Wing Daddy Manalapan
Took the kids and made the trip up route 9 to the Ashley Plaza this afternoon in the hopes of finding good wings. Let's hear it for high hopes - we have a winner.
To start with, this is not a place to take your mother-in-law. It is small, with a roll of paper towels on every table and the food comes hot and messy, in short, a wing joint ;o) Although, I was impressed by the table of reading material available to peruse while you wait as, in addition to a newspaper there was also a recent copy of both Gourmet and New York magazines.
We ordered 8 wings garlic/parmesan style, 25 medium buffalo, and one order of mozzarella sticks, one cheese fries, and one mac n cheese. First out was the cheese fries which my son declared the best ever. I know I have panned other places for not using fresh cut fries and Wing Daddy doesn't either, but these batter-coated ones were sooo tasty and the cheese sauce as well. The wings hit the table about a second too late to catch the final fry as we inhaled them, but then the frenzy started anew as we tore into the wings. They were just the right size and well coated with tasty sauce, especially the buffalo style. I dipped the garlic ones into a nice mild wasabi mayo dipping sauce and liked that combo also. Even the mac n cheese and cheese sticks were good.
Next time I will try the sweet potato fries and the maple wings along with more of those yummy buffalo wings. It's nice not to have to drive to Jack's for good wings.
He was sharing space with the sandwich guy in the small Ashley Plaza strip mall. He did put a bright yellow banner above the door, but it was still easy to miss when cruising Route 9 unless you got backed up in traffic immediately in front of the strip and spotted the sign.
I found the chicken-themed decor rather appealing. Frankly, what he was serving was a heckuva lot more delicious than the mediocre food you'll find at Tavern on the Green.
We tried Wing Daddy on a random Wednesday afternoon a few weeks back. I have to say the Brown Sugar Maple Wings were AWESOME. Having said that, the sweet potato fries were less than average and the onion rings were nowhere near good enough. Also, it took about 20 minutes for the food to come out, and it came out piecemeal. By the time we finished the wings, the rest came out. I may go back for takeout for the wings, but a wing place shouldn't take so long at lunchtime.
Well, I guess I'm going to be the dissenting voice here on this place.
I found myself in the area again the other day and (as above when I showed up on Monday) I didn't review this thread first so some of complaints *have* been noted, but, this being the internet....
First, let me say that I'm usually a lone diner, one not particularly outgoing or talkative. "Meeting the owner/cook", whether in an upscale restaurant or a mom & pop joint means nothing to me- if anything, it just makes me uncomfortable. I'm there to eat, not make friends. I don't need to know their names and I prefer that they "let their food do the talking". Also, I've always felt that while the service people or owner are busy "making friends" with some customers, it often means they're ignoring others (the latter group usually includes "me", of course -g- ).
So, my first impression was - at 11:45am - there was no place to park! The left rear of the parking area had a "no right turn" so if you didn't find a spot, out of the strip mall you went. After a wait for parking, I was surprised to find Wing Daddy empty save for one person at a table, who turned out to be a family member.
The TV was on (too loud) and what's up with EVERYPLACE needing to have a !@#$ television these days? Bars, pizzerias, doctor's waiting rooms, auto repair shops, now even diners and indie fast food joints? I notice Wing Daddy's, like many others, have the TV facing the employees, rather than the bulk of customer seating. Nothing is more annoying than ordering and as you try to make eye contact with the person THEY"RE LOOKING UP OVER YOUR HEAD at some screaming Fox News program or "ball game". (OT- I had- "had"- a DENTIST who did that! WTF!).
Next thing I noticed was the absolute mess behind the counter. Boxes everywhere, no order, no room on the counter for anything else, etc. Not very appetizing. (My first thought was, "Oh-uh, my wife sure wouldn't eat here by the look of that food prep area.")
While waiting for my order, the place filled up with some "regulars"- the place got a bit noisy and the employees became a bit more animated, etc. My order arrived promptly but I had no other contact with the crew until paying.
The wings were very good but I was annoyed to find two of them (out of 8) undercooked to the point of being bloody inside. Being "finger food", one does not discover that until after the first bite and call me too cautious, but undercooked chicken makes me squeamish.
I received a plastic container marked "BL" which I took to be the blue cheese dressing I ordered but no celery- was I supposed to get it with my wings? The menu board was unclear.
Finally, the "French fries". As noted, I did not review this thread before ordering but the promotional material on the wall seemed to stress the fries along with the wings, so I order the "naked fries". As other have said, they're those frozen "batter dipped" abominations. What is so hard about cutting fresh potatoes and doing a true, double fried french fry? For me, there are few things better than REAL potatoes, with real potato flavor. Besides a bit salt, they need nothing else. These THINGS, while "crispy" (packing peanuts are "crispy", I'm looking for taste), seldom have any potato taste and so are often "seasoned" or, in this case, topped with some other food.
Would I go back? Sure. (But I wouldn't order the fries.)
