Because Tommy Boy spoke for everyone when he uttered the timeless words, “Tommy likey. Tommy want wingy,” here’s the list, in no particular order, of Chicago's very best wings. From old-school Buffalo to double-fried Korean, all of these are well worth begging Helen to fire up the deep fryer.
Spicy Korean BBQ Wings from Dak
You won’t question Dennis Rodman’s ambassadorship to the axis of evil after you try these jumbo wings that are twice-fried for a thin and crispy skin that’s coated in a red pepper paste sauce.
Everything Wings from Mott St
Nevermind the bagel -- you’ve just scored a plate of wings coated in a soy-chili glaze, fried shallots, and sesame & poppy seeds with some tzatziki for dipping. (FYI, Mott St is now taking reservations.)
XXX Hot Wings from Jake Melnick’s Corner Tap
When your waitress remains clothed and asks you to sign a waiver for chicken wings, you’ll realize that your friends didn’t mean that kind of XXX... although the wings can also satisfy, thanks to the heat and flavor of two of the world’s hottest peppers (the Red Savina and the Ghost Pepper). In case of emergency, they provide some cooling agents to fan the flames, like ice cream, bread, and milk. And if you aren't a big time heat seeker, there're more dialed down varieties that are still delicious.
Jumbo Wings from The Fifty/50
With these wings being deep-fried in peanut oil and coated in a five-pepper hot sauce that’s been roasted in-house and aged for three months, we won’t guilt trip you for putting back your own family meal of 24 wings, a bucket of beers, and a bottle of Jameson.
Hotties from Take Me Out
It must be your lucky day, because these sweet-and-spicy Chinese lollipop drumettes come in batches of 7 or 14 (and are also available in a tofu variety, despite bean curds not having appendages to lop off and eat).
Seoul Sassy Wings from Crisp
That’s right -- we snuck TWO Korean places serving jumbo wings on the list. Got a problem? (Sorry, just tossing in some sass... also Korean fried chicken is rather tasty.) These wings have a subtly sweet ginger soy sauce; just don’t call it teriyaki lest you incur the wrath of Mama Lee.
Lollipop Wings from Frontier
With so many varieties of meat available at Frontier, one might think a chicken would simply be collateral damage. Think again, over a plate of Lollipop wings with Buffalo sauce, buttermilk-bleu cheese dip, house ranch, and pickled carrots.
Chicken Wing Skewers from Yusho
Yusho takes the finger grime away from mowing down wings by de-boning its chicken before seasoning it with Thai chiles and serving with bonito salt and lime.
1. Take Me Out1502 W 18th St, Chicago
2. Dak1104 W Granville, Chicago
3. Mott St1401 N Ashland Ave, Chicago
4. Jake Melnick's Corner Tap41 E Superior St, Chicago
5. The Fifty/502047 W Division St, Chicago
6. Crisp2940 N Broadway, Chicago
7. Frontier1072 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago
8. Yusho2853 N Kedzie Ave, Chicago
Take Me Out is a Chinese... well, take-out restaurant and wing palace that serves up some of the finest "hotties" (seriously, that's what they call their wings) in all of Chicago.
Dak takes its name from the Korean word for “chicken,” a nod to its specialty: delicately crisped wings. Food is made to order, so it’s guaranteed to be fresh, and portion sizes are generous. Though it’s fast-foodish, Dak makes you feel right at home with wood and tile accents in a contemporary setting. Try the wings, wings and more wings. Indulge in as many mild or spicy sauces you can handle.
Tucked away in an unassuming red brick storefront in Wicker Park, this vaguely Asian restaurant from the Ruxbin crew serves an eclectic menu of family-style plates inspired by the comfort food cravings of the restaurant team. Mott St truly does cook up a little bit of everything, from steamed pork dumplings and soy-glazed wings to congee and udon. If small plates aren't for you (we get it, sometimes you just want an entrée all to yourself), then perhaps the double chuck patty Mott Burger is. The restaurant's communal tables fit all too well with the tapas-like menu.
Jake Melnick's Corner Tap is a beer bar in River North, Chicago that's serving up some killer hot wings and other bar foods.
The 50's a tri-level sports temple serving gluttonous fare like in-house smoked meats (ribs, pulled pork, wings), mac 'n' cheese toppable with everything from chicken to chili, and the "Double-Secret Probation"-esque "Triple Secret:" a tri-meat fatburger with a classified recipe.
Objectively speaking, the only thing better than a fried chicken wing is a jumbo fried chicken wing, which explains why the not-so-jumbo Crisp -- a Korean counter-serve in Lakeview -- is always packed. Everyone wants a taste of those juicy, jumbo Sassy Seoul wings (the sauce is just a garlic-sesame-soy glaze, but Sassy Seoul is more fun to say). There are other sauces, and also other Korean comfort dishes like kimchee and bibimbap-like Buddha Bowls, but those jumbo wings are unequivocally the main event (it’s called Crisp for a reason). It’s BYOB, so be sure to bring something that pairs well with sass.
It may not be the final frontier, but with ice-taps pouring 16 traditional and seasonal brews, a meat heavy menu featuring specialty sausages, steaks, and "Animal Service", flat screen TVs, and a beer garden, you won't need to explore any further. Allied: Ready yourself for Animal Service with some Smith & Forge, the hard cider that's built strong -- built from Apples and built to Refresh.
Because apparently not everything in Japan gets lost in translation, former Charlie Trotter's exec chef Matthias Merges drew on the energy and community he discovered in the country's street food scene when conceiving Yusho. His architect wife channeled his vision into an eclectic space with a bar made from century-old wood beams and a skylit back room projecting anime. Crunch on salmon and chicken skins while you sip a boozy soda or one of the formidable offerings of Japanese and domestic beers. Then share a bowl of mentaiko carbonara, a seaside leaning take on the Italian pasta with spicy cod roe and bucatini from sister restaurant A10.