Food & Drink

The Best Wings in Every State in America

Published On 02/03/2017 Published On 02/03/2017
JR Crickets Wings
JR Crickets | Sebastian Davis/Thrillist
Big Bob Gibsons Bar-B-Que


Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q


The four generations of family behind Big Bob Gibson's take their barbecue as seriously as Alabama jewel Nick Saban takes his football. And with 10 world championships, the Big Bob Gibson Competition Cooking team -- formed specifically for BBQ-battling purposes -- has earned the place its rep as one of America's best BBQ joints. That signature smoked chicken with white sauce, then, makes it very, very easy to overlook Bob's excellent smoked wings. Giant, crispy, and available in sticky piles of five, 10, 20, or 40, they serve as the perfect vehicle for the rest of Gibson's blue-ribbon barbecue sauces and come tossed in your choice of mild or spicy. Obviously, they're perfect for tailgating, as is the 'Bama way. But they're just as good if you just, you know, eat them in the parking lot before you take a full platter of the other stuff home.


Winky's Wings

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Alaska isn't exactly known for its wings. Probably because fish -- even the flying ones -- don't have any. But Winky's has local carnivores' needs covered with a diverse menu featuring cheesesteaks, gyros, Cajun food, and the real star of the show: the short-and-sweet selection of flavor-packed wings. Boneless (no!) or bone-in (yep!), they're pure comfort in their familiarity, with sauces running the gamut from garlic Parmesan to teriyaki, BBQ, lemon pepper, and Buffalo. Hot and crispy as hell, the deep-fried wings are available in heat grades ranging from an everyman's mild to the tongue-scorching Inferno option, which is totally the second-most enjoyable way to warm up during a brutal Alaskan winter. You don't want to know the first way.


Teakwoods Tavern & Grill

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Arizona is home to the Grand Canyon and the honey hot wings from Teakwoods Tavern – the, um, Grand Canyon of flavor. OK, maybe not quite, but the wings are damn good. The joint self-identifies as a casual neighborhood bar and grill, but the wing selection is anything but casual. There are 12 options -- including cactus-flavored wings made with a prickly pear sauce -- but make a beeline straight for an order of the Honey Hots. The deep-fried wings are coated in a sticky-sweet sauce loaded with honey but also plenty of heat. No, seriously. Teakwoods warns on its menu to order them at your own risk, but the only real risk is that you won't be able to stop eating.


The Rail - A Pizza Company

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While the pies might be the namesake of this Rogers-based eatery, the wings -- as an appetizer or a meaty main course -- are the delicious draw, and are available in Parmesan marinara, Louisiana Hot Sauce, alfredo, garlic Parm, spicy BBQ, and Thai flavors. The Rail also offers a token tongue-scorching option for the masochists among us, the hallmark of any wing joint worth its crispy skin. This particular brand of pain is called Bring the Rain, and the while the menu instructs you to ask your waiter about it, watching this kid take the taste bullet (video involves a lot of sweating, moaning, and the repetition of the phrase "This is so bad!") might be warning enough. Godspeed! And maybe go garlic Parm.

San Tung | Flickr/the foodhoe


San Tung

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San Francisco

San Francisco's Sunset neighborhood is thronged with nondescript casual Chinese joints, but do not --repeat, do not --  accept any substitutes for San Tung, even if the lunch and dinner lines looks daunting. There's a damn good reason that people queue up, and while the noodles are all fine and dandy, the wings are the draw. You can get them swimming in the sweet-and-spicy signature sauce loaded up with peppers and shoots, but don't. Get them dry. The batter that encases the wings gives a satisfying crunch as a precursor to the immaculately tender meat inside, and it all comes together in a beautiful symphony of ginger and garlic. When you've got a wing this well-honed, sauce is merely a distraction. You didn't wait in line for sauce, after all.



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The best wings are not typically found in fine-dining restaurants. But when fancy-as-heck ChoLon opened in Denver, its SE Asian-inspired wings were a hit. It's an odd sensation to have sticky hands at a nice dinner, so it didn't last. A few years later, chef/co-owner Lon Symensma opened a more casual sister restaurant called Cho77 with a friend. It was the kind of restaurant where wings could… fly. (Sorry.) There, Symensma's pal/exec chef/co-owner Ryan Gorby was inspired to create a Vietnamese version of everyone's favorite bar snack based on the fish sauce-doused version that's typically served in a clay pot. First, it's a large confit wing (one where the drumstick and wing are connected) that's transferred to the grill to get a fantastic char flavor before getting that caramel fish sauce. It's a sweet, savory wing with burnt sugar, caramel, fish sauce, and chili powder all commingled. And the best news is that after you're done finishing off a plate of these, you'll be in a place where it's not weird to wipe your hands on your pants.


J. Timothy's Taverne

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The dirt on J. Timothy's is dirt. Dirt Wings, specifically. That's what this Connecticut institution calls its signature fried-sauced-fried-again preparation, allegedly named after the oldest player on a softball team of bar regulars. The result is delicious: That double-deep-fried shell finishes a few shades darker than hot-sauce orange and delivers super-crisp bites. The dirtying process puts sauce into the fryer, which mucks it up and necessitates frequent oil changes, so you know you're getting the good stuff. Timothy's was founded in 1985, but the building it's in was built in 1789, so it's pretty much as old as dirt, too.


2 Fat Guys

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In 2004, before they owned two successful restaurants, the two fat guys behind 2 Fat Guys ran a catering company. Back then, they knew burgers, ribs, and wings were the staples. They still are. But to stand out in a state where popular chain Wings To Go got its start, you gotta do things a little differently. Case in point: One of its most popular wing sauces is the Triple Threat -- a combo of bourbon BBQ, poached pear, and mild. About that unique poached pear sauce: It's scratch-made by, you guessed it, poaching pears, emulsifying them, and mixing with the restaurant's BBQ sauce. Another bestseller is the PB&J sauce with peanut butter, grape jelly, and BBQ sauce, which is essentially school lunch on a wing! Regulars know to ask for the special sauce of the day, as they're often wild ideas for wings that sound like they could fail miserably in the wrong hands. They don't! One winner featured regularly on Valentine's Day is Vampire's Blood, made with cinnamon Red Hots candy and Atomic Fireballs. But one stand-out wing that pops up as a special frequently is the Yuengwing, made with, yup, Yuengling. It's all the flavor of that classic lager without having to get up to go to the fridge and open one. No surprise that it'll likely be promoted to a regular menu item soon.


Sports Grill

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Though every dude who moves to South Beach for a winter and changes his Facebook hometown to "Miami" claims to be a 305 local, no one can truly claim that title until they've spent an entire Sunday crushing wings at Sports Grill. Each of the upscale sports bar's seven locations serves up these South Dade staples that are flame-grilled and THEN fried, giving the little fall-off-the-bone suckers a savory flavor unmatched anywhere in South Florida. The must-order sauce is the sweet-and-spicy Dale sauce, an addictive flavor combination of chilies and barbecue sauce named after a longtime Sports Grill regular named Dale (though most would assume it's pronounced "DAH-lay," after Mr. 305 himself).

JR Crickets | Sebastian Davis/Thrillist


J.R. Crickets

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In 1982 a guy named Paul Juliano opened a rickety chicken wing joint in Midtown Atlanta, not far from Georgia Tech. He named it J.R. Crickets, and like any true visionary would, he branded it with a logo of an upright Caucasian peanut pretending to be a cricket in a tux jacket and no pants. Thirty-five years later Juliano's crispy-fried wings are the stuff of legend, having earned (no pun intended) a mention on Donald Glover's Atlanta for a mythical flavor called "lemon pepper wet." The classic Buffalo are unfailing, the fries are nice and salty without overkill. The skin holds up to the sauces, whether it's the thick BBQ, wet teriyaki, or lemon pepper dry (rubbed). Sure, you might find wings you like anywhere in Georgia, but it’s hard to say that anybody in this state has done it better.


Hale Vietnam

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If you didn't know any better, you'd think Hale Vietnam's absolutely enormous chicken wings were chicken tenders. This wing was inspired by a dish the chef had in Vietnam, and ever since '86 the kitchen's been frying 'em up. First, the big-ass wing is deboned and stuffed with ground pork, vegetables like carrots and onions, and long-grain rice. Then it's lightly breaded in panko and deep-fried, and finally served with fish sauce. You can also ask for a Vietnamese peanut sauce. And because you're going to want a beer with these wings (and a bowl of pho, if you're smart), you could have a Tsingtao or Singha. But our recommendation is to go local and order a Kona Longboard -- a beer brewed on the Big Island, a mere seven miles away.