There's a good reason you can't find it, JessKidden. As I mentioned in my report, other than the fact that it's open until midnight on Friday and Saturday, there is nothing re: hours of operation or that it's closed on Monday. This is definitely a major lack unfortunately common on all too many restaurant websites. Why they don't think it's important to include this basic information is a total mystery to me, but it really ticks me off!
All that said, I hope this does not turn you off on trying Wing Daddy.
I finally made over to Wing Daddy last week for lunch with my boys and I must admit that everything we had was excellent and deserving of all the praise bestowed by the OP and others.
I ordered the following: 8 Buffalo Maniac Wings with Blue Cheese Dressing, 8 Chicken Fingers, Cheese Fries, and Mac and Cheese.
In no time at all, the food was brought out. Sandy was thoughtful enough to bring out some fresh celery as well as a few extra sauces to try out (the wasabi and the maniac plus hot sauce). All the sauces were excellent. The blue cheese was chock full of real blue cheese while the wasabi was cool with a nice bit of heat at the end (would go perfectly drizzled on a tuna roll). I like things spicy and must admit that the maniac wasn’t hot enough for me. Don’t get me wrong, it has a nice kick but I like things (forgive the Emerilism) “kicked up a notch.” Evidently, Sandy had assumed as much and provided the Maniac Plus sauce which provided the spiciness I was looking for.
As for the wings, they were great. IMHO, wings are hard to make properly. Either they are crunchy and overcooked or moist and missing the elusive exterior crust. Here however, Sandy does the Anchor Bar proud by getting them just right; an excellent crunchy exterior with a moist and juicy interior. Just perfect. The chicken fingers were similarly prepared; moist yet crunchy. The French fries, most probably the weakest item of the lot (frozen not fresh), were decent and helped by the Velveeta cheese sauce (cheese makes everything taste better). My oldest proclaimed the homemade mac and cheese to be different from that served at home (the boxed kind) but very good none the less. As we were leaving, the same child proclaimed that everything was “so good” and he couldn’t wait to return. I decided to take a few things home for the wife (two more orders of wings (Buffalo Medium and Honey Teriyaki) as well as a small order of mac and cheese). Obviously, the DH loved the wings. But for the distance and the diet, I would be ordering from WD on a weekly basis. My highest recommendation.
So, it's 9:45 on Wednesday, and we're hungry. After having had a wonderful late lunch at David Drake's, we were looking for something casual, relatively light, and very close to home. Given the hour, the last, in particular, severely limited our choices. But, suddenly, I had an epiphany. Wing Daddy! I recalled something about it staying open until midnight, so I checked the website. Darn! That was only Friday and Saturday. I didn't see any other hours listed, so I figured I'd take a chance and call. The phone was answered by a cheerful male voice.
"How late do you serve?"
"Until ten. Do you want to put in an order?"
"If I order something, do I have to take it out?"
"No. You can eat in. I'll be here for a while cleaning up."
"I'll check with my husband and get back to you."
We grabbed our jackets, got into the car, and in less than five minutes, we were at Wing Daddy's. The cheerful voice on the phone belonged to the owner, Sandy, who greeted us warmly. Despite the hour, he didn't rush us as we checked out the menu, trying to decide what to order.
For me: 8 Buffalo wings (medium) with garlic ranch dip
For Mr. R.: 15 Honey Teriyaki wings with creamy wasabi dip. His plan: Eat half and take the other half home for lunch.
To share: sweet potato fries and mac 'n' cheese
First out were the fries. I adore sweet potato fries, and these were perfect! Crisp, without being greasy. Next came the homemade mac 'n' cheese. As Goldilocks would say, "Not too little cheese, not too much cheese, but just right!"
Finally, the wings arrived hot out of the fryer. Unlike others on this board, I am not a wings "maven." But I do know what tastes good. And, holy moly! Those little suckers were seriously delicious! And those dipping sauces, which had a bit of a kick to them, added another dimension of flavor.
I left over two pieces (= 1 wing) and, true to his plan, Mr. R. ate half his order. We took them home along with some additional wasabi sauce and a container of Sandy's homemade macaroni salad. The wings reheated nicely and remained tasty. The macaroni salad was good though I think it would be even better with just a touch less mayo.
There are several tables, and as seal mentioned in his report, on each, there is a roll of paper towels. Also, a bucket for disgarded chicken bones. While one wouldn't expect anything fancy in the way of decor, I think Sandy has done a really good job of making it quite pleasant, especially with the use of all kinds of chicken-related wall art.
No doubt about it. To echo seal, Wing Daddy is a definitely winner!
Wow! A place that actually stays open until midnight?! And that's not a diner! In Manalapan?! Unheard of! lol
Ashley Plaza is where Aangan (now in Freehold) was located for many years. I'm pretty sure the Indian restaurant that took over that space is now defunct. It's the right-hand corner. Maybe Wing Daddy is now in that space? Mike's Sandwich Shop is near the left-hand corner.
We'll definitely give Wing Daddy a try sometime soon.