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Duff's Wings -- review

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Honestly, I dunno what you all are looking for in a wing if you don't like Duff's.

Went for breakfast (yep, Macallan 18, I eat wings at odd hours) and it was lovely and quiet with the door wide open. Couldn't have been more relaxed, ungrimy or pleasant if they tried. This was at the new College/Bathurst location.

Had the combo 1: 20 wings, fries, small soda with 10 medium and 10 medium hot.

Neither were HOT-hot but I loved the vinegary, bite. I will try the hot next time, their spicing, imho is pretty standard, not extreme. And the SNUs quoted are definately inflated.

The wings, however, are really well cooked. They are fried, and although they are quite big they eat like small wings. IMHO, smaller wings are better because they are crispier so a big wing is a negative in my books. The ultimate compliment is a big wing that eats like a small one and these are they.

Fries were great too. The celery came with two blue cheese pots. First time I have not run out of celery or blue cheese before finishing the wings (YAAAAY!). Also no carrots, again YAAAY!.

all in all, a terrific breakfast

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  1. Wings sound great for breakfast. What time was your breakfast?

    2 Replies
    1. re: thinks too much

      noon

      1. re: orangewasabi

        There go my hopes of eating out for my non-conventional breakfasts.

    2. Glad you enjoyed Duffs! Maybe I'll meet you for a wing fling breakfast sometime. Duffs is the best!

      1. I believe it's that strong vinegary bite that's the deal breaker for people who don't like Duff's. I'm fine with it, but I find that taste is something that's unique to Duff's.

        I had some wings last week at Turtle Jack's. Their wings are excellent. You have the option of getting them naked or dusted and they have a lot of interesting sauces. Just the right amount of sauce too. I'd take them over Duff's. TJ's also does this thing called a chicken wing sandwich. It's basically this huge piece of boneless , breaded chicken breast that's cooked in one of their wing sauces. It's great!!!

        1 Reply
        1. re: Brain of J

          I quite like the Turtle Jack's wings too (Waterdown) When dusted, the sauce soaks right in . . .mmmm. Duff's is better though, imho, because they are crispy and downtown.

        2. - Consistent wing quality and cooking
          - Sauces that don't overwhelm with vinegar and/or salt

          2 Replies
          1. re: embee

            I ordered take out from the Bayview Duff's on Friday night. I live nearby and don't have the patience to wait for a table. The food was ready at the exact time they quoted me and my order was accurate. They did a nice job. I too prefer the wings of Turtle Jack's but they don't have a location in town. l

            1. re: andyman2

              I had wings from Turtle Jacks in Brampton and would never put them in the good wings category. Strictly average from my perspective.

          2. Duff's on Bayview - service is horrible. Had reservations for a table of 6, I got there early and the owner/manager wouldn't allow me to sit down at our table until at least 3 of my party arrived. The wings here are NOT that good that lousy service makes it worthwhile.

            Anybody that asks me about this location, i tell them to find a more worthwhile place to spend $$ on mediocre wings & lousy service...I have never heard of such a ludicrous sitting policy...have you? Or was it just reserved for Asian parties?

            12 Replies
            1. re: fooddiva7

              Duffs on Bayview is unjustifiably over-crowded

              1. re: fooddiva7

                fooddiva7 - This seating policy is quite common in busy restaurants. It is to prevent someone camping at a table for 6 and waiting for friends who dribble in an hour late. If it is a restaurant's policy to give away a table when the party is more than 15 minutes late, you can imagine it is a little difficult to kick out someone already seated. Playing the race card is so wrong. Duff's has 100's of regulars who happen to be Asian.

                shekamoo - You may be right, but given the wing options in the general area - St. Louis, Chicken Deli and McSorley's - many consider Duff's the best of a bad lot and they certainly serve the largest wings. I think for most people wings are an excuse for an informal get together - eat with your hands, have a beer or two, laugh, see who can handle the hottest sauce, have a few more beers, more laughs then hurl on the way home.

                1. re: sumdumgoy

                  Is there a better Buffalo-style wing in the GTA?

                  I like Anchor Bar's (and few other places in Buffalo) better, but, in Toronto I can't find a better unbattered, crisp, fried, large, cooked to order/request, Buffalo-wing.

                  1. re: sumdumgoy

                    even conceding everything you say about wings main mode of consumption, I still find Duffs overcrowded, perhaps because I find their wings to be nothing special or even considerably better than average

                    1. re: sumdumgoy

                      Sumdumgoy- thanks for clarifying! All in all, the wings nor the experience were not worth it for me. I will move on!

                    2. re: fooddiva7

                      Yes, not seating partial tables is a pretty standard policy. Some places will not seat you until the entire party is present. Waiting until half are there seems pretty reasonable. How much longer were they going to be anyways?

