We were traveling on family matters to Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina and it so happened that right next door to our Hampton Inn was a welcoming site. ..a wing joint, “Buffalo Wings and Rings.” Located in a strip mall/shopping plaza, this place is has all the indications of a national sports-themed chain. Though, among the decorations are local sports teams to give it that hometown feel. Who cares really? The place was cool, clean and laid back with a long bar or table service…so that’s enough for me. Needless to say…I had to stop in and try the wings…and the rings.
When you open the menu…your expectations begin to rocket. The menu is full with a large selection of salads, appetizers, unique sandwiches/burgers and even a section of gyros. The gyros looked delicious. But I’m saving room for wings and apps…so maybe next time. And, trust me, there will be a next time. This place takes its wings and sauces seriously. The menu actually provides you a guideline on how to order. It’s a three step process. I know, that sounds stupid…but for a first timer…it was actually quite helpful.
First you choose the chicken…do you want tenders, boneless or bone in? And of course if you’re a real wing eater…you should always choose bone in! At least I do. Next you choose from a selection of nine different flavored sauces. Nine flavors is more than enough for me. I always go with an original buffalo flavor, but the choices include the relatively normal stuff like Sweet BBQ and Garlic Parmesan and some unique flavors like Lemon Pepper, Sweet and Sour, and “Crazy Garlic-Q” (which I can only assume is a garlicky-flavored BBQ sauce.) Ok…so step three…here’s where it gets interesting…you choose the level of heat in your sauce selection. The choices are mild, medium, hot, xtra hot and atomic. No matter what flavor you get…you get to choose the level of heat. Feels a bit like a gimmick. But pretty cool…if it pays off.
The service was a little slow….but very friendly. After all…we’re in the South.
Our order arrives. The wings are served in cool looking ceramic bowls and each person got his or her own bone bowl and a wet nap. “Thank you.” Orders of traditional wings come in 5, 10, 15, 25, or 50. I got 10 – Original Buffalo flavored – Xtra Hot heat level. The smell was fantastic and I could tell these were going to be good. They were great. The bone in wings were served perfectly traditional with no breading and deep fried until crispy. The size of each wing met my expectations and there was a good mix of wings and drums. These things were perfectly crispy even after being covered in sauce. The last wing in the bottom of the bowl was nearly as crispy as the first one right off the top. My sauce choice was perfect for my tastes. Plenty of flavor and heat but not debilitating. A few tears is how I like it. I really enjoyed myself and, overall was really happy. This is the only sauce I have found that comes close to my favorite sauce here at home; “Hole-in-One” sauce at the 19th Hole in Wheeling.
If there is any drawback to the wings…the meat, while juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside, was slightly tough to pull off the bone with your teeth. And there was a little too much sauce in the serving bowl. I get the feeling that these wings weren’t “tossed” in the sauce and the served. Seems like they were placed in the bowl and then the sauce was simply poured over top. The wings were almost all swimming in it. Also, celery, ranch and bleu cheese is available…but only at additional cost.
I can’t really speak to the “value” because frankly…I forget the prices. When you’re so satisfied and surprised with the product almost anything seems like a good value.
We coupled our wing choices with the onion rings…which are part of the company’s namesake….so they better be good. They were. I’m not a huge onion ring fan…but when they’re in the name of the business...ya gotta give em a chance. Nice and crispy and the onion bites clean through without pulling out of the breading. We also tried a basket of the Saratoga Chips…which seemed to be a signature item. Thinly sliced potatoes (fried or baked?) with some garlic seasoning and served with BBQ sauce. These were delicious. When I say thinly sliced…I mean thinly sliced. Just barely thicker than a potato chip…but thick enough to still feel like an actual potato. If you’ve had the Buffalo Chips at BW3s…they’re like that…but much thinner…much crispier.
Bottom line? If you get a chance to try Buffalo Wings and Rings don’t pass it up. I think you’ll be more than happy. For various locations across the country and a look at their menu check out their website: http://www.buffalowingsandrings.com/
WINGS - 7/10
SAUCE - 8/10
VALUE – 7.5/10
XFACTOR ++ (cool atmosphere, awesome menu options)
OVERALL WING RATING – 8/10 Authentic, big wings, good sauces, crispy from start to finish, no breading, deep fried, tons of sauce choices!