I have a lot of love for the old-school, family-owned, mom and pop type of shop when it comes to pizza and steaks—you know, foods of the common man.
Chain restaurants can undoubtedly produce some tasty stuff, but I like a place with a personal touch—a place with a little history behind it.
So, when Buffalo Wild Wings, a national chain restaurant specializing in—you guessed it—wings, opened up in Sicklerville a few months ago I shrugged my shoulders with a simple, "meh."
But in the early going, the wing house, located next to other popular chain restaurants such as Bertucci's and Texas Road House, has created quite a buzz, packing its doors with hungry customers wanting to see what all of the fuss is about.
The two common complaints I've heard about this national chain from those I know who've sampled it are the wait times are a bit too long, and it's just a bit too pricey.
Seeing that I've spent my summer eating processed, fried food, I figured it was about time I weighed in (boom, pun intended) on the matter.
Let's start with the name: Buffalo Wild Wings.
See, I respect this. The company doesn't leave you guessing.
Take Applebees, for instance. I have no idea what I'm getting into. Applebees doesn't exactly scream, "Here's an assortment of fried dishes Americana at prices you can afford in a tough economic climate."
Buffalo Wild Wings? You know the second you roll in that this place thinks it knows how to do a wing, and well, since it's puffing out its chest like that, it better damn well know how to do a wing.
After a brief study of their menu, it's important to understand that when it comes to price, it's not just what you order, but also when you order it.
Buffalo Wild Wings offers two different lunch specials that run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. You can order the "all you can eat" option for $10.99 that starts you with 12 wings and a basket of fries, or the standard lunch special that includes eight wings and fries for $5.29.
I'd caution against the "all you can eat" option only in the sense that each subsequent order of wings comes in groups of six, so it's really not a deal unless you plan to devour 18+ wings at noon on a weekday, which seems a bit much.
Non-specials require ordering wings in groups of six and can be rather pricey, costing more than a dollar per wing on average. The one nice ordering feature is that each of the six can be a different flavor, so if you are feeling adventurous you don't have to lock yourself into the same flavor for each wing.
So is a crowded atmosphere and wings that are a bit on the pricey side worth it?
In a word, yes.
The chain offers 14 different sauces, ranging from the traditional mild and hot sauces to specialties such as mango habanero and Caribbean jerk. You simply won't find these options at most places.
I sampled the parmesean garlic, honey BBQ, Caribbean jerk and hot sauces, and found each to be enjoyable.
In addition to a diverse wing-oriented menu, the wing itself was crisp, saturated in tasty sauces and had plenty of meat.
Service was friendly, but a bit slow. Due to the buzz still surrounding its opening, I'd recommend going during off-peak hours if you are looking for a quick in-and-out experience.
Additionally, it's a good place to watch a game. Loaded with televisions, the restaurant features multiple sports packages, so there's never a game that they can't flip one of their many flat-screens to.
Tip for the men, though—I'd caution against bringing the lady friend to Buffalo Wild Wings, especially in the infant stages of a relationship.
Listen, bro, you gotta ease the woman into your shortcomings and eccentricities before you get all caveman on a set of 18 wings, sauce glopped on your cheeks as you curse at Ryan Howard for chasing a slider out of the strike zone to end the inning. If you're really itching to get over there and check it out, head on over with some pals. You know—just to be safe.
Still, while Buffalo Wild Wings might run you an extra few dollars, if you are a lover of all things wing, it's definitely worth a shot.