Anticipation has been building since we first announced that Wing Wars would return for a third year in 2019. Right now, fans who attended in the past are dreaming up ways to chomp down even more wings than they did last year, while this year’s rookies are just hoping to not pass out defeated in a puddle of tears and hot sauce. Dipping enthusiasts are losing sleep trying to imagine what sort of out-of-this-world sauces will show up alongside the meaty wings. In other words, everybody is pumped.

Truth be told, so are we! Because this year will be bigger, better and spicier than ever. Beginning at 1 p.m. (noon for VIPs) Saturday, Jan. 26, guests will begin scarfing down wings and dunking in dipping sauces from some of the best bars and restaurants in the area. And the best part is, it's all-you-can-eat!Tickets are $30 for general admission and $45 for VIP, which gets you in a full hour early and comes with a free Wing Wars T-shirt. Drink deals? We got 'em. Craft beers are just $5, and cocktails, including Stoli Elit and lemonades, Jose Cuervo Traditional margaritas, Grey Goose Le Vanilla creamsicles and Stoli Elit orange crushes can all be had for just $8 each.

Thought last year’s lineup was big with 18 spots? We bumped it up to 20 this year. And, once again, the people's choice trophies will be awarded, which means YOU will be given the power to vote for your favorite wing and dipping sauce. How? Upon entry, all attendees will receive a red token and a blue token. Drop the red in the bucket at your favorite wing place and the blue where you found your favorite dipping sauce. It's that simple. Of course there will be professional judges on hand making their picks, plus we'll have a few other awards to give out courtesy of Press of Atlantic City director of entertainment publications Scott Cronick and A.C. Weekly associate editor Ryan Loughlin (otherwise known as the Fat Boy Munch Club.) Those include "Fattest Presentation" "Fattest Imagination" the "I Can't Feel My Face Award" and the "XXL Heavenly Combo Award."

Thought LeCompt rocked the house at Wing Wars II? We agree — that’s why they’re back (courtesy of 103.7-FM WMGM Rocks). Thought the venue was perfect? Us too. So we are returning to Golden Nugget Atlantic City’s Grand Ballroom once again. Tickets are going fast and while there may be a few left at the door, why risk it? Be on the safe side and buy your tickets today, by clicking here.

The competitors

Truthfully, there are a lot of reasons to be psyched for Wing Wars III, but the main reason is — of course — the wings. We bet you wanna know who is bringing what, huh? OK, no more waiting — here’s the official list:

AC Burger Co., HARRAH’S

Yeah, yeah, we know it says “Burger Co.” in the name, but that doesn’t mean they can’t make a heck of a good wing as well. This year A.C. Burger Co. debuts their “smoke ‘em if you got ‘em” whiskey-smoked wings, which are massaged with a secret dry rub and finished with a local, barrel-aged whiskey barbecue sauce. Smoke + heat = your new favorite treat.

Bill’s Bar & Burger, GOLDEN NUGGET

Another burger joint at Wing Wars? Yup. Both are staples of American pub grub, and for Wing Wars III Bills Bar & Burger will offer their traditional Sweet Baby Ray’s wings — a bit of spice, a touch of sweet and a whole lot of flavor makes these a standout, as does their homemade blue cheese that is downright addictive.

Blue Water Grill, FLAGSHIP

Teaming up with another A.C. local — Little Water Distillery — Blue Water Grill has created a truly unique entry with their Blue Water buffalo lemon wing. Citrus and spice pair up nice to produce one of the most outside-the-box wings at this year’s competition. Brushed with a Little Water honey molasses glaze and served with avocado sauce, you won’t want to miss it.

Chelsea Five Gastropub, TROPICANA

Tropicana took over the Chelsea Hotel last year and opened up Chelsea Five Gastropub, one of the best spots in town to grab some grub. They come to Wing Wars as virgins, but are sure to impress the masses with their entry. A whole wing, which means you get both the drumstick and the flat piece, coated in their honey sriracha sauce and served with a side of smoked blue cheese for dipping. Expect long lines at their station.

The Blind Rhino

Never heard of The Blind Rhino before? There may be a good reason for that, as they are not exactly local. In fact they are not local at all. They are based in Norwalk, Conn., but were so eager to enter Wing Wars III. So we agreed and figured it would be nice to have some out-of-state competition. And we have to admit that their dry-rubbed, Togarashi Brown Sugar Wings look pretty incredible. But there is of course only one way to find out …

Guys Bar-B-Que Joint, BALLY'S

They took third place in the Judge’s category last year, and this year we expect them to be in the hunt for first prize. Their always popular pit-smoked wing will be given a twist as it is paired with a creamy and addictively tasty Texas ranch dressing. If a chicken could wear sunglasses on the back of its head, this one would be the one to do it.

Kuro, HARD ROCK

Kuro has been wowing foodies since it opened at Hard Rock, and their entry at Wing Wars III looks to be a must-try. These Japanese-style chicken wings are like no other you have had before. Stuffed with pork and shrimp and seasoned with sesame furikake spice blend that is sure to earn a thumbs-up from even the pickiest wing aficionado. To add to the fun, these wings come with not one but two dipping sauces - a spiced up Kuro hot sauce to heat you up and a creamy koji aioli to cool you down.

