So last week, I published Part One of "Best Dry Rub Wings in CT" in this Under The Wing-fluence blog and, as promised, here's this week's dramatic conclusion.
Full disclosure: When proclaiming the "best" of anything I always feel it's important to point out the fact that it's always subjective. That means it's someone's opinion. Furthermore, we don't always order dry rub wings at every restaurant we visit so this list represents our favorite dry rub wings (of the ones we've tried)! Fair enough? We good? Cool, let's go!
Last week we highlighted the first twenty and here's the other half of that list (in no particular order). In every case, though, these are wings that are Wingaddicts Approved and highly recommended!
* As always, you can click on the restaurant name for its website link and you can click on the photo to view the corresponding Wingaddicts' video where we actually ate that wing.
In Watertown, CT we went to visit 16 Straits Taps & Tavern soon after it opened in 2021. We had done an episode at the previous location (Triple Play) and our expectations weren't high. We were met with eight outstanding wing flavors including this unique Black & Blue.
Our visit to 585 Main in Naugatuck came as an accident. Out on a snowy February night to visit a different restaurant, we were told upon arrival that they hadn't received their wing order and couldn't accommodate us. So we drove back toward town and spotted the sign in the parking lot. SCORE! Very memorable wing selection including these babies!
Jerk is a popular dry rub flavor, right up there with cajun and lemon pepper, but I love wet jerk so much that I'm not really prompted to order the dry stuff. In the case of the Blackboard Cafe in Windsor Locks, these came highly recommended. And now we know why!
While traveling into Sandy Hook (Newtown) to shoot an episode at the popular Cover Two Sports Cafe, we walked across the intersection to one of my more-favorite drinking spots in town called The Foundry. Not a wing joint at all, they did have ONE wing on the menu. We had zero idea of what to expect from an Ethiopian Wing. Happy surprise!
A trip to Orange CT during the covid restaurant shutdown in early 2020 brought us to the Orange Ale House on a strong recommendation. We ordered takeout (had to) and feasted on six different flavors in the parking lot out front. When the owner told us his favorite was the Cajun Dry Rub, we ordered up flavor number seven. Yep! Best one all day!
As a kid I always thought it strange when people would put vinegar on their french fries at our local carnival in upstate New York. Sounded pretty gross to me. Later in life I was introduced to salt and vinegar potato chips and suddenly it all made sense. Once, only once, have we ordered it off a wing menu. Notch 8 in Bethel, rocked us with this one. (Apologies for the blurry photo. There was beer too!) LOL
A super cool flavor we had eaten at Artisanal Burger Co (ABC Burger) in Manchester had been a Pastrami Dry Rub. It was excellent there, but we had photography challenges so don't have one to show you. No worries, though! At a trip to Birch Hill Tavern in Glastonbury, we saw them again. And liked them even better!
You almost have to say "WHY?" when faced with ordering a dry rub wing called Buffalo Ranch. I mean, really. Why? But at one of CT's greatest wing spots in Oakville, Ordinary Joe's, we went with some house recommendations. (Always a good idea, by the way). It was in this case too! (Yes, there's a wet drizzle almost disqualifying them, but OMG - we had to add this one)!
The spiciest dry rub wing I've ever eaten was a combination of the Ghost Pepper and Seven Pepper Facelift rubs from Wing Dust on my homemade wings in the air fryer. The spiciest we've encountered on the road so far, were these Smoke & Fire wings over at Knucklehead's in Wallingford. Another spot you NEED to try!
Groggy Frogg is one of the top wing spots in Connecticut and unless you go in there on a mission, it's going to be a crap shoot as to what wings you order in your moment of overwhelm. There are so many on that menu to choose from. One day, again on a recommendation, we went with the Mesquite Dry Rub. Awesome!
Five Corners Bistro in Farmington is anything but a wing spot. HOWEVER, they DO have a modest selection of wing flavors that are on point! If you're a gin enthusiast this is your spot for sure, but you can't sleep on these wings either. This Maple Bourbon Dry Rub was unique and (like the other five flavors we devoured) was excellent!
I've never gotten into my car and said, "I'm going for dry rub wings today," but when I see a restaurant that promotes a "House Dry Rub" I always want to order it. Wingchef Ryan has a great sniffer for discerning what spices are in the rub but I love it when he gets stumped. Everything we put our mouths on at Cheshire Pizza was 10-out-of-10 great (and we ate A LOT that night) and these House Dry Rub wings were certainly no exception!
Lemon Pepper is one of the more-popular dry rub flavors in the entire country and we've seen some super creative things done with lemon pepper wings. The ones we ate at Blarney's in Willimantic were nothing fancy. Straight up, lemon pepper on great wings. You can sit and eat two dozen of these no problem!
We highlighted an interesting version of an Everything Bagel wing that we enjoyed at Willibrew in last week's blog. But the first time we ran into it was on the Special Menu at Bidwell Tavern in Coventry. Bidwell is commonly known as one of the top wing spots in CT, and these Everything Bagel wings were about what you'd expect (perfection).
Caloroso in Shelton was one of our most-recent stops where we enjoyed the outdoor atmosphere, the bar, the vibe, the food and all six flavors of wings on their menu. That included this hot and sweet number. Definitely worth the trip if you're a dry rub enthusiast!
Let's double up with a pair of Cajun Dry rubs that had us smiling! Carmine's Bar Grill and Stage in East Hartford and Arooga's in Shelton. Probably THE most-popular dry rub flavor on restaurant menus, both of these absolutely got two wings up from us!
Another two-for special, from two absolutely solid fried chicken takeout spots! Roosters Chicken & Waffles (five CT locations) and Papa's Wings and Seafood in East Haven are the same but different. We loved all the wing flavors at both spots but go there knowing that you're going to get the traditional breaded fried chicken you'd get in the south. At Roosters we had EIGHT flavors including this amazing dry Lemon Pepper.
At Papa's, where they put their dry rub in ALL their wings, we were floored by James Green's version of a dry Garlic Parm wing!
We had another fabulous Lemon Pepper wing at Pub 67 in Seymour, but it was less memorable because of the euphoria we were experiencing from some of the other flavors on the menu. We had seven that night. However this one DEFINITELY makes the list!
Clocktown Brewing Company was an unexpected surprise that we experienced only last month. Another cool spot with a great menu selection (we also ate pizza and lobster rolls) as well as every wing flavor on their menu. They do a weekly wing special. That week it was this one! Can you say Togarashi?!!
We've hit the end of the list, but I need to make an honorable mention. Cold Creek Tavern up in Ellington was one of the absolute best Dry Rub stops we've made on our journey. They used local Dry Rubs from a company called Joseph-Que. Sadly, Cold Creek was a casualty of Covid. The brewery still exists but our beloved wings are no more. RIP Grandpa Joe. :(
If you want to get directions or review any of these spots yourself, please feel free to download the world's first-and-only all inclusive chicken wing app! The download the new Wingaddicts Starter Wings app for FREE in your app store or by clicking this link!
Tommy Wyatt is co-founder of Wingaddicts and writes this weekly blog “Under the Wingfluence” for Wingaddicts.com.
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