Barbacoa | Laurie Pearman/Thrillist



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Idaho isn't exactly synonymous with chicken wings, let alone ultra-swank Latin-fusion restaurants. So it's kind of crazy-surprising that the best wings in the state aren't served in a basket as an afterthought at a cowboy bar, but rather on a board with a tiny little hibachi grill. That's right. Taken on their own, the tender, plump wings are remarkably balanced in their sweet/spicy pop. But get frisky with that mug-sized grill, and you can make them your own. Add a little smoke. Or a lot of char. Or let the sauce caramelize and melt into the skin, creating extra crunch. Just don't, you know, put them on then get up to go the bathroom. Burning these things is a crime against all that is delicious.



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The satisfying skin on the Korean-inspired, double-fried wings at this tiny temple to the art of fried poultry has managed to win over even the most ardent Buffalo wing devotees. Actually, Buffalo fans are still in luck at this modest North Side counter-service joint, as the wing sauce it employs from legendary hot dog stand Budacki's is reliably on point. That said, you'd really be missing out if you passed over their BBQ, kind of a hybrid American-Korean style amped up with red chili paste (they'll happily turn up the spice factor if you ask). The milder ginger-garlic-soy Seoul Sassy is also a must-order, and not just because it's super-fun to say. Fortunately this place is accustomed to mixed orders for the decision-challenged.


Ale Emporium

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No disrespect to the quality of its beer list, but this Indianapolis favorite might want to update its name to the Ale & Wing Emporium given the reverence Hoosiers express for the wing artistry here. With a wood-paneled, brass-railed neighborhood vibe, the place is a prime spot for live music and sports. But the chicken steals the most attention. While it has a sizable arsenal of your standard sauce options and heat levels, you're getting the Hermanaki wings -- a closely guarded secret recipe named for the owner that involves an addictive dry rub and a finishing stint on the grill following the fryer. Sometimes when an establishment touts a dish as "world famous" it induces skepticism. These will make you a believer.


Jimmy Jack's Rib Shack

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Iowa City

The ribs may be the namesake specialty at this beloved Iowa City smokehouse, but unlike some of its barbecue brethren, Jimmy Jack's really does its wings justice. The assorted tools and farm implements decking the brick-red walls let you know you're about to do some work with your hands, though not involving an ax (hopefully). First thoroughly coated in the house rub before a 2.5-hour smoking session over hickory wood, they're then placed on standby until they're fried to order and sauced up. The original sauce packs just the right balance of sweet, heat, and vinegar to make for the optimal pairing among the quartet of BBQ-centric sauce options, but it also offers a Buffalo option spiced to your liking, which marries nicely with the smoke for an upgrade over your standard hot wing.


Hot Basil

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Overland Park

Hot Basil doesn't necessarily look like an establishment where you'd be driven to go primal on a plate of wings, what with the white tablecloths, soothing green hues, and delicate floral prints. But all concerns about decorum go out the window when you’re confronted with a plate of wings at this family-run Thai restaurant. The perpetually in-demand wings are a family recipe that starts with a trip to the deep fryer before getting tossed to the wok, where they're finished in a sauce deep with garlic, Thai basil (naturally), and a hit of Sriracha. The visible flecks of basil make you feel like you can pretty much count it as a salad, though you're more likely to be thinking about whether it'd look weird to put in a second order. It won't. Just do it.

MilkWood | Courtesy of MilkWood



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Top Chef vet Edward Lee’s made quite the name for himself with his seamless melding of Southern and Asian flavors, and you probably shouldn’t pass through Louisville without enjoying some of his food. May we recommend the wings at MilkWood, the still-sleek but more casual sibling to his much-acclaimed 610 Magnolia? You'll spot an array of animal skulls and antlers adorning the white brick walls, but soon enough the only animal remnants capturing your attention will be chicken wings stripped of every morsel of meat as you wonder what just happened? Here's what happened: They were tenderly smoked before getting crisped up and tossed in some chili-lime sauce, sprinkled with sesame seeds and scallions, drizzled with Alabama white BBQ sauce, and brought to your table where you tore through them like a maniac. Nice work.



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New Orleans

Last year, tiny 25-seat pan-Asian/southern fine-dining spot Kin ditched the fancy stuff and dedicated its open kitchen to atypical ramen incorporating everything from oxtail to crawdads. Chefs Hieu Than and Nate Nguyen also decided to celebrate the glories of the chicken wing with two different variations that change daily under the banner of General Meow's chicken wings. They could be honey-coated and flecked with rosemary, shimmering with garlic and chilies, or kicked up with traditional five spice. The only thing you can expect -- aside from a line -- is that the wings will have a crispy skin, tender meat, and explosive flavors. Order both offerings. Maybe two of each.


Samuel's Bar and Grill

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This typically crowded and comfortably no-frills neighborhood spot offers patio seating and an extensive menu featuring every type of bar snack you can imagine. That said, don't be seduced by the nachos or caught up in the sweet siren song of the calzone, because, despite the inherent tastiness of both, the wings are the reason you're here. The offering is mostly straightforward -- served naked or tossed in Buffalo, sweet Thai chili, or BBQ sauce -- but if you want to do it big, opt for the twice-fried Dirty wings, one of the most rightfully raved-about menu items. For the full experience, we recommend putting on something with an elastic waistband and swinging by on Wednesday or Thursday night when the wings are only 50 cents each from 5 'til close. Just remember that Samuel’s is open until 1am, so, uh, pace yourself accordingly.



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Let's just get this out of the way -- of course a huge, 170-plus-seat, wood-paneled neighborhood tavern in Baltimore sells Old Bay wings. And of course its customers pair those wings with Natty Boh and Heavy Seas beers. But that's obvious: It's like telling someone from Maryland that Cal Ripken played a couple games in a row for the O's. Duh. What might not be obvious is that Kisling's has been churning out its wings for 20+ years on the back of an owner who cooked up its original, mildly spicy wing sauce that's so popular he started bottling it. It's hot but still enjoyable, so there's no need to cry for your mom and drink a gallon of milk. You can also go straight-up Buffalo with the sauce, or opt for the honey Old Bay sauce, which builds on the classic crab seasoning with a hit of honey to sweeten the proceedings, all while retaining those delicious flavors from the Old Bay. If you're one of those people who doesn't know what the hell a Cal Ripken is, Old Bay is made mostly of red pepper flakes, paprika, and celery salt. And it's damn good on wings.


Buff's Pub

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Fans of classic Buffalo-style chicken wings won't be disappointed with the canonical version at this wood-paneled watering hole plastered with sports memorabilia and even more plastered BC students. Buff's slings the best in the state. But the right move here is the joint's Honey Hots. Like the Buffalo style, they are fried until juicy and crisp-tender, then doused in Frank's RedHot. Instead of the traditional butter, they are laced with honey (duh), giving the clunkers a sticky sweet-spicy glaze. Just the right thing to tear into in sweatpants while watching Tom "I never eat sugar" Brady throw touchdown passes into his 80s.

Sweetwater Tavern


Sweetwater Tavern

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A Bricktown institution housed in one of the Motor City's oldest buildings (well, at least the original location is… it's got four now), Sweetwater ditches the practice of offering a bajillion different sauce options to specialize in only one, and it's frankly heralded as Michigan's best wing. Using meat straight from the Eastern Market, each wing takes a 24-hour bath in a top-secret sauce before getting dredged in spices and fried. They arrive at your table wet but not too saucy, with spice, salt, and vinegar permeating every bite. It's Detroit soul and BBQ at its finest, an institution built on the power of the wing that also happens to be one of Motown's finest classic bars.


Monte Carlo

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Now, the Monte Caaaarlo might sound like the kind of joint that serves its wings boneless, stuffed with foie, and sprinkled with gold dust, a folded cloth napkin on the side, but of course. But at this landmark chophouse, a North Loop fixture since 1906, the only fussiness with its beloved dry-rubbed Beijing wings is the expertly balanced, 18-ingredient secret spice mixture. Tucked in a decidedly unfancy paper napkin-lined woven basket, the righteously crackling-crispy wings -- dry-rubbed, fried, and then dusted in more spice mixture -- betray hints of cinnamon, cumin, onion powder, and celery salt. Beats lame, upright-pinky resort food any day of the week.


American Wings & Cafe

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You'd be forgiven for seeing some red flags when approaching American Wings & Cafe. It's got a strip-mall look that seems better suited for a joint that sells pre-paid cellphones, which are admittedly not delicious. It's lit like a hospital (though a hospital that smells like fried food). And it's got one of those menus that features everything from cheesesteaks to shrimp and gyros. Indeed, those items are questionable. But what is unquestioned is the dominance of these old-school wings. On first inspection, they look like any old chicken wings you'd see in a bar. And yet the secret here is in the sauces, which are house-made. That includes teriyaki/garlic pepper and garlic Parm in addition to lemon pepper BBQ and an incendiary hot sauce that's like Frank's way funner cousin. It might just be among the best in Mississippi. And Mississippi isn’t exactly sleeping on the hot sauce game, either.


