The sixth annual Budweiser Wing Zing was a huge success. The event was again held in the Arena District behind Nationwide Arena on July 13th. The Wing Zing was held outdoors with live music and fifteen local restaurants serving chicken wings. The proceeds will be donated to the Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation & Charity Newsies.
This annual event was once again sponsored by WLVQ-QFM96 and Budweiser. Here you could sample wings from all the major players in Columbus at once. There was a stage with a lot of great music during the day. (The king and queen once again enjoyed the Dan Orr Project) This event, however, was not for Buffalo wings only, but for Wings in general. This year, we will be telling you about all the wings!
Of course, the 2 big shots of Columbus wings, Quaker Steak and Lube and Buffalo Wild Wings (formerly BW3) were there. This year, we decided to exclude BWW and QSL from consideration as the best Buffalo wing. If you came here from the main wing web page, you know how we feel about those two. This also gave us more opportunity to try their other wings. BWW and QSL both have many offerings other than the tradional Buffalo style.
As readers of this web site should know, the Buffalo Wing originated at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo. While I love the two Columbus giants, I go to these events to find the small neighborhood bars that serves an authentic style Buffalo wing.
For that reason, the Queen and I , for the 2nd year in a row, have made a special award for the Best neighborhood bar wing at Wing Zing. That title for this year's event goes to City Limts of Galloway
They say they are at the NW corner of Hall and Norton Roads on the south west side of Columbus. The were definitely worth the trip (a long drive for us) to visit them. We've only been there once and they are new, so it will be worth another trip soon.
This year, the Royal family rated all the wings and broke them up into three categories. We gave each wing a score based on a 1-5 score with 1 being awful and 5 being great.
This year, we gave the title of Wing Zing's bet authentic Buffalo wing to :
This wing had a decent size, just the right crispiness, and a pleasant tasting hot sauce with a nice heat level. All these points add up to the best of the day. I enjoyed our first visit to their restaurant. (Note: The door says you must be 21 to enter after 9pm.) Our Score:4
We had a tie for our runner up in this category.
Roadhouse Bar and Grille of Columbus' west side and 2002 Wing Zing's official "Best Hot wing" winner was one of our two runners up. With several honors at prior Wing Zing events and a favorable review on our main site, Road House has clearly established itself as one of Columbus' best wings. Their wings are most noted for their crispiness. They are definitely an authentic Buffalo wing and did a good job at the event. You will also find other good food at their store. Our Score:3
Our other runner up for Best Authentic Buffalo Wing goes to:
Buffalo Wings and Rings One of Columbus' oldest authentic Buffalo wing restaurants BW&R were again well respresented at this event. While not quite as crispy as Roadhouse, their wings were a little larger and had a little more sauce. That sauce was just what I expect for a hot sauce. Our Score:3
Frog, Bear and Wild Boar is another new entrant from the Arena Distict. The single thing that stood out from these wings was the crispy skin. As far as achieving crispines (a key judging factor) this was perfection. The wings were big, meaty, very moist, and obviously quality chicken. Their only downfall in my eyes was the heavily butter tasting sauce. Many cooks use butter to tame the heat of their wing sauces. I've seen wing rookies run for the water at wings I consider mild, but I think anyone can handle these wings. I would recommend they offer a 2nd flavor without 3/4 of the butter and call it a hot wing. I noticed that one of our favorite local bands, The Reaganomics play here, we will make a trip to give them an official columbuswings.com review some time in the near future. Our Score:3
Gatsby's I'm told Gatsby's is located in Gahanna. This wing had a great sauce and was a nice meaty wing. However, it was a bit on the soggy side. I noted at this event that they prepared their wings elsewhere and then brought them to the event. Wings with this much sauce don't travel well and get soggy quickly. I suspect the wings at their restaurant are even better than what they served at Wing Zing. I've learned that Gatsby's has live music so we will make a trip out there sometime soon. Our Score:3
