Top 10 chicken wings in the Twin Cities

Categories: Top 10
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Comfy neighborhood ambiance with killer wings

Spring Street Tavern in Northeast could definitely be described as a dive, but just as Rihanna sings about finding love in a hopeless place, we sing the praises of Spring Street wings -- a guilty pleasure that always tastes best when enjoyed in an atmosphere that's decidedly downscale. Spring Street's crispy-skinned buffalo wings are moist, meaty, and slathered in a buttery homemade buffalo sauce that has the slightly runny consistency down pat, delivering a fine balance of spice and vinegar. On the Scoville heat scale, they aren't the kind of wings that are an extreme challenge to finish, but what's the point in that anyway? Wings are meant to be dipped in thick, cooling blue cheese dressing (Spring Street makes its own, and it's chunky, sharp, and fabulous) and gobbled up. The signature Spring Wings are equally good, tossed in a sweet and hot barbecue sauce that will undoubtedly leave its mark on the corners of your mouth and linger in the corners of your mind. (355 Monroe St. NE, Minneapolis; 612.627.912)


4. Blue Door Pub
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Think beyond the burger

Precious few restaurants are worth standing out in the Minnesota elements waiting for a little table space -- like, by our count, two. One is this small St. Paul charmer, the Blue Door Pub, with a Longfellow sibling on the way. Its burgers and fries are among our favorites, but there is even more menu space to explore on this menu. The Frogtown Wings, named for the nearby neighborhood, are ultra crispy chicken wings liberally seasoned and tossed with a chunky, spicy peanut butter sauce. They're hot, sweet, savory, and succulent. Each crispy bite is full of rich, peanutty flavor, spiked with soy sauce saltiness. Move over Jiffy Burger, we've got something peanuttier. (1811 Selby Ave., St. Paul; 651.493.1865)


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Massive, expertly spiced wings served with a side of blazing sauce

Step inside this no-frills location (with easy and convenient parking) and witness an epic wing fry. Most restaurants that attempt a wing will pop a modest amount into a little basket and let them go. Here, inside the barely visible kitchen, is a massive fryer filled with roiling oil, and when the orders come flying in, the wings fly out by the bucketful. The wings are massive, drummies and wings attached at the crook. They are seasoned with a dusty, crusty, hugely flavorful spice blend. The clientele in room is often a collection of men who evidently work hard for the living, including some of Saint Paul's finest (cops being a certain indicator of good, cheap eats). Be certain to get a side of the blazing hot, vinegar-tart sauce. Clear some elbow room and get to it. These addictive wings are a five-napkin affair. (647 University Ave., St. Paul; 651.224.9464)

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For hardcore wings, head to the edge of the Wisconsin border

There's something about the delicious punishment of a ghost pepper burn. Whether it's a test of manly insanity or just the opportunity to have a good cry, there is no bit of chicken in town that will beat the snot out of you quite like the wings at Smalley's Caribbean Barbeque. The ultimate heat, the 666 wing, coated in what's affectionately referred to as "death juice," delivered brutal punishment to Guy Fieri when he was there filming his food show. Meanwhile, owner Shawn Smalley's eyes glittered with glee. The burn doesn't have to be quite so punishing. Take it down to a mere surface-of-the-sun hot with their lesser pepper ratings and you will find a crispy, meaty hunk of chicken doused in layer upon glorious layer of flavor. They hit all the notes with a sweet, tangy, deliciously smoky burn. Simply put, these wings do not fuck around. Pound your chest and declare, "I am Testostersaur!" and conquer the most awesome kind of culinary punishment. (Brick Alley, 423 Main St., Stillwater; 651.439.5375)
Monte Carlo Wings _JSummers credit.jpg
The best are the Beijing style
Humming neon illuminates this corner of the city. The Monte Carlo shimmers like a bit of misplaced costume jewelry. Inside, the glass wall behind the bar stretches to the ceiling, glittering with bottles. While the Monte Carlo does serve a perfectly dry martini, it's the "Beijing style" chicken wings that can't be missed. The order arrives in a small wicker basket, and a tantalizing whiff of cinnamon beckons. The wings are so big they seem to have come from Austrian body-building chickens. The succulent meat is enveloped in a shatteringly crisp crust, blanketed in the Monte Carlo's unique spice blend. Each bit of the wing brings a different spice flavor. Not entirely savory, not exactly sweet, it's an entirely unidentifiable, familiar flavor. The wings were created by owner John Rimarcik. We asked him what it is that creates that unique flavor? "It's actually more like 18 different spices. Some are for flavor, some are for volume. It's important when you mix all of the spices together that the blend is exactly the same at the top as it is at the bottom. That way each order tastes the same. I can tell you some of them: cinnamon, red pepper flake, cumin, oregano, celery salt, onion powder.... That's just some of them." The whole is so much more than the sum of those simple parts. This is wing divinity. (219 Third Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.333.5900)

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Location Info

Venue

Map

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 Bar & Grill

355 NE Monroe St., Minneapolis, MN

Category: Music

Meritage

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 Bar & Grill

1225 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, MN

Category: Music

Bennett's Chop & Railhouse

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

Category: Restaurant

My Voice Nation Help
15 comments
matthewsnyder12
matthewsnyder12

You guys need to try the Country Bar on Lyndale and Lake street.... The old Shorty and Wags... Best wings hands down

pthorn01
pthorn01

Blarneys in Dinkytown has the best fucking delicious "buffalo" wings ever!

Matt Nelson
Matt Nelson

Psycho Suzis dry rub wings. I think I would snort lines of that yummy seasoning.

PublicHair
PublicHair

Any 'Best Wings' list that omits Runyon's, immediately loses all credibility.

Melissa Summers
Melissa Summers

I don't disagree with any of your suggestions, I just find it disappointing when I order wings and I get wing parts. Kinda wrecks the ritual of eating wings if I don't get to tear them apart myself. It's like eating crab legs only they've taken the meat out of the shell ahead of time.

msummers5
msummers5

I don't disagree with any of your suggestions, I just find it disappointing when I order wings and I get wing parts.  Kinda wrecks the ritual of eating wings if I don't get to tear them apart myself.  It's like eating crab legs only they've taken the meat out of the shell ahead of time.

Jenny King
Jenny King

Sad that D-Spot is 7th.. they deserve #1 for sure.. Darin knows what he is doing BIG TIME!

Nicholas S. Goers
Nicholas S. Goers

Missed Lone Oak Grill's Tangy BBQ! Smalley's Caribbean Barbeque and Pirate Bar are awesome too!

Eric Shawn Smith
Eric Shawn Smith

D-Spot wings are a thousand times better than BDP and the 5 spice powdery, soggy mess that Hickory Hut has become.

LoringR
LoringR

@PublicHair hits the nail on the head...by leaving Runyon's off this list, the author instantly loses all credibility regarding TC wings.

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