Food & Drink

Where to Get the 13 Best Under-the-Radar Chicken Wings in Chicago

Published On 01/29/2015 Published On 01/29/2015
Mike Gebert/Thrillist
titus ruscitti/thrillist
mike gebert/thrillist
mike gebert/thrillist
Mike Gebert/Thrillist
mike gebert/thrillist
titus ruscitti/thrillist
mike gebert/thrillist
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1. Carriage House 1700 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60622 (Wicker Park)

Carriage House brings the internationally-tinged flavors of regional South Carolina to Wicker Park. A portion of the menu is dedicated to bold, interpretations of select traditional dishes, a broad collection of spirits, and family-inspired meals. This restaurant tempts you to stay for a long, Southern minute.

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2. Take Me Out 1502 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608 (Pilsen)

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.

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3. Hienie's Shrimp House 10359 S Torrence Ave, Chicago, IL 60617

Hienie's not only serves up its own pretty-freaking-famous hot sauce in South Deering, but it's also got some of the best fried shrimp in the city.

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4. La Sirena Clandestina 954 W Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607 (West Loop)

La Sirena Clandestina in Fulton Market combines bright, coastal Brazilian fare with a dark, sexy atmosphere suitable for the date you’ve thus far struggled to impress. The chocolate-brown wooden tables are littered both with teeny glistening candles and cocktails, like the Bikini Weather (coconut, passion fruit, and tequila), which, by the way, are robust and beach party-worthy. As for food, the menu is a mix of small and large plates, unified by an emphasis on Brazilian meat and seafood tastes, like head-on prawns or ceviche. Share the tres leches for a sweet end to the evening.

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5. Budacki's Drive In 4739 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60625 (Lincoln Square)

Hot dogs, burgers, and other Chicago-style favorites are served at this family-run spot (which has been a favorite of the people in the Lincoln Square and Ravenswood 'hoods since 1980), but the no-brainer go-to order here is the chicken wings. Budacki’s does wings a little differently: perfectly fried and doused in a marinade that mixes Asian spice with Buffalo sauce resulting in a tantalizing flavor combination.

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6. Chicago Kalbi Korean BBQ 3752 W Lawrence Ave, Chicago, IL 60625 (Albany Park)

At this Chicago eatery, you can mix-and-match Japanese and Korean appetizers and entrees. The food is grilled right in front of you and what sets Chicago Kalbi apart from other KBBQ spots is its use of wood chips instead of gas on the tables. The delicious, smoky smell will invite you in from the street. Open seating or privacy rooms are available for groups.

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7. Mr. Brown's Lounge 2301 W Chicago, Chicago, IL 60622 (Ukrainian Village)

Named for a Bob Marley tune, this subtly Rastafarian corner bar's decked out with reggae record covers and a jukebox spinning said tunes. The grub comes courtesy of a Jamaican chef serving up family recipe spicy mac and cheese, bone-in curried goat, and grilled wings with allspice and just enough Scotch Bonnet pepper.

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8. Cafe Orient 33 4829 N Kedzie Ave, Chicago, IL 60625 (Albany Park)

Cafe Orient 33 is a neighborhood favorite. This informal, family-run Japanese-Korean spot in Albany Park is BYBO and offers some of the crispiest, most delicious wings in the city. The supremely flavorful sweet and spicy wings are a must, as is the Bibimbap. You’ll for sure get your dollar’s worth of taste. The place is warm and welcoming with high ceilings and soft yellow interior, and the family is very sweet.

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9. Dak 1104 W Granville, Chicago, IL 60660 (Edgewater)

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.

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10. Oak + Char 217 W Huron St, Chicago, IL 60654 (River North)

Staying true to its name, the space sports plenty of oak, as well as billowy light fixtures that look like plumes of smoke. Feast on ultra-flavorful "M.S.G." wings (trust us, it’s not what you think) and a smoky double-patty burger, or go big with a market price 32oz bone-in ribeye served with bone marrow and sauce Perigueux on a badass wooden board.

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11. Chicago Wingz Around the World 557 E 75 St, Chicago, IL 60619

These guys get the award for most ridiculous amount of original sauces offered. To help you better select your flavor, options are broken down by country and given a heat rating. Popular sauces include cheesy buffalo, jerk, and garlic Parmesan that comes laced with bits of potent garlic up and down each piece. Do 'em grilled or fried (or both!).

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12. Zip'z Express Fast Food 1635 W Howard St, Chicago, IL 60626 (Rogers Park)

This longtime Howard St favorite is all about its signature offering, the "Oriental Chicken." Split wings are doused in a sweet citrus sauce with Korean flair, served in orders of eight to 100 (yes, 100), along with white rice that gets heavily infused with the sauce. Fast food wings don't get much better.

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13. High Dive 1938 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60622 (West Town)

Providing wings and a good beer list is job number one for lots of neighborhood bars. Okay... all neighborhood bars. But this Ukie Village tavern takes things one step further by not only doing classic buffalo wings awfully well, but pushing the boundaries in the process. The recently introduced Asian wings feature a nice backyard grill char under a not-too-sticky glaze.

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