Food & Drink

The 12 Best Wings in Houston

Published On 02/11/2015 Published On 02/11/2015
Julie Soefer Photography

Everyone loves them some wings, but turn off "Band on the Run" for a damn minute, will you? This is important. Here are 12 Houston chicken wings that fly above the rest, in all of their juicy, crunchy, sticky, tangy, sweet, and spicy glory.
 

The Hay Merchant

Montrose
If you’d like your PB&J in chicken-wing-form, look no further than this Montrose wunderkind. Also do so if you like your Vietnamese fish sauce and spicy Korean BBQ in chicken-wing-form, because those versions are also good as hell.


Coltivare

Coltivare

Heights
Every morsel of these blackened and charred birds get coated in a mix of lemon, oil, fresh straight-from-the-garden basil, and dark-roasted jalapeños that build heat with every tactfully greasy bite. They may be high-class, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be licking them off your fingers, crowded restaurant or not.


Beaver’s Washington
Spice-rubbed, meaty, and doused in things like "The Flaming Lips" hot sauce, these crunchy-but-not-overdone wings are the definition of craveable.

Thanh Phuong Restaurant

Thanh Phuong Restaurant

Pearland 
Fish sauce and chicken wings go together like peanut butter and jelly. Make your way to this Pearland Vietnamese standby that does the classic nuoc mam-style of fowl just right. Just make sure you pack some wet naps.

Pluckers Wing Bar

Pluckers

Heights
Classic sports bar wings up the ante with major swagger at this Austin import, which somehow manages to be pretty good, despite the fact that it's Austin bred. Available bone-in and boneless (as any true Buffalo wangz should be), you can also get them drenched in 20 different sauces -- from sweet and sticky "Dr. Pepper," to you’re-about-to-burn-the-crap-out-of-your-tongue "Fire in the Hole."
 

The Chicken Ranch

Heights
There’s sambal honey, barbecue, and tangy fish sauce; but its the classic Johnny Cash, Buffalo-style hot wings that rule the roost at this Southern-style chicken shack. Also, the buttermilk biscuits. They also have some of the ruling power in said roost.

Mad For Chicken

Dak & Bop

Museum District
Approximate amount of time it will take you to get these wings from the time you order: 30 minutes. Approximate amount of time it will take you to eat them: 30 seconds. These twice-fried Korean-style wings -- which you can and should get coated in sweet soy-garlic sauce, intensely hot & spicy sauce, or both -- are easily some of the crispest bird in town.

Bonfire Wings

Bonfire Wings

Multiple locations
Whether you go sauceless with the spicy Creole-fried, or go full monty with the Cajun mojo-style, these ridiculously good Louisiana-inspired chicken wings may just convince you to leave the Inner Loop. 

Sticky's Chicken

Sticky’s Chicken

Multiple locations
Find this roaming chicken truck to get a taste of what may just be the stickiest birds around. Each wickedly crisp wing gets coated in a slightly sweet, slightly hot glaze that is so good you don’t even need to dip it into the spicy mayo on the side, but you should, because that’s delicious, too.
 

Katz's Deli & Bar

Montrose
Leave it up to a NY-style Jewish deli to nail the classic Buffalo-style wing. The wings are expertly fried; coated in a hot, buttery, and tangy sauce; and served with a so-not-kosher, gloriously chunky blue cheese dressing.

thebreakfastklub

The Breakfast Klub

Midtown
Because when the city’s most badass fried-joint makes wings and grits, you get the city’s most badass fried-joint’s wings and grits.

Flickr/jmpk

Max’s Wine Dive

Heights/Montrose
These daily-butchered wings soak in jalapeño-infused buttermilk for 36 hours. We repeat: jalapeño buttermilk. 36 hours. Crack the thick, craggly coating to find the juiciest, most tender chicken in town, which you can get both drizzled with chipotle honey at happy hour OR served with legit maple syrup & griddled corncakes/maple-glazed doughnuts during brunch.

