Tess on the Town: Wingery reaches GJ


WHAT: Buffalo Wild Wings

WHERE: Mesa Mall, 2412 Highway 6&50

WHEN: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Sunday 11 a.m. to midnight

COST: Wings ranging from $9.99 for 12 to $37.99 for 50

CONTACT: 242-3151

Before spicy fried chicken wings were made famous by a bar in Buffalo, N.Y., in the 1980s, the appendage normally was thrown away or reserved for stock.

What a waste of food.

Fast forward 30 years, and Buffalo wings are one of America’s favorite greasy, guilty, spicy pleasures. Now, just about every town has a few chicken wing shacks.

And, the newly opened Buffalo Wild Wings just added a little competition to the scene in Grand Junction.

The chain and franchise operation opened in Grand Junction this month, spreading west from numerous locations on the Front Range. Founded in 1981 in Ohio by a Buffalo native, the outfit has more than 600 locations in 45 states.

Buffalo Wild Wings has settled in the Mesa Mall spot previously occupied by Smuggler’s and before that, by Krispy Kreme, both short-lived enterprises.

We joined the very large crowd packing the restaurant last Sunday. Because the Olympics were winding to a halt and the Broncos had played their first preseason game on Thursday, the place was predictably crowded, but not crazy crowded. It’s not a small venue.

Lines were abundant, but so was the staff. Diners were ushered in about every five minutes, as soon as the tables could be emptied and cleared off. We waited about 30 minutes for our order, typical in a new, packed place.

Our first experience, an off-putting one, was the cranked-up background music. The din made it difficult to have a normal conversation, place an order or concentrate on any of the sports games on TV.

But, we adjusted our decibel level to the shout range and noticed a vast array of wall-mounted television sets trained on various sporting events. A perfect setting for a Sunday afternoon. Wild Wings will definitely be popular with the sporting crowd. They also offer interactive poker and trivia games played with other patrons of the restaurant.

In addition to wings (bone-in and boneless), BWW serves appetizers, burgers, sandwiches, salads, wraps and flatbread bakes.

Our table, no surprise, decided to focus our gusto on wings, which come with 15 different types of sauce or five different rubs.

When ordering 50 wings, customers can choose five flavors, so there was minimal bickering over our decision. The winners were Teriyaki, Caribbean jerk, Thai curry, medium Buffalo and spicy garlic, all about mid-range on the Scoville scale.

The wings were of medium to healthy size, hot, crispy and spun in great flavors. BWW has had a few years to perfect their spices. The taste of cinnamon and nutmeg in the jerk shone through Scotch bonnet sear. The Teriyaki was sweet and salty and mild enough for anybody. The spicy garlic was buttery, pungent and with a good after-burner flavor.

Each of us had a different favorite, but all of us liked every single choice.

Because these medium-hot wings were not too intimidating, those of you with a cast-iron tongue might want to up the ante a little. BWW’s hottest flavors are mango habanero, wild and blazing.

The wing joint has some reasonably priced libations, but check before you order. We ordered a couple of house margaritas that were $7.50 a pop, versus $3.50 for a gin and tonic.

BWW’s specials are: wings for 60 cents on Tuesdays; boneless wings for 60 cents on Thursdays; happy hour from 2–7 p.m. and 10 p.m. to midnight Monday through Friday, domestic beer is $3, imported beer is $4 and craft beers are $5. Captain Morgan, Absolut and Jack Daniels are $3.

Let’s see, what extraneous part of a chicken has yet to be utilized? I’m thinking of the delicious bite just before the feathered tail. My mom called it the pullet (or pull-it?).

Readers, help me, what is the proper term for that plump chicken tail meat?

PIZZA WITH A PURPOSE: Order a meal at Pablo’s Pizza in downtown Grand Junction on Wednesday, Aug. 22, and 15 percent of the proceeds will go to Sustainable Roots. The American nonprofit currently is building greenhouses and teaching English in the community of Cosanga in Ecuador.

QUOTE: “Treat the Earth well. It was not given to you by your parents. It was loaned to you by your children.” — Kenyan proverb

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