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Dec 11, 2008 07:43 AM

one more for Durham, NC - where to get good wings?


I recently have been on the search for a place to get good chicken wings (preferably takeout) around the Durham, NC area. My nearest (and really only dedicated) option is Wingstop. Can't say I am the biggest fan of their wings, however, largely due to the fact that they're literally the smallest wings I've ever seen, and the flavors are just BLAH. I realize there are several places around that don't specialize in wings, but serve them nonetheless. I remember trying wings at Randy's Pizza, randomly enough, a few years back and recalling them being not bad. However, I have NO idea who/where other places serve good wings. I prefer hot wings, I don't care if they're fried or baked, and as I mentioned earlier, I'd prefer a place that I can call up and do a takeout order for game nights. Even if anyone has a do-it-yourself recipe for wings that are really good and worth the time and effort in lieu of buying them at a restaurant, I'm all ears!!! As far as flavors go, I'm open to anything, but definitely prefer hot wings. Having been to the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, NY (home of the buffalo wing), my expectations are high, but I have an open mind nonetheless...


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  1. Armadillo Grill has good wings and a location at Duke


    1. I'm a native Buffalonian who lived in CH for 4 years, and I have sad news for you. There are not really any good wings in the Triangle area - if you're comparing to true Buffalo wings (though I don't think Anchor Bar wings are that great...check out Bar Bill if you're ever in Western NY again). Armadillo's are ok, though very saucy, and Carolina Brewery (in CH) are a bit better. Tyler's in Carrboro also has passable wings, though I believe they serve them with ranch, which is a major no no.

      But you can make decent wings if you have a deep frier. Your basic sauce is a bottle of Frank's Red Hot, 2T melted butter, 2T brown sugar, and 2T ketchup. Mix well, marinate wings in about 1/2 the sauce for a few hours, dry well, and then deep fry. After pulling out of fryer, toss wings in remaining sauce and toss in oven for a couple more minutes to crisp outside. You can also avoid the deep fryer by just baking or pan frying, but that's not as good.

      16 Replies
      1. re: RosemaryHoney

        Bull City Wings has some tasty wings. I like mine naked (no breading) and all drums. Bull City has a drive up window which is handy.

        The wings down here may not meet your standards, and that's fine. Learn to love what's done well here: BBQ, tacos, craft beer.

        1. re: Tom from Raleigh

          No need to get prickly! The OP was specifically asking about wings (not tacos or BBQ or craft beers), and indicated that his preference is original hot wings like those in Buffalo (not naked wings), and noting he's not a fan of small wings (like those at Bull City, IMHO), so I was just giving a bit of advice. I do agree with you re: the BBQ and tacos (though not craft beers), but it's not really relevant to this post.

          1. re: RosemaryHoney

            RosemaryHoney - thanks for the wing recipe; I will definitely give it a shot next time I have company over to watch a ballgame! And for the record, I have to agree... there are some great places to get BBQ and tacos in NC, but I have yet to find a craft beer made in NC that is on my top 10 list :-)

          2. re: Tom from Raleigh

            Tom, you're right. Wings aren't exactly "NC food"... just got the urge for them the other day, hence the note. You never know where you might find good sort of ANY variety - experience has taught me that much. You mentioned BBQ - any recommendations on where to get good BBQ in the Triangle area? What about tacos?

            I have heard of Bull City wings, and will definitely give them a try. Thanks for the recommendation.

            1. re: Needgoodeats

              I'm not an expert on Buffalo wings, because I haven't sampled them in their native environment to understand the nuances. Perhaps my post above came across wrong. I didn't intend it to be prickly or judgemental at all. I merely meant to suggest that if you lower your expectations relative to the ideal version of your favorite food from home, you will be disappointed less frequently. The other solution as posted above is to make them at home.

              When I moved down here from Chicago 5 years ago, I missed my favorite foods like a Chicago style hot dog or an Italian Beef sandwich. Those things don't exist here in the same manner. Instead, I learned to seek out the best of what's available here. In doing so, my post went off topic.

              My favorite place for Q right now is The Pit in Raleigh. It's a good introduction to the styles that are available. While you're there check out what they have on tap. If you like craft beer, you'll find something worthwhile at The Pit.

              Beyond The Pit, there are a number of great places for Q, such as Wilber's in Goldsboro, Allen & Son in CH, a number of options in Lexington, Skylight Inn in Ayden.

              Durham has an awesome taco scene. There are so many good choices that it's hard to list them all for fear of leaving one out.

              Few may realize it but the Triangle has an exploding craft beer scene. Check out The Federal or Tyler's in Durham to get a better picture. As far as retailers, Sam's Blue Light in Durham is one of the top three beer retailers in the state.

