Update: A.C. Weekly's Wing Wars is officially SOLD OUT! To all who've purchased tickets, we'll see you at Haven on Jan. 28! Come hungry!
Similar to asking “who makes the best slice of pizza around here,” daring to ask “who has the best wings?” is like lighting a bomb. It’s one of those great debate topics that seems to get people fired up no matter where you go. Oh sure, it will start friendly enough, but eventually that “friendly” debate will dwindle down into a series of uncalled for, below-the-belt remarks about the reputation of one’s mother, followed by boasts of one’s sexual prowess and, of course, threats of physical violence.
Why do these fights get so ugly? It’s simple. Because nobody has ever had any real solid proof as to who makes the best wings.
Today we officially announce Wing Wars — the first ever head-to-head wing competition ever held in Atlantic City. And no, it’s not about how many you can eat or whose sauce can burn your lips off. What fun is that? Forget that nonsense, this competition is all about flavor.
Who’s got the best tasting, most delicious chicken wings around? Who’s blue cheese is so incredible you could do a shots of it on its own? We’re gonna find out.
We rounded up 15 restaurants in the area that are known for their wings and invited them to Wing Wars — a one-day-only wing competition to be held 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28, at Haven in Golden Nugget Atlantic City. Each restaurant will be on hand serving up hundreds of wings and dipping sauces and YOU get to pick the best of each. Try ‘em all, then vote to determine once and for all who’s really the king of the wing in South Jersey.
And just to add a little more fun to the party, Wing Wars will feature a live performance by the band Mystery Machine, which plays a mix of party tunes covering everything from Motown and oldies to rock, alternative and today’s Top 40, so there will be a little something for everyone.
Tickets to Wing Wars are $25, which includes all the wings you can eat and a vote for your favorite wing and dipping sauce.
Tickets can be purchased online at acweekly.com/WingWars; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays at Press of Atlantic City, 1000 W. Washington Ave., Pleasantville; or at The Deck at Golden Nugget on day of event. Doors open at 3 p.m. sharp; no exceptions.
Who’s who in Wing Wars?
Here’s a quick look at the wings each place is planning on entering into the competition.
Hard Rock Cafe, Atlantic City: Hard Rock Cafe may be known for all things rock ‘n’ roll, but their wing game is a strong one. Their entry in Wing Wars is a jumbo grilled Asian wing with a sweet and spicy glaze. It comes with a peanut dipping sauce which is sure to impress.
Hooters, Atlantic City: Few places are as synonymous with wings as Hooters, making them a natural choice for Wing Wars. No need to get fancy, they will bring their traditional world-famous buffalo wings with homemade blue cheese dipping sauce.
Gregory’s Bar and Restaurant, Somers Point: Gregory’s was the big winner at this year’s Burger Bash, but the question is, can they repeat their success at Wing Wars? Their chances look good, as they are coming in with a Nashville hot wing, dunked in buttermilk and hot sauce then deep fried. Its crisp skin is then glazed in cayenne oil and brown sugar and accompanied by their house made blue cheese. Mmmm ...
Vagabond Kitchen and Tap House, Atlantic City: Vagabond is home to some of the best pub grub in the area and their wings are second to none. Wing Wars attendees will sample their buffalo wing — a classic drum wing which is first braised then flash fried and coated with their buffalo beer sauce. The meat on this thing falls off the bone! Oh, and house-made blue cheese will be there for the dipping.
Coastal Craft Kitchen + Bar, Atlantic City: The former home of Sammy D’s is about to become Coastal Craft Kitchen + Bar. We here at A.C. Weekly got a sneak peak at the chipotle bourbon maple wings with diced scallions that are going to be on the menu, and frankly they look awesome. Wing Wars attendees will be lucky enough to have the chance to try them too.
Blackwoods Deli, Egg Harbor Township: The folks at Blackwoods have been bottling their own signature sauces for some time now, and at Wing Wars they will serve up their all natural wings coated in their signature gluten-free mild sauce with homemade blue cheese for dipping. They may be the new kid on the block but after Wing Wars expect their name to be on everyone’s lips.
Pic-a-Lilli Pub, Atlantic City: The Pic (as its referred to as by its fans) is perhaps the most intimidating wing place on this list just based on their reputation alone. A little dive bar known for having “The best wings in the solar system,” their wings are the stuff of legend, and they will bring a total of seven sauces with them to Wing Wars. Mild, spicy, hot, smoker, garlic parmesan, hot and honey and honey bbq will all be on hand along with their amazing blue cheese. If there is one to not miss it’s these.
Cattle and Clover, Wildwood: Cattle and Clover owner John Sheppard’s Curry Habanero wings are definitely one of the most unique varieties you will find at Wing Wars. The wing itself is a big boy — nearly four times the size of a standard wing, and each comes loaded with the rich flavor of curry and the intense heat of fresh habanero. Rumor has it they may show up with a variety of sauces including Red Stag BBQ, maple horseradish, dry rub, honey hot and hot.
Guy’s Bar-B-Que Joint, Atlantic City: The wing at Guy’s Bar-B-Que Joint is so good that it was even featured on A.C. Weekly’s 50 Bites + promotion this year. One taste of these jumbo wings and their bourbon brown bbq sauce and you will understand why. These smoky treats are sure to bring the crowds back for seconds ... and thirds.
Gordon Ramsay Pub and Grill, Atlantic City: Gordon Ramsay doesn’t put his name on anything that isn’t incredibly delicious, and the molasses and brown ale glazed wings at his pub and grill at Caesars Atlantic City are no exception. They are sticky and addicting, with touches of both sweet and heat in the forms of green apple and jalapeno. Served with crumbled blue cheese and green onion, these will not be overlooked.
Manco and Manco, Somers Point: When most people think of Manco and Manco their brain immediately goes to pizza. And while the pizza here is, of course, the stuff of legend, Manco and Manco have managed to produce a seriously crave-worthy wing. Deep fried and coated in either mild sauce or honey hot, these wings may just be the most unexpected entry into the contest. Look out for them.
Chickie’s and Pete’s, Egg Harbor Township and Atlantic City: As one of the top sports bars in the area, Chickie’s and Pete’s knows its way around bar food. Their wings have been a fan favorite for a long time and for Wing Wars they will bring both their signature Chickie’s and Pete’s wing sauce, as well as their homemade barbecue sauce. Of course, plenty of blue cheese will be on hand for the dipping.
Michael Patrick’s Brasserie and The Deck at Golden Nugget, Atlantic City: One of the best wings that skips the buffalo altogether can be found at Michael Patrick’s and The Deck. What’s so special about it? Well, it’s all about unique flavors — think parmesan, garlic, rosemary and molasses. Oh, and just to take the whole thing really far outside the box, they are including a roasted cauliflower puree as the dipping sauce. Wow.
Vic & Anthony’s, Atlantic City: Golden Nugget, which hosts Wing Wars, just so happens to have a spot that serves great wings. So it was a natural to enter them in the competition. Now keep in mind when we say “wing wars” we don’t just mean chicken. Anything with a wing can be entered — hell if somebody finds a way to make an airplane wing taste good fried, by all means feel free to enter it. In the case of Vic & Anthony’s though, it is their maple-glazed quail wing that will step into the wing ring. An incredibly tasty specimen, this wing is savory and sweet and will have you redefining your definition of what a wing can be.
Want to hear even more of the nitty gritty details of what will go down at Wing Wars? Tune in to 103.7 FM for the WMGM Morning Show with Matt and Karle at 8:15 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 15, to hear Atlantic City Weekly Associate Editor Ryan Loughlin talk Wing Wars and maybe even sample some of the competition!