                      1. re: Atahualpa

                        Thanks for clarifying! I was about 20 mins early and my party of 6 were on time. There was nowhere for me to wait other than to stand there waiting for my party while our empty table sat there. FYI- I've been in corporate restaurant management for over 10 yrs and it's should be about the customer and only the customer. Though it is standard practice to not seat partial tables, it is pretty clear that Duff's is not a customer service leader in ensuring their patrons are made to feel welcome.

                        1. re: fooddiva7

                          I have heard all about Duffs since moving to Toronto and thought I would try them out today on my way home. They had the "Please Wait to be Seated" sign posted at the front door when I walked in and there were only 4 tables of customers in there. With 2 waitress' and a older guy behind the bar, they were definitely not running off their feet. After waiting and waiting and watching the 2 waitress' talking to each other at the back and a guy behind the bar chatting with customers I decided to take my business elsewhere. Ashame the service is that bad because I have heard such good things about their wings. First and last time trying here.

                          1. re: Righty4

                            Guys & Gals.....try Wild WIngs at one of their downtown locations. Been to the one in Brampton- place is tiny but the service associates are far superior in customer service skills then Duff's at Bayview/Eglinton will ever be and they hustle.

                          2. re: fooddiva7

                            i kind of agree. you guys will sit and possibly order a beer or 3. we all know that beer equals profit.
                            the only defense i could give (and its not much of one) is they may have wanted to use that table to seat another party before yours and they knew another 6er was opening up.

                            that place is insane on Tuesdays and any night there's a hockey game.

                            by the way, i never ever order their hot wings. too much vinegar. but their spicy bbq is really nice as is their hot honey garlic.
                            they also take fry requests (kind of). i always ask for well-done fries. they aren't nearly as soggy and blanches as St Louis' fries.

                            -----
                            St Louis
                            5307 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M2N5R4, CA

                            1. re: atomeyes

                              Try one of the Wild Wings downtown locations.

                              1. re: fooddiva7

                                Wild Wings is only okay. Duff's is much better IMHO. Service not withstanding.
                                BTW, I've never had a bad service at Duff's.

                                DT

                      2. You make the statement: "Honestly, I dunno what you all are looking for in a wing if you don't like Duff's". I'm more than happy to fill you in :-)

                        1. Pleasant ownership that appreciates customers rather than barely tolerating them.
                        2. Wings that are fried crisp, not soggy with rubbery skin.
                        3. Wings that are still moist inside, not dried out.
                        4. Sauce that is tasty, rather than pulpy and bitter.
                        5. Decent sides, such as fresh-cut fries, not frozen.
                        6. Room for staff and diners to pass-by without bumping my chair & table
                        7. Fair Pricing
                        8. Parking would be nice, but not essential.

                        Sadly, Duff's fails BADLY on all these counts, but all would be forgiven if the wings were great... they just aren't. They are OK, compared to total garbage like Wild Wing, but nowhere close to ANY local pizza joint in New York state. It seems every mom-and-pop pizza joint south of the border can make great wings, but Torontonians are unable to.

                        I'm growing convinced I am going to have to go back into the restaurant biz despite swearing I never would, and open my own place just so we can have a decent wing joint in Toronto. OR, If you own a pub or bar, contact me and I'll come be your partner and show you how easy it is to do wings right, and make great food :-)

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: TorontoTips

                          5 is asking a bit much.

                          All others I haven't experienced save for one visit out of several with dry, over cooked wings. IIRC one of the guys asked for them "Well done." Perhaps it was some sort of reprisal.

                          DT

                          1. re: TorontoTips

                            Duff's. Not impressed.

                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7128...
                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9933...
                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9974...

                            If you're going to open a wing place in Toronto, just clone the Anchor Bar recipe. You'll have me as a regular in no time.

                            1. re: TorontoTips

                              ANY local pizza joint in New York state, makes better wings huh? I'm finding that a little hard to believe. I'm betting that if the same wings were being served in Toronto they'd be deemed inferior simply because of this false notion of regional authenticity.

                            2. do they offer you a choice of dry or wet? I prefer day wings but most places I've been to in the city serve them wet - so I end up ordering something else...

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: Thatcher

                                No

                                They serve Buffalo Wings. They're wet.

                                DT

                                1. re: Davwud

                                  No, at Duff's, they can be ordered dry too. That's the way I get 'em, with the dealth sauce on the side. I think their wings are excellent. Always crisp skin and juicy meat.

                                  1. re: acd123

                                    So when they come dry are they just plain??

                                    DT

                                    1. re: Davwud

                                      Yes, plain, crisp skin and moist meat, although they are seasoned with salt. Dill dip and death on the side. Excellent combo.

                                      1. re: acd123

                                        Nice

                                        DT