              1. re: Tom from Raleigh

                Hey Tom, no offense taken! Thanks for your recommendations, I will definitely try The Pit at some point soon. I have been to Tyler's in Durham; they have some pretty good beers on tap and I do frequent Sam's Blue Light from time to time (I agree - their selection is huge). Maybe I misunderstood what you meant by "local craft beer scene". Did you mean places that sell or serve craft beers in general or craft beers made in NC?

                AND I have to ask you, though it's way off topic - what did you come up with in terms of local places to get an approximation of the chicago style hot dog or an italian beef sandwich?

                1. re: Needgoodeats

                  With regard to beer, I meant both places that serve craft beer made from outside NC as well as beer from NC. Foothills, Triangle Brewing, Highland, Duck Rabbit, Pisgah and Big Boss are all brewing great beer here in NC.

                  I wasn't able to find any local places that serve and Italian beef or a Chicago-style dog. I stopped looking. I get back to Chicago occassionally and I always grab a beef from Al's on Taylor St. There's a place in Clayton that I've been meaning to check out, though.

                  1. re: Tom from Raleigh

                    Hi Tom from Raleigh. You might like "Cloos' Coney Island" in Raleigh for your favorite dog. It is near NC State. He has those varieties you mentioned. My son's hockey team went there regularly when we lived in the area, otherwise I doubt I would have ever heard of the place. We loved it!
                    Also, my husband bragged on the wings at a bar in Cary called "Woody's."

                    1. re: Lewes17266

                      My Parents are from Brooklyn, my wife is from Coney Island and I living in Brooklyn while going to collage. The only place where I have heard hot dogs being called Coney Island is living in Indiana.

                      1. re: chazzer

                        That is interesting. When I hear "Coney Island" I think of a hot dog.

                        1. re: Lewes17266

                          I'm visiting Michigan this week. The Detroit suburbs are studded with places called X's "Coney Island" that serve hotdogs, burgers, etc.

                          Judging by the Redwings paraphernalia at Cloo's, they come from this tradition. It isn't a particularly Chicago-y hotdog at Cloos but it is pretty good.

                2. re: Tom from Raleigh

                  Cloo's Coney Island is in Mission Valley and they do have vienna beef hot dogs. Sometimes they're out, so if you're really on a mission call ahead. For Chicago style beef go to Hungry's in Clayton on Hwy. 70 near the high school. The people who own it are from Chicago and roast the beef on site. It's very good and the people are sooo nice! http://hungrysofclayton.com/default.aspx

                3. re: Needgoodeats

                  Allen & Sons on Millhouse is some good NC BBQ. So is Tony's on the main drag in Hillsborough. I had friends who LOVED Hog Heaven right off 85 (north of 9th?...can't recall street name), which I thought was ok...but I did grow up on good ol' Kentucky sauce BBQ, as opposed to NC BBQ, so I'm still not always down :)

                  1. re: RosemaryHoney

                    HH is on Guess Rd. off I-85. It's okay, I think their fried chicken is their better offering. My three fave BBQ places are Allen & Son in CH for NC style pulled pork, The Q Shack in Durham for Texas style BBQ brisket, and Smokey's Shack is Morrisville for their ribs and smoked chicken wings.

                    1. re: bbqme

                      OOOooohh! I forgot about Q shack. The original is the best - or maybe I'm just negatively influenced by eating BBQ at the mall - but that's a "chain" I miss now that I'm out of the Carolinas.

                      1. re: RosemaryHoney

                        Dan Ferguson split with his partner, which led to the closing of the mall Q Shack location. His partner got the Raleigh location and Dan is back at Durham's original Q Shack and their qua;lity level is back to what it used to be.

            2. You know what I miss, coming from the Chesapeake Bay area? Real crabcakes. Everything I've had down here is full of mush.

              Anyway, that aside, I haven't ever been to Buffalo, so can't really say for sure, but I haven't had any really tremendous wings down here. The ones at Tylers aren't bad, and you can always ask for blue cheese instead of ranch (they have it for their salads). They're happy to sub for you.

              1. I was fortunate to be working in a restaurant supply store when Buffalo Wings hit the scene in Norfolk, VA. Sean, of Calz wings was from Buffalo and he and his entire family moved to Norfolk to start a restaurant that became a pretty large local chain. They are still the best wings I have ever had. I was pretty surprised when I had wings from the Wingman in Carrboro recently--nearly as good as my memory serves of Calz. They are on 54 heading out of Carrboro in the shopping center with FoodLion and the SECU.

                1. I know the original poster was asking for takeout wings; But for eat in wings, I enjoy both the James Joyce and the Down Under Pub. Fair warning - The DU is a dive for sure, and if you've never been, you might be wary of getting food (My wife has lived here for 5 years, and I haven't dragged her there yet). But their sesame wings are top notch, and they give the choice of ranch or blue. I order the sesame with a touch of hot.

                  Maybe I'll go catch some of the playoff games there today... :)