Gobble STOP Smokehouse

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Creve Coeur

All too often poultry is the forgotten stepchild of the BBQ menu, but if you did a good job learning your animal sounds as a child you probably guessed that isn't the case at Gobble STOP Smokehouse. OK, fine, "gobble" is turkey and "cluck" is chicken, but whatever. Point is this place really does right by birds. Owner DeMarco Howard doesn’t even offer pork at his strip-mall shop outside St. Louis. What he DOES offer is some seriously addictive chicken wings among many other fine poultry options, dry-rubbed before a date with some smoldering hickory wood that leaves them with the kind of smoky juiciness that'll make you glad you have those slices of bread to make sure nothing's left behind.


Desperado Sports Tavern

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While this old-school Missoula spot sort of resembles a log cabin from the outside, the interior is jam-packed with 32 HD TVs, making it the perfect spot to post up and watch the game… every game. And the best fuel for your fanaticism is, of course, the self-proclaimed King of Wings' specialty. Grab a cold beer and a pile of the meaty, crispy-skinned Buffalo-style wings that earned this bar the best-wings-in-town crown several years running. Just keep in mind when ordering that Despo's takes the "hot" part of hot wings pretty seriously, so you shouldn't be that ashamed if you play it safe with the Sissy Sauce… We hear the Tavern is totally a no-judgment zone. Sissy.



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While the phrase "char-buffed" might sound like the name of tanning salon for overly muscular bros, it's actually the technique used to cook the best chicken wings in Nebraska. At West Omaha's Oscar's, the kitchen fries each wing, dips it in sauce, and grills it until, well, it develops a nice char. It's all in the name, ya know? And if you like your wings extra saucy to the point where you have no choice but to use your shirt as a napkin, ask for them double-dipped. The wings will get another sauce bath after a stint on the grill. And if you really like to live life on the spicy-and-saucy edge, get your order made with Oscar's Kujo sauce, which is just a fancy way of saying "really insanely hot" and has nothing to do with early Stephen King cocaine allegories.

Wing King


Wing King

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Las Vegas

Lots of places have a ton of different sauce options. So what makes this little joint inside the big-ass Shooters Bar & Grill so special, outside of the fact that it's a handy place to eat away your sorrow from losing your kid's college fund on a bad hand of blackjack? The 80 sauces bathing your classic bar-style wings are outstanding. You can go dry with a brown sugar/bourbon rub or one that approximates Cool Ranch Doritos, spicy with everything from curry to jerk (plus Hell Wings, which have a legendary challenge attached to them), or weirdly delicious with a sauce that tastes pretty damn close to strawberry cheesecake with a kick. Even better? This is also the home of pig wings, which are bone-in ham shanks dropped into a fryer for a nice crispy porksplosion. Get them with apple BBQ. That just makes sense… or at least as much sense as pig wings allows.

New Hampshire


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You might think of New Hampshire as more of a swing state than a wing state, but as New England's only wing butchery, Wing-Itz takes fresh to another level: Every wing is guaranteed to have been cut right off the bird that day. The Portsmouth restaurant has an impressive 30-sauce roster that runs the gamut from sweet to spicy, and no matter how you prefer your hand-breaded wings, we recommend getting them Southern-style for an extra crunch. If you must go boneless, go home… Or  get those suckers in wrap or sub form, both of which offer a delicious bread barrier between your fingers and any sticky sauces. And if you're a fan of the fork, you can even get 'em tossed in a salad… though, let's be real, that kinda defeats the whole point.

New Jersey

The Chicken or the Egg

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Beach Haven

Despite being closed for the entirety of winter (one of the only downfalls of running a business in the beautiful shore town of Beach Haven), New Jersey's overall wing king is certainly The Chicken or the Egg, most commonly referred to simply as "Chegg" by locals. It opened on Memorial Day weekend -- the official launch of summer on the Jersey Shore -- in 1991, and hasn't really slowed down since. It offers up 16 varieties of sauces, though you'll probably want to try the Ludicrous (as in ludicrously hot) or the spicy honey mash-up of the Killer Bee Sting sauce. The wings are way bigger than your standard offerings and juicy as hell. Oh yeah, and it's open 24/7 in the summer. Which is perfect, because wings are a suitable meal at literally any time. They're as much a part of Jersey Shore culture as the dude who punched Snookie.

New Mexico

Cowgirl BBQ

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Santa Fe

With its Tex-Mex aesthetic and checkered tablecloths, the Cowgirl looks like a theme-park version of the kind of bar that Patrick Swayze might be fighting at in the big roadhouse in the sky (RIP, good sir). But the Southern-style BBQ joint proves you don’t have to be Texan to do everything bigger. Case in point, the honkin' wings, which contain a light smoke, crispy skin, and a hell of a lot of heat, even if you get the straight-up house style. You can also go jerk, but come on. Cowgirl up and go with the Wings of Fire, which are tossed in a fiery habanero-based salsa diablo that might be manageable for the weak of heart(burn) were they not so friggin' big. Lucky for you, it also has great margaritas, and you can catch some live country music as you recover. Hell, that's what Dalton would do. Remember: Pain don't hurt.

Anchor Bar | Flickr/Yuri Long

New York

Anchor Bar

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Oh, you want wings? Well there's not really a better place to go in New York State -- or the entire world, for that matter -- than the Buffalo restaurant where wings as most bars know them were invented. Yes, this is ground zero. It goes like this: On March 4, 1964, Dominic Bellissimo was tending bar at Anchor, his family's restaurant. When a few of his friends stumbled in after a night of libations demanding something to sate their drunched-up appetites, Dominic's doting mother Teressa fried up the wings of a chicken (normally used for stock), then covered them in an impromptu, incredibly hot sauce, and served them up… to rave reviews (obviously). Thus, the first late-night wing moment happened -- and from there, Teressa's creation spread to bars across the nation. Luckily for us in the 21st century, you can still count on an otherworldly spread of wings at Anchor Bar. It even continues to use Teressa's secret sauce, alongside seven new iterations. Sometimes "first" isn't necessarily the best. This is not one of those times.

North Carolina

Seoul Food Meat Co.

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Despite being open just under a year, Seoul Food Meat Co. has become Charlotte's go-to spot for wings. And they are a refreshing -- if not incredibly hot -- break from the traditional trappings of wing joints, with Southern BBQ and Korean traditions buddying up. The wings are double-fried with a fine, succulent crust that falls apart (in a good way) as soon as you bite into it. These suckers will melt in your mouth. There are only two flavors here: soy garlic and spicy BBQ. Get a split order of the enormous, crispy suckers. Just know that those Korean spices mixed with BBQ flavors are as hot as they are delicious. And they're pretty damn delicious.

North Dakota

Sickies Garage

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Motorcycle-themed Sickies also serves up the best damn burger in NoDak, so we were a little hesitant to also bequeath upon the joint (which, at 50 taps, is also a formidable beer bar) the honor of the Roughrider State's best wings. Actually, no we weren't. Because these suckers are delicious and infinitely customizable. They're traditional pub-style wings at their core, but it's what you do with them that matters. Rubs range from mango habanero to Sriracha, while things really get amped up in the sauces, which include boozy variations like Jameson and Fireball and the ghost pepper-spiked Hells Fury. Go with that one and you're gonna be pretty stoked about that big-ass beer list.


Fat Head's Brewery

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Fat Head's is one of the best breweries in Ohio (and now Oregon and Pennsylvania), and the joint really makes good on its name, offering gigantic sandwiches to pair with Hop JuJu that would make even the most ardent CrossFit trainer grow jowls. Carrying on with that unpleasant joke, the wings, too, seem cut from a hyper-steroidal chicken with a serious addiction to the gym. They're big, is what we're saying. And smoked. And tossed in a special salty/spicy dry rub before getting tossed in sauce. We recommend the tangy/fun-to-say bumble berry, though you'd be a dumbass to not get at least one in garlic Parm. The price point is a little deceptive, too. At $6 for three, it sounds a little expensive. Then you pull a muscle lifting the plate, and those concerns will be gone. Again, they're big is what we're saying.


Wing Supreme

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Oklahoma City

Established in the nation's capital, Wing Supreme eventually made the move from DC to OKC, and took its secret blend of 11 spices with it. The restaurant's wing savants don't miss any opportunity to add flavor throughout the preparation process, and take an inside-out approach, frying the flavor into the wing itself rather than just slapping some sauce on afterwards. There are 16 sauce options, among them the standout Cajun and Honey Love. Regardless of what you get, they’ll be crisp and piping-hot. Whether you have the willpower to wait for them to cool, however, is between you and the burn ward.

