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Bring Buffalo to Union County!

I'm jonsing for some Buffalo wings.

You know, the real thing, not some take-off of them. Makes me crazy when a place says they have them and then you get some poor representation of them made with some other kind of sauce, which bears no resemblence to Tabasco. Or the wings come out soft and sort of underdone, like they don't understand the skin should be on the crisp side.

I've had some decent ones here and there, for instance, Jeffrey's in Westfield makes a respectable wing - but it sure isn't a Buffalo wing, even tho he's serving it was blue cheese dressing. I think I had them at the Tavern if I'm not mistaken too, and a few other bar type places (probably the Jolly Trolly, maybe it was Charlie Browns, which burned down the other morning anyway so that's out). Anyway, suffice it to say none have come close to what I know a Buffalo wing should taste like.

My favorites are made in NYC at Blondies - if anyone knows them, then you know exactly what I'm aiming for. Those ARE the real deal.

So, anyplace around Union Co. that I don't know about? I'm sure there has to be. I really don't want to go out of the county - it isn't like I'm on a quest major here, I want it to be as close to home as possible but surely this can't be a complete wasteland for this one food, can it? I know I can make them at home, however, my husband isn't big on them and making such a mess for myself isn't very appealing. Rather go out for dinner, let him have what he wants, and let me make a pig out of myself on what I want :-)

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  1. Hi Laurie! This is off your topic, but can you tell me if that Hotel is still open in Cranford? I think it was called the Cranford Inn? After I read the "Jolly Trolley" (which brought back happy memories as a child :) I thought about the hotel's restaurant. Strange location, but I suppose many, many years ago it was busy.

    Well, just thought I would ask. I cannot help you on the wings!!! Sorry.

    Have a great weekend!

    2 Replies
    1. re: Angelina

      Hi Angelina. As far as I'm aware, it still is open. I know they put up a parking garage right by it, kind of blocks the view of some of the rooms I assume. I searched online and there does not seem to be a website, however, here is their address/phone #:

      1 S Union Ave
      Cranford, NJ 07016
      (908) 276-2121

      Funny thing is, you actually DID help about the wings! In doing that search, it mentioned the restaurant "The Porch" which we'd never been to and lo and behold, it says they serve wings! So, I think we'll have to give it a shot one night. Worst comes to worse they won't be what I'm looking for, and if I'm lucky I'll have found someplace close to home to satisfy my occassional craving.

      1. re: Angelina

        Hey,

        I know this is a very old link. I was looking at this site for the first time tonight. I have to say, we try to go to places for Wings and have found the Cranford Hotel to have the best around. I told a buddy of mine from Buffalo about it. He said, "come on, you can't get good Buffalo Wings in Cranford, NJ." I brought him there, and he said they were certainly real good wings. My kids beg to go to the Hotel for wings as well. I would give it a try.

        ron

      2. That is so funny! I can't beleive I remember that place! Well, I hope you enjoy your wings!

        1. Unless "The Porch" restaurant at The Cranford Hotel has had some kind of renaissance, the food will probably be as dreadful as the couple of times that I ate there.

          Please allow me to recount my second bad experience there:

          My SO & I ordered the "Chef's sauteed veggie platter" as an appetizer. After about 15 minutes, the waitress returned to announce that "the chef doesn't have any vegetables to saute". Hmmm....this was not a good sign, in my opinion, but we opted to skip an appetizer, since we were hoping that our entrees would be coming out soon. Of course, lingering in my mind was the thought that a restaurant not having any vegetables to sautee at 6:30 p.m. was an indication of some serious problems in that kitchen--either in the nature of bad management or perhaps a failure to rely on fresh vegetables. After perhaps another 10 minutes, the waitress emerged again to announce that the "Veal and mushrooms" that I had ordered was not available.

          By this time, I was not about to order something that I would later be told was unavailable. So, in view of the fact that there were other veal dishes on the menu and there were many dishes featuring mushrooms, I felt that I needed some guidance, and so I asked, "Is the chef out of veal, or is he out of mushrooms?". The response--"No, he's out of veal and mushrooms!".

          So, unwittingly, the waitress had revealed that nothing was actually cooked to order in that kitchen, and in fact, may have revealed that the kitchen relied on pre-cooked, pre-portioned foods (Chef's Sauteed Veggies could well have been a frozen microwaveable item that they had run out of, and the same could apply to Veal & Mushrooms). I decided to play it safe and order the burger and fries combo that seemed to be on every other table.

          Eventually, the burger and fries arrived and they proved to be quite mediocre. Since my previous visit had been...unimpressive at best, and this visit proved to be even worse, The Cranford Hotel went to the top of my "never return" list.

          1. Ok, you swayed me totally from going :-)
            Thanks for the warning!

            1. You know that Buffalo Wings are made with Frank's Red Hot Sauce, not tabasco, right?

              deep fry wings in hot oil...
              toss in sauce made of...
              1/2 Frank's Red Hot sauce
              1/2 melted butter/margarine

              that's it.

              1. I thought the Cranford Hotel was torn down and a new bldg was going up in its place...diagonal to The Office, yes?

                1. You could well be correct since it has been a couple of years since I was in Cranford. If it has been torn down, it is certainly no loss to the culinary world!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Ted in Central NJ

                    Nah, but for the biz lunch crowd it was a great hang

                  2. The Cranford Hotel is still there as is the Office. They have created a huge structure in front of the Cranford Hotel and a massive parking garage across from it. I find the Office to be OK for franchise food (Fridays, etc.) For the most part the Cranford Hotel is not very good. Most of the food is far too salty for my taste and I like salt. I think in Cranford the only pub type place for very enjoyable food is Antone's which is down the street from the Office/Cranford Hotel. I have never had a bad meal, good atmosphere and a good selection of beers. Their wings are a bit vinegary but pretty good. I do wish I could find a place in Union County that had some good wings though.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: aladdnzane

                      Thanks for the update. While driving by it was hard to tell what was happening in that tight diamond. Why they are jamming that many large bldgs in a tiny space with traffic gathering at every side AND the train station is beyond me.

                      The rest least they could have done (grin) was ADD a decent restaurant!

                    2. Spanish restaurant (Cervantes?) seems pretty good. Don't know if they have Buffalo wings ;) The Buffalo wings we get at Famous Dave's (one in Mountainside?) are pretty good.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: rakh

                        Cervantes is a Spanish restaurant and therefore, does not obviously serve chicken wings. For that matter, it's only fair at that - we ate there this past summer. Wasn't the best spanish around, not terrible, but not great although the garlic soup was killer (in a good way)

                        I've had the wings at Famous Dave's - they're ok, but still not quite what I'm looking for but have done in a pinch :-) Actually, I happen to love their catfish fingers!

                        1. re: sivyaleah

                          We find the best thing about Cervantes is eating outside in the summer, and that would be much more fun if the food were better. We've found that the apps are much better than the entrees, so you can imagine what our table looks like. As for wings, having gone to college in Buffalo, I feel your pain, and yes Blondies is the closest thing. My son likes the wings at Molly Mcguires in Clark. Not bad when you need a fix, but he likes mine better which are puy in a taster oven untill they're good and crispy and then immersed in a mixture of Franks and margerine. We went on a "wing tour" of Buffalo a couple of years ago, nothing like bonding with you kid over plates and plates of wings. Can't waith till we can have a beer with it.

                      2. Nothing in Union County that has passed these lips qualifies as a good "Buffalo Wing". This Buffalo native yearns for that marvelous heat/vinegar mixture that tastes best when dipped in blue cheese. I'm open to suggestions for local opportunities... I just haven't found it yet!