Top 10 chicken wings in the Twin Cities

Categories: Top 10

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Joy Summers
Did Eli's Cajun wings make the cut?

Fried food and football go hand in hand. There is nothing like settling in for the big game with a big basket of crispy chicken goodness. We scoured the Twin Cities and decimated the local wet nap supply in search of the very best chicken wings around. You want spicy? We have one that will tear the roof off your mouth. If you prefer the classic, crispy simplicity, we've got that covered, too. We even found a wing that tastes like bacon! This list has it all.

See also:
Top 10 French fries in the Twin Cities
Top 10 taquerias in the Twin Cities
Top 10 burgers in the Twin Cities

10. Bennett's Chop & Railhouse
Wings that come with a built in handle

When is a wing more than a wing? When it's a drummy! For some reason the more difficult end to eat of the chicken appendage is more common on the plate. However these little meaty pops are not just easier to use for gesturing. The drummies served at Bennett's on West 7th Street in St. Paul are some of the crunchiest bits of chicken to be found around town. A crispy bread coating is seasoned with plenty of pepper and a perfect amount of salt yielding fried food perfection in every bite.  Even better, the handy way of serving them is so easy to manage that a wing fan can simultaneously eat and sip a sudsy beer.  Be sure to get them with a side of the house-made ranch sauce. (1305 Seventh St. W., St. Paul; 651.228.1408)

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Photo courtesy of Danielle McFarland for Eli's East
Seriously saucy, with a rotating list of winning flavors

The chicken wing may be simultaneously the most common and the most maligned member of the bar-food pantheon. Everyone has them on the menu, no one seems to give them much thought, and after a few beers, you don't care too much what they taste like. Not so at Eli's: Here the scrawny little wing gets just as much respect as everything else the kitchen sends out. The house wings are a rosy molasses color, dipped in sticky, sweet honey soy glaze with a Sriracha-spiked mayonnaise for dipping. For a real treat, look up the week's specials on the big chalkboard. Moral: Rules are made to be broken. (1225 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612.332.9997.  815 East Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612.331.0031)

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Alma Guzman
Wonderful wings from around the world

If you've eaten your fill of saucy chicken wings--those slathered with Buffalo sauce, ghost peppers, barbecue, or teriyaki--look to the east to shift the way you think about this humble meat. The Hmong International Marketplace is St. Paul's best spot for the American-born to experience culture shock. The string of warehouses, tents, and open-air stalls feels like it's straight out of Bangkok or Ho Chi Minh City, as vendors sell every manner of traditional costume, smiling Buddha statues, tiger balm, and sandals. Curious Caucasians may be as scarce as spoken English, but newcomers to the food court need only two things: a fistful of dollars and a finger to point. Look for the Hmong stuffed chicken wings, which pack the deboned appendages with vermicelli noodles, ground pork, cilantro, and green onion before they're broiled. The skin on these wing/egg roll hybrids crackles so spectacularly that you'll never miss the sauce. (217 Como Ave., St. Paul; 612.382.6403)

7. D Spot
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D Spot Facebook
Just waiting to be dressed as you like

Once upon a time there was a secret spot for wings. An upscale Italian eatery was known for having some astounding wings on the menu. The man behind those wings took flight and landed at his own spot out in Maplewood. Darin Koch has a passion for wings matched only by his creativity in topping them. The menu is impressive in volume -- 85 varieties on the menu at any given time, with over 300 in their repertoire.  Try the Incredible Hulk, crispy wings tossed with a little luscious, sweet heat in the form of green curry. Hulk snarf(705 Century Ave. N., Maplewood; 651.730.7768)

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Wings that taste like bacon? Sold!

Fine dining and wings aren't a natural combination, but great and sometimes unexpected things spring from Russell Klein's kitchen. Mixed in with the French finery, served in the adjoining Oyster Bar, are some truly astounding wings. These are a whole new taste sensation. Their take on the humble bar food favorite is tenderly handled, cooked confit (in fat), and smoked. The result is an intensely chickeny chicken wing with a distinctly bacony flavor that yields the bone with the gentlest nudge. A wing needn't be flash fried and doused in sauce to shimmer and shine. This is the nosh equivalent of a little black dress: simple, elegant, and goes with everything. (410 St. Peter St., St. Paul; 651.222.5670)

Location Info

Monte Carlo Bar & Grill

219 3rd Ave., Minneapolis, MN

Category: Music

Smalley's Caribbean Barbeque and Pirate Bar

423 Main St., Stillwater, MN

Category: Restaurant

Hickory Hut

647 University Ave. W., St. Paul, MN

Category: Restaurant

The Blue Door Pub

1811 Selby Ave., St. Paul, MN

Category: Music

Spring Street Tavern

355 NE Monroe St., Minneapolis, MN

Category: Music


410 Saint Peter St., St. Paul, MN

Category: Restaurant

International Marketplace

217 Como Ave., St. Paul, MN

Category: General

Eli's East Food and Cocktails

815 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, MN

Category: Restaurant

Eli's Food & Cocktails

1225 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, MN

Category: Music

Bennett's Chop & Railhouse

1305 W. 7th St., St. Paul, MN

Category: Restaurant

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