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Top 10 chicken wings in the Twin Cities


Fried food and football go hand in hand. There is nothing like settling in for the big game with a big basket of crispy chicken goodness. We scoured the Twin Cities and decimated the local wet nap supply in search of the very best chicken wings around. You want spicy? We have one that will tear the roof off your mouth. If you prefer the classic, crispy simplicity, we've got that covered, too. We even found a wing that tastes like bacon! This list has it all.

See also:
Top 10 French fries in the Twin Cities
Top 10 taquerias in the Twin Cities
Top 10 burgers in the Twin Cities

10. Bennett's Chop & Railhouse
Wings that come with a built in handle
Wings that come with a built in handle


When is a wing more than a wing? When it's a drummy! For some reason the more difficult end to eat of the chicken appendage is more common on the plate. However these little meaty pops are not just easier to use for gesturing. The drummies served at Bennett's on West 7th Street in St. Paul are some of the crunchiest bits of chicken to be found around town. A crispy bread coating is seasoned with plenty of pepper and a perfect amount of salt yielding fried food perfection in every bite.  Even better, the handy way of serving them is so easy to manage that a wing fan can simultaneously eat and sip a sudsy beer.  Be sure to get them with a side of the house-made ranch sauce. (1305 Seventh St. W., St. Paul; 651.228.1408)

Seriously saucy, with a rotating list of winning flavors
Seriously saucy, with a rotating list of winning flavors
Photo courtesy of Danielle McFarland for Eli's East


The chicken wing may be simultaneously the most common and the most maligned member of the bar-food pantheon. Everyone has them on the menu, no one seems to give them much thought, and after a few beers, you don't care too much what they taste like. Not so at Eli's: Here the scrawny little wing gets just as much respect as everything else the kitchen sends out. The house wings are a rosy molasses color, dipped in sticky, sweet honey soy glaze with a Sriracha-spiked mayonnaise for dipping. For a real treat, look up the week's specials on the big chalkboard. Moral: Rules are made to be broken. (1225 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612.332.9997.  815 East Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612.331.0031)

Wonderful wings from around the world
Wonderful wings from around the world
Alma Guzman


If you've eaten your fill of saucy chicken wings--those slathered with Buffalo sauce, ghost peppers, barbecue, or teriyaki--look to the east to shift the way you think about this humble meat. The Hmong International Marketplace is St. Paul's best spot for the American-born to experience culture shock. The string of warehouses, tents, and open-air stalls feels like it's straight out of Bangkok or Ho Chi Minh City, as vendors sell every manner of traditional costume, smiling Buddha statues, tiger balm, and sandals. Curious Caucasians may be as scarce as spoken English, but newcomers to the food court need only two things: a fistful of dollars and a finger to point. Look for the Hmong stuffed chicken wings, which pack the deboned appendages with vermicelli noodles, ground pork, cilantro, and green onion before they're broiled. The skin on these wing/egg roll hybrids crackles so spectacularly that you'll never miss the sauce. (217 Como Ave., St. Paul; 612.382.6403)

7. D Spot
Just waiting to be dressed as you like
Just waiting to be dressed as you like
D Spot Facebook


Once upon a time there was a secret spot for wings. An upscale Italian eatery was known for having some astounding wings on the menu. The man behind those wings took flight and landed at his own spot out in Maplewood. Darin Koch has a passion for wings matched only by his creativity in topping them. The menu is impressive in volume -- 85 varieties on the menu at any given time, with over 300 in their repertoire.  Try the Incredible Hulk, crispy wings tossed with a little luscious, sweet heat in the form of green curry. Hulk snarf(705 Century Ave. N., Maplewood; 651.730.7768)

Wings that taste like bacon? Sold!
Wings that taste like bacon? Sold!


Fine dining and wings aren't a natural combination, but great and sometimes unexpected things spring from Russell Klein's kitchen. Mixed in with the French finery, served in the adjoining Oyster Bar, are some truly astounding wings. These are a whole new taste sensation. Their take on the humble bar food favorite is tenderly handled, cooked confit (in fat), and smoked. The result is an intensely chickeny chicken wing with a distinctly bacony flavor that yields the bone with the gentlest nudge. A wing needn't be flash fried and doused in sauce to shimmer and shine. This is the nosh equivalent of a little black dress: simple, elegant, and goes with everything. (410 St. Peter St., St. Paul; 651.222.5670)


 

Comfy neighborhood ambiance with killer wings
Comfy neighborhood ambiance with killer wings
Local Photos plus.Google.com


Spring Street Tavern in Northeast could definitely be described as a dive, but just as Rihanna sings about finding love in a hopeless place, we sing the praises of Spring Street wings -- a guilty pleasure that always tastes best when enjoyed in an atmosphere that's decidedly downscale. Spring Street's crispy-skinned buffalo wings are moist, meaty, and slathered in a buttery homemade buffalo sauce that has the slightly runny consistency down pat, delivering a fine balance of spice and vinegar. On the Scoville heat scale, they aren't the kind of wings that are an extreme challenge to finish, but what's the point in that anyway? Wings are meant to be dipped in thick, cooling blue cheese dressing (Spring Street makes its own, and it's chunky, sharp, and fabulous) and gobbled up. The signature Spring Wings are equally good, tossed in a sweet and hot barbecue sauce that will undoubtedly leave its mark on the corners of your mouth and linger in the corners of your mind. (355 Monroe St. NE, Minneapolis; 612.627.912)