Pok Pok | Cole Saladino/Thrillist


Pok Pok

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Chef Andy Ricker helped put PDX on the food map by introducing the masses to Northern Thai food. He toured Thailand with Bourdain, and even starred in his own documentary. But most importantly, he unleashed upon America Ike's Fish Sauce Wings. Prepped using a recipe from a Vietnamese street vendor, they laid the foundation for Pok Pok's expansion to New York and LA and even led the chef to open a wings-only outpost in Portland. They're basically meat candy. Giant, full-wing meat candy. After marinating in fish sauce and sugar, these Vietnamese wings get a dose of garlic after the fry, coating the crispy, caramelized skin with an explosion of flavor unlike anything you've ever had. Get them with a frozen jelly beer or Pok Pok's signature tamarind whiskey sour, and don't plan on sharing with the rest of the table.



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This Philadelphia pub might share a name with Sherlock Holmes' arch-nemesis (asshole!), but trust us, this establishment is way more a friend than a foe. This classic Irish drinking hole knows how to pour a pint of Guinness and make some of the goddamn tastiest wings in America. Moriarty's epitomizes less is more and only has one seriously unfussy wing option on the menu. The chicken is deep-fried and tossed in a tangy sauce made with plenty of Frank's which generously coats the enormous Buffalo-style beauts. Boom. Simple perfection. It might sound straightforward, but trust us, the reason why Moriarty's keeps winning awards for its wings comes down to more than just the luck of the Irish. Also, can we talk about that Sherlock finale???

Rhode Island

Boneheads Wing Bar

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West Warwick

A Kickstarter success story, Boneheads was started by four friends with zero real restaurant experience who honed the original recipes in their own homes on NFL Sundays. Fast-forward a few years, and the award-winning restaurant now pumps out 1 ton of extra-crispy wings every week and boasts 56 wet sauces and 25 dry rubs -- plus unique quarterly releases -- in both conventional flavors and more unusual options (peanut butter/Fluff, for instance). The restaurant's rock 'n' roll theme is not only reflected in the decor -- which features autographed memorabilia, concert posters, and famous guitar signs -- but on the menu, where each sauce is cleverly named for a song. For a cranberry-habanero kick, try Zombie; Pump Up the Jam with the PB&J flavor; or opt for a bestseller like the maple-bacon magic that is Breakfast at Tiffany’s, which tastes like the most important meal of the day slapped onto a wing. Or maybe just hit shuffle on your iPod and order accordingly.

South Carolina

Carolina Wings & Ribhouse

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With its five locations, you don't have to travel too far across the state to find one of these outposts, which is good news, as the restaurant's wings have been voted the best in multiple cities. Now for the method to the delicious madness: Both the certified jumbo and the bite-sized boneless wings start off in the fryer before being transferred to the pan, where they're sautéed in one of 24 sauces. These range from the pleasantly mild teriyaki to the significantly hotter Fire Island and all the way up to the oh-my-God-why-would-you-do-this-to-yourself-Greg?!?! Beyond Blistering, which -- at 600,000 Scoville units -- is rated a Weeknd-esque "I can't feel my face!!" on the Carolina Wings heat scale. If you'd like to be able to taste anything in the foreseeable future, maybe pass on the that one.

South Dakota

Steerfish Steak & Smoke

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The Fish is a weird and wonderful town, one where cowboy culture meets college town and that's annually overrun with hundreds of thousands of bikers spilling over from Sturgis. All will find something to love at the this dining hall-style steakhouse, which also happens to enjoy having three-ways with chicken wings. Wait, that sounded bad. What we mean is the wings (bone-in or boneless… never do the latter) are first hickory-smoked, then fried, then sautĂ©ed with sauces like Thai chili or chipotle bacon. That means you're basically getting all three classic wing preps, and at a place where you can pair them with a locally sourced steak or chicken-fried bacon. For real. We weren’t joking when we called SoDak underrated as hell.

Hattie B's Hot Chicken | Joseph Woodley


Hattie B's Hot Chicken

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When you visit Nashville, you go to Prince's or Hattie B's or, these days, even fancier spots like Acme, and you get some type of hot chicken -- that spicy dry-rubbed, battered, and deep-fried poultry that is as synonymous with Music City as cowboy hats and sweltering humidity. But once you've gotten that basic fried bird, move on to Hattie B's platters of mouth-tingling whole wings. After they come out of the deep fryer, the wings bathe in a mixture of oil and a paprika-cayenne-spice explosion. The result? The flavors soak deep into the crispy bird. Order 'em Damn Hot with blue cheese and let your tongue dance with as much of that heat and flavor as you can handle.


The Tavern

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The building housing The Tavern turned 100 last year, and the restaurant's sign still proudly advertises air conditioning -- a former luxury that no doubt drew a huge, sweaty crowd during sweltering Austin summers. Now AC is an expectation, but sweaty, hungry Austinites still head in droves to the legendary Downtown bar for daily drink specials, TVs, trivia, and, of course, the unique wings. As The Tavern isn't a wing joint by definition, it doesn't serve standard-issue chicken dredged in your choice of 400 weird flavors. Instead, The Tavern has a singular -- wingular? -- focus that's manifested itself in the "Amazing White Wings" which are wrapped in bacon and jalapeños and covered in house-made hot sauce (there are also traditional Buffalo wings tossed in that sauce, but who are you kidding?). Whether you have to fight the Downtown lunch crowd by day or dodge a whole kickball team's worth of 20-somethings in neon T-shirts by night, these wings are definitely worth it. And, OK, the AC is still pretty nice.

Courtesy of The Trolley Wing Company


Trolley Wing Company

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Salt Lake City

In 1999, long before the food truck craze swept the country, the Trolley Wing Company was dippin' and flippin' wings from an old converted trolley car in Salt Lake City. In the 18 years since, it's graduated to a more standard brick-and-mortar setup, but the cooking method -- a unique baked-not-fried technique perfected in the original location -- remains the same. The restaurant's wings are available in bone-in, boneless, veggie, and vegan variations, in four levels of heat, and can be bathed in any combo of 18 available sauces, among them raspberry habanero and the best-selling Jamaican honey garlic. That makes for 4,194,304 possible flavor combinations, and with a new sauce flavor rotating in temporarily each month – previous faves included jalapeño and bourbon peach -- there’s no chance your taste buds will ever get bored.


Wicked Wings

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Contrary to popular belief, not everything you eat in Vermont involves maple syrup. Exhibit A: these chicken wings, which are available in 21 rubs and sauces. While both the hand-breaded boneless chicken bites and chicken tenders share space on the menu, the Essex eatery's house specialty is, of course, the Wicked Wings, for which the chicken is first fried, seasoned, and sauced, and then finished over an open flame. No matter what poultry product you pick, if you opt for "Melt Your Face!" -- the hottest on the five-level heat spectrum -- do yourself a favor and order a hand-spun milkshake on the side. We're pretty sure that levels everything out.


Mama J's

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Not only is Mama J's the best spot to snag wings in the Old Dominion state, it's one of the best soul food restaurants in the entire country. J's has been a force in the Richmond food scene since it opened in 2009, when Mama J (Velma Johnson, a born-and-bred Richmond resident) and her eldest son Lester made their long-held desire to open up a soul food joint in the city's historic Jackson Ward neighborhood a spicy-hot reality. And much of their success stems from the restaurant's consistent ability to deliver quality "chicken wingettes" deep-fried to perfection. There aren't a ton of flavors to choose from (two, actually: plain or sauced), but that's part of the beauty here. Above all, they nail that crispy, savory crunch every chicken wing skin needs. Mama J, we could kiss you. But we won't. That would be rude. 



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You gotta love a lauded chef who sticks with what he loves. Prolific James Beard winner (and actual beard wearer) Tom Douglas clearly loves wings, as the hot pepper ones at his famed Palace Kitchen have long been considered Seattle's best. But he's topped them at his TanakaSan restaurant, where the Asian-inspired wings come in two flavors (salty caramel, serrano & garlic; and smoked chili with kimchee ketchup) and are fried about the same number of times you actually watched Wings: twice. Come on. You thought we were gonna get through this whole list without a shout-out to Steven Weber's glory days?

Kochix | Brian Oh/Thrillist

Washington, DC


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Washington, DC

DC wing devotees rightly hail their outpost of Korean import Bonchon for its excellent Korean-style wings, but those in the know have come to appreciate the attention-demanding chicken achievements coming out of this less flashy Shaw corner joint. You can opt for wings, drums, or a combo -- a flexibility that's much appreciated given the impressive meat quotient found here. But no matter which route you go, you're getting a perfectly fried exterior rich with nooks and crannies for collecting more sauce -- the hot honey spicy is the favorite among the trio available, having been accused unironically of possibly containing narcotics.

