You’ve waited for it all year. You’ve argued with your friends on social media about who should have won last year but got robbed. You’ve planned a whole strategy about how you will manage to eat your body weight in bleu cheese. We know. We get it. You have good reason to be excited. It’s Wing Wars, and it comes but once a year. This year it all starts at 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26, (noon for VIPs). Tickets go on sale Thursday, Dec. 13, and are $30 for general admission or $45 for VIP access, which gets you in an hour early and comes with free swag. There is much to be excited about, so here is the rundown on what to expect ...
Can you believe we are heading into our third year of this spicy tribute to the world’s greatest appetizer? It seems like just yesterday we were announcing the first Wing Wars and wondering what the public’s response would be. But after two years of sold-out wing-loving mayhem, it’s clear we have a winner on our hands (and an awful lot of hot sauce too). And again we have paired up with Golden Nugget Atlantic City and 103.7 WMGM Rocks to bring you this fine feathered fun fest. This year Wing Wars returns to the Grand Ballroom where there is more than enough room to stretch your wings. Also back by popular demand will be a live performance by LeCompt, who provided a most rockin’ soundtrack to the event last year as well as the ever popular drink specials, which include $5 craft beers and $8 specialty cocktails, with Stoli Elit and Lemonades, Jose Cuervo Tradicional Margaritas, Grey Goose Le Vanille Creamsicles and Stoli Elit Orange Crushes all waiting to help you wash down those wings.
While we strive to bring you all the great fun stuff you remember from your last trip to Wing Wars, we also like to throw in some new twists just for fun. In the past, the competitors all had to be from South Jersey, but since word has now spread about Wing Wars, we have started to see spots from all over the Northeast boasting and talking trash about how they make the best wings in all the land. So just for fun we let one of them in. This year, The Blind Rhino, which calls Norwalk, Connecticut, its home, will be winging it alongside the rest of the more familiar local spots like Vagabond and Manco and Manco. There may also be a few contests and giveaways, but for now we are keeping the details on those under wraps.
With all of the action and excitement of the party and the live band we can’t forget the reason for the season, and in this case it is of course the wings themselves! Twenty bars and restaurants will bring the heat (and sometimes the sweet), each battling it out to conquer your taste buds and win your votes. By the time the event rolls around there may be a few more names added, but here’s the lineup so far:
Vagabond Kitchen and Tap House
Michael Patrick’s Brasserie
Vic & Anthony’s
Bill’s Bar & Burger
Manco and Manco Pizza
Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall
Rose’s Garden Grill
Toll Man Joe’s
Hard Rock Café
Blue Water Grill
Chelsea 5 Gastropub
Guy’s Bar-B-Que Joint
Villain and Saint
The Blind Rhino
VÜE Rooftop Bar & Lounge at the Claridge Hotel
Simple logic says there can only be one winner, but since there will be both a people’s choice category as well as a judges’ category (and several specialty categories judged by Scott Cronick and Ryan Loughlin of A.C. Weekly’s Fat Boy Munch Club), opportunities to take home bragging rights are aplenty. Cronick’s excitement for this year’s event is palpable. “It’s hard to believe that this is our third Wing Wars, and it literally is bigger and badder than ever. With a rocking soundtrack by LeCompt, wings from 20 amazing places – including some new ones and even out-of-town challengers – there is no doubt this will be the best Wing Wars yet,” he says.
While the wings themselves are without a doubt the stars of the show here, one would be foolish to ignore their trusty sidekick, the always-mighty bleu cheese! What better compliment could there be to the hot and spicy goodness of a wing that the cool and creamy tang of a great homemade blue cheese sauce? So, to honor bleu cheese (and dipping sauces in general) attendees and judges will also be able to vote on their favorite dipping sauce. Remember — behind every good wing is a great dunk of bleu cheese!