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1. The Hay Merchant / Underbelly 1100 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77006 (Montrose)

A joint venture, The Hay Merchant and Underbelly operate separately but are attached via a butchering room that’s fit to hold a whole hog, a cow, and other large, meat-bearing animals. Hay Merchant, a craft beer bar, boasts 75 draft beers that range in style from cask-conditioned American porters to sour and funky wild ales. Underbelly, the more upscale of the two, is a restaurant and wine bar serving up juicy burgers and meats, like roasted pig’s head and smoked brisket. No matter how adventurous your palate, consider pairing your dish with one of the aged barleywines on tap.

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2. Coltivare Pizza & Garden 3320 White Oak Dr, Houston, TX 77007

From Revival Market's Ryan Pera & Morgan Weber, Coltivare is a seasonally-inspired eatery that puts a fresh spin on traditional Italian foodstuffs. Think small plates & charcuterie, whole-roasted fish, pastas, and wood-fired pies. The kitchen picks every bit of fruit, veg, and greenery straight from its 3,000sqft garden. They don’t take reservations, so you’ll need to elbow your way to the bar and sip on a few of Weber’s classically inspired tinctures while you wait for your table.

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3. Beaver's 2310 Decatur St, Houston, TX 77007

Although this Sixth Ward BBQ spot offers top notch ribs and brisket, it has two main attractions: the first is a smoky queso (made with smoked asadero cheese, green chillis, and pico de gallo), while the second is a bacon omelette biscuit: an expertly crafted cheese omelette stacked with copious amounts of bacon and sausage with a chipotle honey and cream gravy blanket. Other menu items include Southern-style fare like fried pickles, barbacoa empanadas, and creative mac 'n' cheese.

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4. Thanh Phuong Restaurant 3236 East Broadway St, Pearland, TX 77581 (Pearland)

This Pearland Vietnamese standby does the classic nuoc mam-style of fowl just right. Just make sure you pack some wet naps.

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5. Pluckers 1400 Shepherd Dr, Houston, TX 77007

Classic sports bar wings up the ante with major swagger at this Austin import. Available bone-in and boneless, you can also get your wings drenched in 20 different sauces -- from sweet and sticky "Dr. Pepper," to you’re-about-to-burn-the-crap-out-of-your-tongue "Fire in the Hole."

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6. The Chicken Ranch 6500 N Main St, Houston, TX 77009

Good-as-hell fried chicken, Johnny Cash chicken wings, and crispy fried chicken livers are allllll on the menu at this Southern-style chicken shack. As are the city’s most heavenly buttermilk biscuits, which you should definitely, definitely get.

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7. Dak & Bop 1801 Binz St Ste 120, Houston, TX 77004

Twice-fried, seriously crisp Korean fried chicken is the name of the game at this Park Binz spot. Co-owner Jason Cho trained under NYC’s Mad For Chicken before opening up this shop (which is a separate entity but shares some recipes). The chicken’s good plain, but we suggest getting it smothered in soy-garlic or hot-and-spicy sauce.

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8. Katz's Deli & Bar 616 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77006 (Montrose)

This old-school deli, open 24/7, won't disappoint. If you can get matzo ball soup, man-sized Reubens, and chocolate egg creams at 4am, YOU DO.

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9. The Breakfast Klub 3711 Travis St, Houston, TX 77002

This Fourth Ward breakfast spot has some of the best fried chicken in Houston. They even give you the option of fried catfish (and waffles OR GRITS!). Plus, every once in a while there is a clown that makes you balloon animals while you wait in line. Real talk.

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10. MAX's Wine Dive 4720 Washington Ave, Houston, TX 77007 (Washington)

We totally agree with the following statement from Max's Wine Dive: ‘Fried chicken and champagne…why the hell not?!” Why the hell not indeed. Get a whole bottle of champs to drown out your fresh squeezed juice, then order a plate full of jalapeño corn cakes topped with the most badass wings in town. If that doesn't do the trick, the 5lb fried egg sandwich will: three gooey eggs, a giant pile of applewood smoked bacon with melted Gruyère, a smear of black truffle aioli, and the huge slices of buttery bread that encloses it all.

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