West Virginia

Clutch Wing Shop

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Clutch does a different wing special every week, supplementing its normal offerings with outside-the-basket wing flavors like Sriracha sweet chili Buffalo, honey Cholula, and the incendiary Ghost Riders sauced with those spooky peppers and topped with bacon (no Nic Cage, alas). This illustrates the main selling point of this Morgantown chicken joint: creative and rotating flavor combinations spicing up wings of the bone-in, boneless, and even tofu variety. And as Clutch is a delivery and takeout spot, it's the perfect option for those who prefer to enjoy their wings the way nature intended: on the couch, sans pants.


Points East Pub

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The former owner of this pub describes its wings as an accident -- a successful cooking style discovered when leftover Hooters wings were reheated on a gas grill one spring break. (Note: This is the only good accident in spring break history.) Fast-forward a few decades, and this unique method is what earned Points East's wings bragging rights as Milwaukee's best signature bar food. The 2,200lb of wings cooked up each week make it to your plate courtesy of a three-part process: They're first deep-fried, then dipped in the pub's hand-mixed signature spicy BBQ sauce, (the recipe for which hasn't changed in 22 years), and then finally slow-grilled to fully develop the flavor as the sauce permeates the meat. It's worth warning that wait times can be long (slow-grilled is not just a clever name), but given the impressive craft beer selection at Points East, we imagine you'll be able to entertain yourself. And if you can't, hey, maybe just reheat some Hooters leftovers.



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Namesake Elmer Lovejoy was like Wyoming's Henry Ford, having worked tirelessly to make the first horseless carriage west of the Mississippi and the garage-door opener. But more importantly, unlike overrated Henry Ford, his namesake old-timey saloon makes perhaps the best damn no-frills wings in cattle country. Which is to say, get a steak (and a garage). But before that, get these immaculate wings, a paragon of no-frills bar food tossed preferably in sweet/spicy sauce, though the Thai chili version is also a thing of beauty. On Tuesdays they come by the bucket for $6 alongside the other special, a gravy-soaked poutine. Between the Canadian fries and the Thai chili, it's as international as you're gonna get in Wyoming on a weekday.

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1. Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Que 1715 6th Avenue SE, Decatur, AL 35601

This legendary Decatur barbecue restaurant dates back to 1925, when Big Bob Gibson (he was 6'4") started cooking meats from a hand-dug pit in his backyard and serving it from a make-shift oak plank table. The family-run business -- currently helmed by the four generation -- has been on the slow-cooked fast-track ever since, forming a competitive cooking team and winning 10 world championships along the way. You're here for a few things: smoked chicken in white sauce, hickory-smoked pulled pork and beef brisket, St. Louis spare ribs, and crispy chicken wings tossed in your choice of mild or spicy barbecue sauce.

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2. Winky's Wings 9191 Old Seward Hwy, Anchorage, AK 99515

Anchorage isn't exactly known for its chicken wings, but Winky’s more than fills that greasy gap, plus a hearty roster of cheesesteaks, gyros, and Cajun food. The wings are pure comfort in their familiarity, tossed in sauces like garlic Parmesan, teriyaki, lemon pepper, and Buffalo. Heat grades range from an everyman's mild to tongue-scorching Inferno, which is a totally legitimate way to warm up during a brutal Alaskan winter.

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3. Teakwoods Tavern & Grill 151 E Williams Field Rd, Gilbert, AZ 85295

Sports bars like Teakwoods are usually loud thanks to rowdy fans, but here, the peanut shells littering the floors make all the noise. The crunch, crunch, crunch of the shells certainly doesn't distract guests from the many flat-screen TVs, though. The casual neighborhood bar serves a menu full of sports-bar standards like burgers, mozzarella sticks, and more than a dozen wing options. While there are some eclectic flavor combos (example: cactus wings made with a prickly pear sauce), you're here for the Honey Hots, deep-fried and coated in a sticky, sweet honey sauce that's loaded with enough heat to warrant a cautionary note on the menu.

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4. The Rail 218 S 1st St, Rogers, AR 72756

The Rail is easy to spot in Downtown Rogers thanks to sidewalk signs that tout quippy sayings like "In Crust We Trust," which quite frankly, we couldn't agree with more. The pizzeria is known for its crispy, puffy crusts and topping combos with names like The Cheeseburger, Thai Peanut, and The Dumpster. That last one might sound disgusting, but who can say no to pepperoni, bacon, and hamburger pieces all on top of a pizza? A monster, that's who. The meaty Louisiana hot sauce wings here make for a killer appetizer and pair perfectly with The Rail's extensive list of craft beer, which includes Ozark, of course.

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5. San Tung 1031 Irving St, San Francisco, CA 94122

The chicken wings at Inner Sunset's San Tung are regularly cited as San Francisco's best. They're battered, fried, and tossed in a signature sweet-and-spicy peppery glaze, but the move here is to order them dry, before they're doused in sauce. The crunchy, golden brown exterior gives way to a tender meat interior seasoned with ginger and garlic. Order a plate or two for the table and don't ignore the rest of the menu, which features comforting Chinese dishes like shrimp & leek dumplings, black bean sauce noodles, and sautéed garlic string beans.

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6. Cho77 42 S Broadway, Denver, CO 80209

Chef Lon Symensma's ChoLon is a mainstay on Denver's fine dining scene even though one of its original -- and most popular -- dishes is decidedly not elegant. The no-utensils-required Southeast Asian chicken wings didn't last too long at ChoLon, but luckily, they're available at Cho77, Lon's casual follow-up restaurant. The complementary flavors of Thai basil, ginger, and chile will transport you far away from the Mile High City. Mix mains like coconut chicken curry and tom yum noodle soup with street food-inspired share plates like red curry fritters and of course, confit wings tossed in caramel fish sauce.

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7. J. Timothy's Taverne 143 New Britain Ave, Plainville, CT 06062

J. Timothy's is dirt. And we mean that in a good way. It's all about the Dirt Wings here, which are fried, sauced, then fried again to yield a dark, super-crisp shell. Aside from wings, you'll find comforting pub entrees like shepherd's pie, short rib grilled cheese sandwiches, and fried mozzarella triangles, plus some local brews. Timothy's sits in a rustic, wood-laden building that was built in 1789, meaning it's old as dirt, too.

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8. 2 Fat Guys 701 Ace Memorial Dr, Hockessin, DE 19707

Does the name "2 Fat Guys" not strike true American patriotism into your heart? Started by -- you guessed it -- two self-proclaimed fat guys who firmly believe you should "never trust a skinny chef," this Hockessin joint is a good ol' fashioned family restaurant serving up hearty burgers and wings. Considering 2 Fat Guys planted its roots in popular Wings To Go territory, it's impressive that it's managed to stand out, but not all that surprising when you discover it offers sauces including the Triple Threat (bourbon BBQ, poached pear, and mild) and the PB&J (peanut butter, grape jelly, and BBQ). As for those burgers, you're in for hefty creations like The State Fair with apple-bourbon BBQ pork, Cheddar, bacon, and onion rings. The menu states that everyone who orders it "goes home a winner." Oh, and bloated.

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9. Sports Grill 1559 Sunset Dr, Miami , FL 33173

You can't claim to be a 305 local until you've devoured the wings at Sports Grill, which is... a sports grill. The wings here are flame-grilled before they're fried; and their savory, charred flavor reigns supreme in the South Florida wing scene. You're basically required to order them with the sweet and spicy Dale sauce, an addictive flavor combination of chilis and barbecue sauce named after a longtime Sports Grill regular, whose name is... Dale. We're not sure if Dale has tried any of the burgers, wraps, or fried appetizers on the menu, but it's safe to say they pair well with the wings and domestic craft brews.

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10. JR Crickets 129 North Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30308

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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11. Hale Vietnam 1140 12th Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816

Tucked off the beaten path, this white stucco Vietnamese eatery is an unassuming local favorite for heaping bowls of pho. Marinated brisket, bone marrow, and flank steak simmer overnight into broth, to which chunks of tender meat, sautéed veggies, and rice noodles are added. Pair your bowl of pho with an order of Vietnamese chicken wings, which are deboned, stuffed with ground pork, carrots, onions, and long-grain rice, then breaded and deep-fried. Tsingtao and Singha are available to pair with your wonderfully salty meal, as are local beers like Kona Longboard.