Michael Patrick’s Brasserie, GOLDEN NUGGET

Last year Michael Patrick’s Brasserie took home trophies in both the Fat Boy Munch Club and Eaters Choice categories, and this year they are looking to add to their collection. Their traditional buffalo sauce is packed with spice, while their roasted garlic dipping sauce brings a cool, savory dunk to take the edge off.

Hard Rock Café, HARD ROCK

Hard Rock Café sees no reason to reinvent the wheel. They return to Wing Wars with their classic wings — a meaty, jumbo chicken wing which gets coated in a house-blend dry-rub and served with a house-made blue cheese dressing. How can you go wrong when it’s worked for so long?

Manco & Manco Pizza

And you thought they were only good for a slice of pizza on the boardwalk in the summer? No way! Since debuting them a few years ago, Manco has developed a reputation for having some truly tasty wings. You loved 'em last year and you will love 'em again this year. Their buffalo wings have just the right amount of kick and when paired with their creamy blue cheese dressing, they make for a crave-able combo you won't want to miss.

Okatshe, TROPICANA

One of the most talked about wings at last year’s Wing Wars was Okatshe’s, which was batter fried to a golden brown and served with a ginger, scallion and chili sauce. It was so good that it actually took second place in the judge’s awards. This year they return and so does that wing. Will they be able to take home the crown this year? That remains to be seen.

Hooters, TROPICANA

We’ll admit that often it’s hard to pay attention to the food at Hooters because the staff is … well … a bit distracting. But that’s OK, you don’t have to be Ray Charles to notice that the wings here are still as great as they always were, and those wings are heading to Wing Wars III. Spiced up with a perfect buffalo kick thanks to their Daytona wing sauce, and paired with Hooters famous blue cheese dressing, you won't soon forget these. And yes, the waitstaff will be the ones to serve them. Keep your eyes on the wings and you’ll be just fine.

Margaritaville, RESORTS

The drinks are a bit fruity at Margaritaville, so why should the wings be any different?This year Margaritaville brings something truly unique with their blueberry chipotle wings. The sweetness of fresh blueberries paired with the smoky heat of chipotle peppers is sure to be a winning combo. And for their dipping sauce, a bit of avocado ranch to cool things down.

Rose’s Garden Grill

Rose’s Garden Grill prepares to wow attendees at Wing Wars III with their Sumo Mandingo Wings. Little is known about these wings other than the fact that they are "spicy with a secret Asian twist," according to owner Frank Trifilletti, who tells us that he came upon the recipe last summer while searching through ancient ruins in Tibet. He also claims to have had to fend off a dragon in his quest. Believe what you choose of course, but one thing is for sure, they will be paired with an equally incredible sriracha blue cheese and you can expect these to be a fan favorite come Saturday. 

Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall

The newest kid on the Orange Loop, Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall returns for the second time to Wing Wars, this time with a brand new Citrus Sweet Chipotle Wing that blends in the tang of citrus with smoky chipotle peppers and a spicy sambal blue cheese dipping sauce that just might be the one to beat in the dipping sauce category.

Vic & Anthony’s, GOLDEN NUGGET

A Wing Wars classic, the maple-glazed wing from Vic & Anthony’s is back, which is sure to thrill many a wing eater. What really makes these stand out is that they abandon the chicken entirely, instead opting for a quail wing which throws in a bit of class and a ton of flavor.

Villain & Saint, OCEAN RESORT

Another Wing Wars newbie (and Atlantic City newbie in general) is Villain & Saint. Ocean Resort’s most rocking nightlife spot throws their wing in the ring this year for the first time and it’s a doozy! Known as KFC wings (that stands for Korean Fried Chicken, no relation to the Colonel’s), this wing is batter fried, bathed in an Asian glaze and served with a side of ginger aioli. Dare we say these may be “finger licking good?”

The VÜE Rooftop Bar & Lounge at the CLARIDGE HOTEL

Perched atop the 23rd floor at the Claridge Hotel, VÜE has looked down on Atlantic City from a bird’s eye view for a few years now. But this is the first year they will bring the bird to Wing Wars. Their VÜE wings make use of such uncommon ingredients as lime zest and cumin in order to create a taste that is truly one of a kind. Finished off with a honey-lime crema sauce, this Wing Wars rookie may be one to watch out for come judging time.

Toll Man Joe’s

Toll Man Joe’s enters it's first Wing Wars this year, but when it comes to frying up wings, they are seasoned vets. They will bring their famous sweet and spicy wings to this year’s battle, making for a worthy competitor. Their sauce blends the heat of cayenne with the sweet of honey. Add to that Chef Arty’s made-from-scratch blue cheese and you have yourself a combo that just may come out on top.

Vagabond Kitchen and Tap House

They won the inaugural Wing Wars and came in 1st place in the Eater’s Choice category last year. So, can they continue their winning streak? Odds look good for Vagabond as they are coming guns blazing with their famous buffalo beer wings. Served with homemade blue cheese, these have been a favorite on their menu since day one. Wings AND beer together? How can this lose?

 

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