves up jumbo-sized, hickory-smoked wings tossed in a house-made hot sauce.

Strawberry/Sriracha Wings, Jack's Pizza & Wings
Virginia Highland
The VaHi watering hole's got a ton of different wing flavors (garlic Parm, Stupid Hot, honey bourbon, wasabi, etc.), but if you don't get the strawberry/Sriracha, with its perfect balance of sweet and spicy, then you don't know jack about... um, ordering at Jack's.

El's Wings, Muss & Turner's
This dining destination in The Vinings has spiced-up their wings with ras el hanout, lemon, and tzatziki, which is a Greek appetizer made with strained yogurt, despite the fact that it would probably be even better if yogurt could just relax a little.

JR Crickets
This Atlanta institution has been serving up whole flocks of flightless bird since 1982, and if you think all those years of experience means they know what they're doing with these lightly sauced wings, or that The Bills should have won at least one of their Super Bowls... guess what? You're right!

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1. JR Crickets 129 North Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30308 (Midtown)

In 1982, a man named Paul Juliano opened a rickety chicken wing joint in Midtown Atlanta and named it JR Crickets. Like any true visionary, he branded it with a logo of an upright peanut pretending to be a cricket in a tux jacket and no pants. Thirty-five years later, Juliano’s crispy fried wings have become the stuff of ATL legend -- from the classic Buffalo and the thick BBQ to the wet teriyaki and the dry-rubbed lemon-pepper. The skin holds up to all of these rich and tangy sauces, and the accompanying fries, not too thick and not too salty, make for an ideal side. It’s hard to say that anybody in the state does wings better than this pants-less peanut.

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2. Chick-a-Biddy 264 19th St NW, Atlanta, GA 30363 (Atlantic Station)

Shaun Doty and Lance Gummere of Bantam + Biddy crossed the road and took their fried-chicken talents to Atlantic Station for Chick-a-Biddy, a farm-fresh concept with even more of the feathered fowl to love.

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3. Cafe Circa 464 Edgewood Ave, Atlanta, GA 30312 (Old 4th Ward)

This chic restaurant and lounge serves Latin & Cairbbean food like catfish bites, sweet plantains and gumbo. There is also a rooftop space for live music that draws a late-night crowd.

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4. Calypso Cafe & Grill 58 Walton St NW, Atlanta, GA 30303 (Downtown)

This Downtown Jamaican resto uses all traditional spices and ingredients so you can nosh on fully authentic Caribbean eats.

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5. Fox Bros Bar-B-Q 1238 Dekalb Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30307 (Dekalb)

An Atlanta institution serving up solid BBQ fare like pulled pork and beef brisket sandwiches, Frito pie, and burnt ends. We think that Fox Bros Bar-B-Q serves up some of the best BBQ in town, but you'll have to stop by and see for yourself.

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6. Jack's Pizza & Wings 676 Highland Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30312 (Old 4th Ward)

The folks at Jack's fashion the place as a dive bar and they aren't wrong. But with some of the cheapest beer and tastiest pizza and wings around the Old Fourth Ward, labels don't matter much in this joint.

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7. Muss & Turner's 1675 Cumberland Pkwy, Atlanta, GA 30080 (Smyrna)

Born out of two friends, Muss & Turner's is a sleek yet down-to-earth deli and bistro serving up stacked sandwiches, large plates of grilled meats, and a burger that consistently ranks among Atlanta's best. The Reason to Reuben sandwich features a picture-perfect stack of corned beef brisket, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing on marble rye, while the turkey-filled Gobbler is made with decadent Ritz cracker stuffing. There's often a line, but take comfort in the fact that there's no danger of M&T going out of business anytime soon.

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8. D.B.A. Barbecue 1190 N Highland Ave NE, Ste B, Atlanta, GA 30306 (Virginia Highland)

With its red plastic chairs, booth seating, and vintage Coke ads on the wall, D.B.A. Barbecue looks like the kind of joint that would serve down-right sloppy but delicious BBQ on paper plates and cheap beer in styrofoam cups. And that's partially true -- the smoked wings, ribs, brisket, and pastrami that grace this Virginia Highland spot's plates are top-notch -- especially when paired with a side of Texas toast -- but the full bar takes things one step further with its selection of craft beers from the Southeast and spiked slushy cocktails.