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12. Barbacoa 276 W Bobwhite Ct., Boise, ID 83706

Part restaurant and part whimsical art gallery, this Boise eatery is as theatrical in its food presentation as it is in décor. Table-side, servers mash fresh avocado with onions, tomatoes and cilantro before serving house tortilla chips, soups and bisques are poured over rice cakes and steamers while hungry patrons watch, and rustic paella pans corner each of the dining room's dark-wooded tables. The place is somewhat reminiscent of a movie set with a hand-blown antler-like chandelier that extends its arms across the entirety of the ceiling, walls plastered with rows of framed portraits, and delicate sets of bone-handled Spanish silverware. With a specialty in open-fire grilling, the kitchen offers things like 31-day dry-aged certified Angus beef steaks, and four-cheese Serrano ham macaroni, while sides like the seven-herb wood-grilled corn on the cob are equally hard to forget.

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13. Crisp 2940 N Broadway, Chicago, IL 60657

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.

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14. Ale Emporium 8617 Allisonville Rd, Indianapolis, IN 46250

The great Ale Emporium is a paradise for beer-fanatics, with over 200 micro- and macro-brews on tap, and plenty of bottled iterations as well. And while the place is renowned for its remarkable beer selection, the chef's famous wings -- lightly battered, marinated in your choice of buffalo, sweet BBQ or Spicy Teriyaki rub, and deep fried to perfection -- have garnered nearly as much acclaim. Beyond the wings, the menu offers everything from personal pizzas and grilled paninis, to burgers and cherry-topped hot fudge sundaes. Amidst a battery of large-scale chains and dingy sports bars, the ever-wonderful warm wooded Ale Emporium supplies Castleton locals with a space for live music, televised sporting events, craft beers, and a full roster of tasty, high-quality pub fare.

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15. Jimmy Jack's Rib Shack 1940 Lower Muscatine Rd, Iowa City, IA 52240

After taking many a trip to Kansas City for the quality 'cue, childhood friends Jimmy Adrian and Jack Piper decided to get certified as Kansas City Barbecue Society Judges, and were so inspired that they started making their own sauces and smoking ribs. Their passion eventually culminated in a casual sit-down joint, Jimmy Jack’s, which now has the best BBQ in all of Iowa. You'll want to get your hands on the Supreme sandwich, which is packed with pork, smoked turkey, and brisket, and throw a couple slices of honey butter cornbread on the side.

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16. Hot Basil Thai Cuisine 7528 W 119th St, Overland Park, KS 66213

You'd think the best chicken wings in the state of Kansas would come from one of the many famed barbecue restaurants, mostly because that's really the only thing Kansas has going for it. But you'd be wrong. Hot Basil Thai Cuisine in Overland Park is a small, unassuming storefront that you'd otherwise probably walk by without skipping a beat. Don't. And you probably wouldn't think to order the wings given the white tablecloth-dressed tables. Do. They're in high demand among the locals, so if you can get a seat, don't even think twice before ordering at least one plate of the crispy garlic- Thai basil- Sriracha-soaked wings.

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17. MilkWood 316 W Main St, Louisville, KY 40202

MilkWood, Downtown’s Actors Theater restaurant, is Top Chef alum Edward Lee's ode to Southern fare and the Asian spice pantry in a flavor-forward dining experience. With hybrid ingredients like gochujang butter and green apple-ginger zest, and dishes like Korean Griddle Buns, Mushroom and Grits, Collards and Kimchi, and Togarashi Cheesecake, the cuisine is elegant, elevated, and rooted in culture. The down-home favorites have prevalent Asian influence, but neither is compromised in their marriage. To reiterate the importance of flavor to guests, the cocktail menu is laid out by beverage type, and how it will play on the palate -- wine, beer, and cocktails alike.

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18. Kin 4600 Washington Ave, New Orleans, LA 70125

In the hands of NOLA native Chef Hieu Than (who trained in both New York under Tom Colicchio and in New Orleans under Sue Zemanick, so...pedigree) Kin brands itself as “New American,” although its menu, particularly its stellar ramen, makes it seem slightly more eclectic. There are options for everyone, from oxtail ramen to vegan versions, and there's an ever-changing list of small plates made with unique ingredients. Kin doesn't take reservations, so you may have to wait a bit: the space is no bigger than a phone booth.

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19. Samuel's Bar and Grill 1160 Forest Ave, Portland, ME 04103

Established in 1996, this local Maine favorite is typically populated with a dedicated crowd of regulars. In spite of Portland's ever-expanding dining scene, Samuel's remains devoted to maintaining its old school commitment to good service and quality American eats, offering a menu that consists primarily of things like thick-cut burgers, personal pizzas, and most importantly, the chef's award-wining chicken wings. Served in a basic buffalo sauce, or your choice of either Thai Sweet chili or BBQ glaze, the high-piled white meat favorite has garnered some serious acclaim for this austere, unpretentious eatery.

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20. Kisling's Tavern 2100 Fleet St, Baltimore, MD 21231

This wood-paneled Baltimore hideaway has dartboards, patio seating, daily happy hour specials, and most importantly, plenty of award-winning chicken wings. The menu consists mainly of classic Maryland pub fare, from regionally-appropriate crab cakes to bacon-cheddar topped potato skins, but the wings, served in a variety of 14 different sauces and glazes (everything from Bourbon-style BBQ to Mango Habanero) are inarguably the kitchen's stand-out fixing. But with a whiskey-forward house cocktail roster, a variety of local beers on tap, and plenty of televisions for big game days, it's not hard to find a reason to head to Kisling's.

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21. Buff's Pub 317 Washington St, Newton, MA 02482

West Newton's Buff Pub looks just like any pub -- with dark wood, televisions set to Boston sports games, and a row of booths and some tables. But the buffalo head mounted on the wall is an indication that you shouldn't think about passing on the Buffalo wings. They're so coveted because they're so traditional. Squeeze through the crowd of locals and BC students to snag a table, and go classic Frank's RedHot OR the Honey Hot, which is the former sweetened by a drizzle of honey. Stop yourself from drinking a side of the sauce, or don't.

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22. Sweetwater Tavern 400 E Congress St, Detroit, MI 48226

It’s a good thing that Sweetwater Tavern is located within walking distance of must-visit Detroit hotspots like the Renaissance Center, Hart Plaza, Ford Field, and Comerica Park because after a meal here, you’re going to want to get your steps in. Plain and simple, the Sweetwater specialty is wings, which are delivered fresh each morning and marinated in herbs and spices for 24 hours. But Sweetwater is proud of every item it serves, meaning you shouldn’t miss out on dishes like potato skins packed with bacon and cheese, pan-fried pond catfish, jumbo fried shrimp, and the Sweetwater Burger served with bacon, Swiss, and “Sweet Sauce.” Head here for lunch, dinner, or after a nearby event for some late-night munchies.

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23. Monte Carlo Restaurant 219 3rd Ave N, Minneapolis, MN 55401

Established in 1906, this endearingly vintage steakhouse has tin ceilings, vinyl booths, and walls clad in sheets of floral wallpaper. And while the menu offers an impressive variety of steak options (filet mignon, NY strip, whiskey peppercorn filet...), the stand out dish at this age-old eatery is not one of the steak entrées, but rather, the famed chicken wings. The popular signature chicken is served in a china bowl layered with sizable flanks of tender white meat, each of which is marinated in honey, peppercorn and peanut-soy-ginger sauce, deep fried, and then coated with the chef's secret 18-spice mix (he admits to a bit of cinnamon, cumin and oregano, but the remainder of the blend is a mystery).

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24. American Wings & Cafe 3100 Hardy St, Hattiesburg, MS 39401

American Wings & Cafe is clearly confident in its wings, or it probably wouldn’t be called American Wings & Cafe. As it should be -- the wings reign supreme not only on the restaurant’s hodgepodge menu (cheesesteaks, shrimp tempura, gyros, etc.), but in the state of Mississippi as a whole. The secret to the Hattiesburg counter-serve’s wing success lies in its homemade sauces -- teriyaki-garlic pepper, garlic Parmesan, lemon-pepper barbecue, and a house hot sauce which, let’s face it, Mississippi’s got the hot sauce situation on lock. Wings are served with fries, celery, and maybe some ranch if you want, but you definitely don’t need it… this from someone who drinks ranch dressing for breakfast.

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25. Gobble Stop Smokehouse 1227 Castillons Arcade Plz, Creve Coeur, MO 63141

There are three things the general population associates with Missouri: the Arch, Anheuser-Busch, and barbecue. St. Louis is home to some of the country's best barbecue, primarily the ribs (does the phrase St. Louis Style Ribs look familiar?), which are primarily pork. Barbecue is synonymous with pork, but at Gobble Stop Smokehouse in Creve Coeur, you will find no swine. What you will find, however, are the best chicken wings in the state, and turkey ribs that are demanding of your attention. Gobble Stop has three sauces on offer, but you shouldn't have to choose. Get all three, and welcome to Middle America.