Maragarita Mamma's is another Brewery District entry. Like Gatsby's I noted that they prepared their wings elsewhere and then brought them to the event. While the sauce was good and the wings meaty, they were soggy and luke warm. Again I suspect they are better at the restaurant. Their flyer does a good job of making this look like a great place to go. Our Score:2
Big Daddy's is another Arena District establishment. The wing had a very odd taste. The queen said it tasted of cinnamon. By that time my tastebuds may have been fried, but I couldn't tell for sure what it tasted like, but I can say that the King, Queen, and Princess all agreed, we didn't like it. Our Score:2
Hooter's You may know that the wing that Hooter's sells millions of is not a true Buffalo wing. However, they do offer a "naked" wing at their stores that is considered an authentic Buffalo wing. I believe it was this naked wing that they served at Wing Zing 2002. , This was the worst wing at Wing Zing We each took one bite and headed for the trash can. This wing was so greasy it was impossible to even lift the wing without grease splattering everything within 3 feet of it. The sauce would have to rise up 10 levels to make it to mild and they called it hot! Webmaster's note: I frequent Hooter's and can tolerate their wings. I love their burgers. They have an outstanding Buffalo Chicken sandwich, fish sandwhich as well as a Ham and cheese sandwich. However, this wing was lousy! Our Score:0
Lucky's Bar and Grille was our pick as the "Best Hot Wing" this year. Located on Robert's Road in Hilliard, they are Wing Zing veterans. I probably like this breaded wing more than others because the breading is very light. Some breading never gets crispy, or holds in too much grease. This is NOT the case with Lucky's. Our Score:3
Smokey Bones BBQ is located on Columbus' NE side on Rt-161 East of Karl Road. While they are primarily a BBQ joing they offered a BBQ and a Buffalo-Q wing which had only subtle taste of Buffalo and Barbeque sauces. It was definitely very mild, but it was a good piece of meat and was well cooked. Our Score:3
Gibbey's has downtown and Grandview locations. These wings were a bit on the mild side and just a bit mushy as well. I know from past experience that they make a better wing, but like many other competitors this day, they cooked their wings elsewhere and brought them to the event. These didn't travel well. Our Score:2
Buckeye Hall of Fame These hot wings also didn't travel well, They use a heavy batter coating that looked something like an orange shag carpet and was very soft to eat. There wasn't even a hint of crispness here. What points they did get are for hot meaty wings. Our Score:2
This category basically covers anything that isn't at least trying to pretend to be a Buffalo style wing, though some of the flavors may have a hot influence.
In this category, The King and Queen had a difference of opinion. First is the Queen's choice.
Gordon Beirsch is located is the Brewery District.There entry was called "Sweet Chili Glazed" They feature a nice meaty wing with a pleasant flavor. Our Score:4
Now, the King's choice.
Quaker Steak and Lube. can be found off I-71 in the Polaris area. Well known in this part of the country for great Buffalo wings, I gave their new Manchurian flavor a try. There were several teriyaki wings at Wing Zing this year, this wing is a bit different. When dining at a Chinese restaurant I like to eat a dish known as "General Tso" This sauce reminded me of that flavor. This was a great tasting sauce on top of the already famous fresh crispy QSL wing. Our Score:4
Buffalo Wild Wings For perennial power house BWW we decided to give "Spicy Garlic" and "Carribean Jerk" a try. Both sauces were put on the same excellent chicken wing. The spicy garlic wing does have a heat to it that is near their excellent medium wing. I can't imagine what the flavorings are in the carribean jerk, it is similar to some teriyake wings, but definitely different. We liked them both! (BWW does serve the best teriyake wing in my opinion, but it wasn't served at this event) Our Score:4
Barley's Smoke House Grille The wing we ate was labled "hot" but I really wasn't sure what category to put it in. This wing was so heavily dominated by the smokey taste that you couldn't taste anything else. This was another one-bite and we were done wing. I do remember their wing at the official judging event and it was much better, but still not something we like. Like other entrants, they should have made these fresh at the Wing Zing. Our Score:1
While evaluating wings, the Royal family tries to remain anonymous to ensure the validity or our reviews, however, as seen in this photo from QFM-96's Wing Zing web site, the King was caught!
Back to Columbuswings.com
Take a look at Wing Zing 2001