4. Blue Door Pub
Think beyond the burger
Think beyond the burger


Precious few restaurants are worth standing out in the Minnesota elements waiting for a little table space -- like, by our count, two. One is this small St. Paul charmer, the Blue Door Pub, with a Longfellow sibling on the way. Its burgers and fries are among our favorites, but there is even more menu space to explore on this menu. The Frogtown Wings, named for the nearby neighborhood, are ultra crispy chicken wings liberally seasoned and tossed with a chunky, spicy peanut butter sauce. They're hot, sweet, savory, and succulent. Each crispy bite is full of rich, peanutty flavor, spiked with soy sauce saltiness. Move over Jiffy Burger, we've got something peanuttier. (1811 Selby Ave., St. Paul; 651.493.1865)

Massive, expertly spiced wings served with a side of blazing sauce
Massive, expertly spiced wings served with a side of blazing sauce


Step inside this no-frills location (with easy and convenient parking) and witness an epic wing fry. Most restaurants that attempt a wing will pop a modest amount into a little basket and let them go. Here, inside the barely visible kitchen, is a massive fryer filled with roiling oil, and when the orders come flying in, the wings fly out by the bucketful. The wings are massive, drummies and wings attached at the crook. They are seasoned with a dusty, crusty, hugely flavorful spice blend. The clientele in room is often a collection of men who evidently work hard for the living, including some of Saint Paul's finest (cops being a certain indicator of good, cheap eats). Be certain to get a side of the blazing hot, vinegar-tart sauce. Clear some elbow room and get to it. These addictive wings are a five-napkin affair. (647 University Ave., St. Paul; 651.224.9464)

For hardcore wings, head to the edge of the Wisconsin border
For hardcore wings, head to the edge of the Wisconsin border


There's something about the delicious punishment of a ghost pepper burn. Whether it's a test of manly insanity or just the opportunity to have a good cry, there is no bit of chicken in town that will beat the snot out of you quite like the wings at Smalley's Caribbean Barbeque. The ultimate heat, the 666 wing, coated in what's affectionately referred to as "death juice," delivered brutal punishment to Guy Fieri when he was there filming his food show. Meanwhile, owner Shawn Smalley's eyes glittered with glee. The burn doesn't have to be quite so punishing. Take it down to a mere surface-of-the-sun hot with their lesser pepper ratings and you will find a crispy, meaty hunk of chicken doused in layer upon glorious layer of flavor. They hit all the notes with a sweet, tangy, deliciously smoky burn. Simply put, these wings do not fuck around. Pound your chest and declare, "I am Testostersaur!" and conquer the most awesome kind of culinary punishment. (Brick Alley, 423 Main St., Stillwater;
The best are the Beijing style
The best are the Beijing style

Humming neon illuminates this corner of the city. The Monte Carlo shimmers like a bit of misplaced costume jewelry. Inside, the glass wall behind the bar stretches to the ceiling, glittering with bottles. While the Monte Carlo does serve a perfectly dry martini, it's the "Beijing style" chicken wings that can't be missed. The order arrives in a small wicker basket, and a tantalizing whiff of cinnamon beckons. The wings are so big they seem to have come from Austrian body-building chickens. The succulent meat is enveloped in a shatteringly crisp crust, blanketed in the Monte Carlo's unique spice blend. Each bit of the wing brings a different spice flavor. Not entirely savory, not exactly sweet, it's an entirely unidentifiable, familiar flavor. The wings were created by owner John Rimarcik. We asked him what it is that creates that unique flavor? "It's actually more like 18 different spices. Some are for flavor, some are for volume. It's important when you mix all of the spices together that the blend is exactly the same at the top as it is at the bottom. That way each order tastes the same. I can tell you some of them: cinnamon, red pepper flake, cumin, oregano, celery salt, onion powder.... That's just some of them." The whole is so much more than the sum of those simple parts. This is wing divinity. (219 Third Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.333.5900)

Previous coverage:

Top 10 French fries in the Twin Cities

Top 15 places to eat with kids in the Twin Cities

Top 10 taquerias in the Twin Cities

Top 10 steak houses in the Twin Cities

Top 10 wine bars in the Twin Cities

Top 10 Mexican restaurants in the Twin Cities

Top 10 craft cocktail bars in the Twin Cities

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Top 10 sandwiches in the Twin Cities

Top 10 Middle Eastern restaurants in the Twin Cities

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Top 10 ice cream shops in the Twin Cities

Top 10 coffeehouses in the Twin Cities

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Use Current Location

Related Locations

miles
Monte Carlo Bar & Grill

219 3rd Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55401

612-333-5900

miles
Smalley's Caribbean Barbeque and Pirate Bar

423 Main St.
Stillwater, MN 55082

651-439-5375

www.smalleysbbq.com

miles
Hickory Hut

647 University Ave. W.
St. Paul, MN 55104

651-224-9464

miles
The Blue Door Pub

1811 Selby Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55104

651-493-1865

www.thebdp.com

miles
Spring Street Tavern

355 NE Monroe St.
Minneapolis, MN 55413

612-627-9123

www.springstreettavern.com

miles
Meritage

410 Saint Peter St.
St. Paul, MN 55102

651-222-5670

www.meritage-stpaul.com

miles
International Marketplace

217 Como Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55103

651-487-3700

miles
Eli's East Food and Cocktails

815 Hennepin Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55402

612-331-0031

www.elisfoodandcocktails.com

miles
Eli's Food & Cocktails

1225 Hennepin Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55403

612-332-9997

www.elisfoodandcocktails.com

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Bennett's Chop & Railhouse

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