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26. Desperado Sports Tavern 3101 S Russell St, Missoula, MT 59801

Listen, Montana, we know about you and your love for Rocky Mountain Oysters, and we respect you for it. We also respect you for a little place called Desperado Sports Tavern and its damn good chicken wings with Sissy Sauce (which should probably be called “Don’t Be a Sissy and Eat This Sauce” because it’s capable of igniting mouth fires). Every Missoula local knows those wings we’re talking about, and probably most Montanans in general. Despo is nothing more than a normal sports bar with normal sports bar food and normal sports bar beers, but those Buffalo-style hot-like-hell wings have been crowned the best in town for years. Remember, hot wings go best with cold beers, and thank you for not being a bunch of culinary sissies.

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27. Oscar's Pizza & Sports Grille 17330 Lakeside Hills Plz, Omaha, NE 68130

Oscar’s Pizza and Sports Grille is more than just pizza, sports, and a grill. Sure, you may know it because of the Big “O” Pizza (hamburger, sausage, pepperoni, onions, green pepper, house tomato sauce, Mozzarella, and Romano… this is the Midwest, after all) or because of its many dozens of TVs and projectors, but you should also know that in Omaha, the wings don’t get better than the crispy-fried, “char-buffed” chicken wings at Oscar’s. This is how they’re done: each wing is fried, sauced, and then grilled for that smoky, charred finish. But order like the locals do, not 10, not 30, but 50 wings (I repeat, this is the Midwest, after all) and get them double dipped -- one last quick dip in the sauce post-grill for the sauciest, crispiest, smokiest wings in all of West Omaha. You’re welcome.

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28. Wing King at Shooters Bar & Grill 4465 E Sahara Ave located inside Shooters Bar & Grill, Las Vegas, NV 89104

Used to buying wings by the piece? At Wing King inside of Shooters Bar & Grill, chicken wings are sold by the pound, so get ready to put some on. You can go as low as a 1lb (about seven pieces), but the menu runs all the way up to 70lb -- yee-haw! Used to buying wings made of chicken? At Wing King they also sell "pig wings," which are like the more familiar chicken cousin but made with bone-in ham shank. Throw in a lineup of burgers and meat-heavy pizzas, and you've got all the bar food you need. Whether you cluck or squeal, there's something for you here.

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29. Wing-Itz 2100 Lafayette Rd, Portsmouth, NH 03801

You'll find chicken wings at almost any corner pub, but do they butcher their own birds? Wing Itz does. The Pourtsmouth fast-casual restaurant is slinging wings that are a far cry from the frozen things you'll get at the neighborhood dive. A list of sauces runs 30 flavors deep, from sweet to spicy. All the wings are hand-breaded, but if you order them Southern-style they come out extra crisp. And do grab a side: Maine potatoes are used to make crispy fries (the friend your chicken wings like even better than celery).

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30. The Chicken or the Egg 207 N Bay Ave, Beach Haven, NJ 08008

What came first, the chicken or the egg? It doesn't really matter, because at The Chicken or The Egg, you're eating both. If you visit once, try the specialty chicken wings, breaded or naked -- they're a serious contender for best in the state. 16 sauces, from tame Teriyaki to ludicrously spicy Ludicrous sauce, color the experience. If you come again, try the impressive omelet menu. Can't decide? A Buffalo Chicken Omelet walks the line between the chicken and the egg (wink).

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31. Cowgirl Grill 319 S Guadalupe St, Santa Fe, NM 87501

Cowgirl BBQ has lassoed the heart of Santa Fe eaters, serving up heavy and heaping American/Tex-Mex plates and some of the best wings in the state. The setting is ripped right out of a rodeo daydream, with checkered tablecloths, old-time rodeo posters, and black-and-white photos of yesteryear's cowgirls. Nightly live entertainment from local bands keep the mood up and the boots stompin'.

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32. Anchor Bar 1047 Main St, Buffalo, NY 14209

The origin of a dish as ubiquitous as the Buffalo chicken wing can't seriously be pegged down to one spot, right? Wrong. Anchor Bar is the Buffalo wing spring in Buffalo, New York. Way back in 1964, the bartender's mother fried up some hot sauce-drenched wings (which she had laying around to make chicken stock) for his drunk friends. Little did she know she had birthed a legendary bar bite. The wings are THE reason to visit, but not the only one: a buzzy atmosphere keeps things fun in a room filled with motorcycle paraphernalia, wall-mounted license plates, and a selection of kick-ass sauces you can buy on your way out.

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33. Seoulfood Meat Co 1400 S Church St, Charlotte, NC 28203

While the name is a little deceiving, this barbecue joint is admittedly more "soul" than Seoul. Rather than Korean fare, the Charlotte eatery offers a menu built of classic Southern BBQ delicacies from beef ribs and mashed potatoes, to crispy pork belly and the chef's famous chicken wings. The staple comfort food dishes, however, are prepared with just a trace of Korean flavor, offering a little nuance to the food rosters found in typical Southern or Asian restaurants -- things like kimchi cole slaw, ramen mac & cheese, and of course, the notorious wings, double-fried in a Korean house-sweet-chili sauce. Additionally, the airy industrial space, lined with exposed pipes, white bricks, and icon-cast seating, features a fully-stocked bar, where Asian craft beers are served on tap along with a full menu of custom cocktails.

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34. Sickies Garage Burgers & Brews 3431 Fiechtner Dr S, Fargo, ND 58103

People just love those Sickies Garage burgers, and with good reason. They're award winning, not to mention there are 50 of them… and also 50 beers, you do the math. But I’d be remiss not to mention thee hidden gem of Fargo’s beloved burger mini-chain: the chicken wings. There may not be 50 sauces, styles, or dry rubs to choose from, but there are enough to make every wing trip unique, and that’s really special. Other than the Wrench Wings (Sickie’s “wings on steroids,” AKA fried chicken drumsticks doused in your saucy selection), you can get hand-breaded boneless or traditional wings with your choice of rub or sauce or both, coming to a total of about two dozen choices. That’s less reading than 50 burgers, so get the wings because you’re not at a bar to do homework.

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35. Fat Head's Brewery 24581 Lorain Rd, Cleveland, OH 44070

Fathead’s dominates the beer and wings game, and understandably so: over 25 award-winning beers are made on site, including the highly decorated Hop Juju Imperial IPA. If one of the 13 wing varieties doesn’t do it for you (and that’s unlikely), the Parma Sutra burger -- a majestic combination of cheddar, bacon, pierogi (yes, you heard us right), onions, and creamy horseradish sauce -- definitely will. The roomy space has a quintessential American brewery vibe, complete with exposed brick and an entire wall of framed awards, with pool tables and old school bowling machines to boot.

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36. Wing Supreme 3925 N Lincoln Blvd, Oklahoma City, OK 73105

If you’re looking for the true Oklahoma City Thunder, head not to Chesapeake Energy Arena, but to Wing Supreme, creator of the most thunderous, spicy, and all around phenomenal wings in the city. It’s possible you’ll drive right past the joint without even realizing it -- the somewhat stout brown building is just another unassuming structure on North Lincoln. But Wing Supreme should be anything but overlooked with its extensive menu of bone-in and boneless wings, outshined only by its friendly service (who will often throw in a few extra wings just because you’re you). From the 18 tasty flavors, choose favorites like Cajun, honey BBQ, Buffalo lemon pepper, and Old Bay to spice up your wings. Flank them with savory sides like green beans, French fries, mozzarella sticks, or mac and cheese to round out your meal.

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37. Pok Pok 3226 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97202

James Beard Award-winner Andy Ricker's Pok Pok -- the first of a few outposts around the country -- is known for its menu of authentic Thai food. The kitchen hones in on relatively unknown dishes from the North and Northeast of Thailand (don't expect pad Thai here), but a wide range of Southeast Asian flavors and ingredients are represented. Among the roster of family-style noodle dishes, salads, and smoky meats, the chicken wings are a standout. Based on recipe from a Vietnamese street vendor, the wings are marinated in fish sauce and sugar before they're fried and tossed in garlic, resulting in a caramelized finish and a whole lot of flavor.

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38. Moriarty's Pub 1116 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19107

Known for having some of the best (or the best wings in the city, this Irish pub and restaurant serves all the classic bar favorites and plenty of drinks. They have over 30 beers tap, just in case you aren't in the mood of a Guinness. Moriarty's is a great Irish pub that you need to visit when you are in the area.

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39. Boneheads Wing Bar 131 Washington St, West Warwick, RI 02893

It is a great blessing to be presented with so many flavors of sauces and dry rubs for wings that we actually get confused when deciding what to order. Boneheads Wing Bar offers both that divine problem and an even more godly solution: The Boneboard. Akin to the Billboard 100, this nifty wing chart divides the 59 wet sauces and 25 dry rubs into sections of Hot, Sweet, and Remix. The Hot for Teacher slathers on Buffalo sauce, while the Pour Some Sugar on Me combines maple sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon sauce for a sugary treat, and a favorite Remix is the Razzmatazz with raspberry, banana pepper, and Mountain Dew sauce. But, thankfully, the indulgence doesn’t stop at wings -- other dishes include deep-fried corn on the cob and Hi-Hats, a skewer of deep-fried ravioli, lettuce, and tomato.

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40. Carolina Wings & Rib House 105 Northpoint Dr, Lexington, SC 29072

It’s never too early to teach the kids about the art of a good wing -- the slow-cooked, BBQ-dripping, finger-licking properties that constitute a perfectly executed bite of chicken -- and Carolina Wings & Ribhouse knows it. From Teriyaki to Blistering to Mild Honey, the 25 sauce options are superb. But that’s not all -- this Lexington restaurant is a destination for the whole family and has a menu suited for all appetites and palates, meaning dishes like Buffalo shrimp, nachos, quesadillas, and hamburgers, are just as popular and just as tasty.

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41. Steerfish Steak & Smoke , Spearfish, SD

SteerFish in Spearfish might be a mouthful to say, but thankfully you won’t be doing much talking once you’re seated in front of one of the restaurant’s massive plates of wings. Situated in the historic Lown building built in 1893, the space boasts original windows and stone walls, transporting you to an earlier time in South Dakota history and sparking in you a cowboy-sized appetite. Luckily, SteerFish’s menu is chock full of cowboy-sized dishes, like hickory smoked prime rib with Swiss cheese and horseradish sauce, Dakota tenderloin wrapped in bacon, and, of course, hickory wings with both fiery and sweet dipping sauces.

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42. Hattie B's Hot Chicken 112 19th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37203

Hattie B’s is one of Midtown’s best for hot chicken, in sandwich form or otherwise. The Nashville-born sandwich is served with coleslaw, a kosher pickle, and your choice of side... but we highly recommend the pimento mac & cheese. Waiting in line is inevitable here, but on the bright side, the longer you wait, the more time you have to decide which heat level you can handle. Intensities range from Southern (no heat) to Shut the Cluck Up, a fiery spice combo that'll require a side of that $5 gallon of sweet tea.

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43. The Tavern 922 W 12th St, Austin, TX 78703

These days, venues don’t feel the need to let you know if they do (or don’t) have air conditioning. But the world wasn’t always graced with such luxury, and when Austin’s Tavern -- founded in 1933 -- had an air-cooling system installed, it was so important that The Tavern enshrined “Air Conditioned” in the neon sign that welcomes you to this half-timbered, Tudor haunt. Though it’s rumored to have once been a speakeasy and brothel, today The Tavern is -- perhaps less excitingly -- a local favorite sports bar and hangout spot. The menu of bar fare faves includes appetizers, burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, salads, and entrees, and we recommend that you try the “Amazing White Wings,” in which the chicken is wrapped with bacon and jalapenos and tossed in wing sauce, the Longhorn Philly Sandwich with thinly sliced rib-eye on a Tavern hoagie, or the steak tacos.

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44. Trolley Wing Company 2148 S 900 E #5, Salt Lake City, UT 84106

Finally, a wing spot for the meatless! At Trolley Wing Co. in Salt Lake City, wings come in four varieties: bone-in, boneless, veggie, and vegan, which you can dress up (or dress down) as you see fit. Choose a classic flavor like Cajun honey BBQ, honey mustard, garlic, or chipotle, or get wild and create your own with elements of Sriracha, lemon, Parmesan, and smoky ancho. It’s probably been a day or two since your last bout of bar food, so add a couple of sides like mac and cheese bites, hush puppies, and fried cheese curds to your order to diversify.

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45. Wicked Wings 12 Lower Main St, Johnson, VT 05656

It’s common knowledge that New Englanders are the only breed of people who can get away with using the word wicked without sounding like fools (well, most of the time at least). Johnson, Vermont’s Wicked Wings capitalizes on this adage; in fact, many of its menu items are called “wicked,” from wings to chicken tenders to baked potatoes, as they are cooked on an open flame. But chicken comes in all shapes and sizes on the menu: grilled or fried in the California Chicken Sandwich with fresh bacon, melted Swiss, and guacamole on ciabatta, marinated and blackened on the Cajun Wrap, and topped with sautéed onions, peppers, and American cheese with garlic mayo in the Chicken Philly.

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46. Mama Js 415 N 1st St, Richmond, VA 23219

Dining at Mama J's feels something like Sunday night dinner at grandma's (except you have to tip). The family-owned Southern eatery is relaxed and casual, with tin ceilings, warm woods, and a full menu of hefty, contemporary comfort food. The kitchen offers meat-centric entrees like pork chops and fried chicken, all of which are served with fresh-baked cornbread, in addition to lighter fare like soups, sandwiches, and some truly indulgent peach cobbler. The portions are notoriously huge, there are often 40-minute waits just to get in the door, and just like with family dinner, you have to shout in order to be heard over the jovial crowds.

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47. TanakaSan 2121 6th Ave, Seattle, WA 98121

As the sole purveyors of the sake slushy, this local Seattle eatery is serving a creative roster of original Asian-inspired dishes. The space, itself, is clean and simple, with long communal teakwood tables, ornate iron-wrought dividers, and a clamoring open kitchen. The food, on the other hand, is complex and multilayered, with dishes like caramelized coconut beef, sweet-soy-chicken katsu omelettes, and perhaps most importantly, the spot's famous chicken wings -- tossed in Serrano chili, toasted garlic, and caramel, and fried twice for maximum crisp. To complete your sticky poultry feast, the beverage list (in addition to the sake slushies), offers a series of inventive house cocktails, a full catalog of beers on tap, and 10 separate varieties of Japanese whiskey.

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48. Kochix 400 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001

In the D.C. area, K.F.C. more likely stands for Korean Fried Chicken than the Kentucky iteration, and the sticky honey-soy battered wings are fairly ubiquitous. At Kochix, however, the standard, tasty dish is particularly worthy of note. The wings are prepared to perfection -- battered with just the right gentle touch, fried perfectly with tender, buttery white meat at the core, and topped with a balanced combination of Korean spices. Served doused in either a soy-garlic reduction, or a honey-spicy glaze, the extra-saucy brand of poultry-delicacy at this Florida Ave hole-in-the-wall will certainly win you over.

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49. Clutch Wing Shop 708 Beechchurst Ave, Morgantown, WV 26505

As Morgantown's self-proclaimed "wing delivery experts," this West Virginia eatery has a serious reputation when it comes to chicken wings. Served either on the bone or bone-less, the kitchen marinates slabs of local white-meat in one of 27 different house rubs and glazes (ranging from honey-jalapeño and sweet peach to cinnamon-chipotle and PB&J), fries them up, and delivers them in buckets of 50, each of which is lined with black-and-white checkered wax paper. The little standing room-only joint also serves hefty sandwiches, chili bowls, and overflowing orders of loaded-mac&cheese, but the notoriously creative (and tasty) heaps of fried chicken, glittering with sauce, are, well -- pretty clutch.

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50. Points East Pub 1501 N Jackson St, Milwaukee, WI 53202

Maintaining the maxim, "Built on a wing and a prayer," this Milwaukee watering hole boasts an impressive list of craft beers, a whiskey forward cocktail program, and most importantly, plenty of grilled chicken wings. Locally renowned for their popular rendition of the sauce-drenched poultry delicacy, Points East Pub hand-coats each of their wings in a viscous house BBQ sauce, grills them for precisely the right amount of time -- not too tender, not too crispy -- and serves them hot with fresh-cut celery and blue cheese sauce. While the bar offers 15 rotating beer on tap, tasting menus for its veritable whiskey selection from Japanese rye to Canadian bourbon, and a food menu listing plenty of classic bar snacks, you'd be remiss to leave Points East without ordering the notorious wings.

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51. Lovejoy's Bar & Grill 207 S 1st St, Laramie, WY 82070

To really understand Lovejoy’s, you really need to understand its namesake, Elmer Lovejoy. He’s as important to Wyoming’s history as William Penn is to Pennsylvania’s. No he’s not, but he’s still really important -- he invented Wyoming’s first horseless carriage, followed by the first automatic garage door opener years later. His legacy lives on at Lovejoy’s Bar & Grill in Laramie, which also happens to be home to Wyoming’s best chicken wings. The two are unrelated. However, the Zingy Wings (described as “plump chicken drummies,” how could you not want that?), are dipped to order in the sauce of your choice and no matter which way you go, you’ll be as satisfied as the guy who invented the garage door opener -- that is to say, pretty damn satisfied.