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Tommy, May 15 2024

Best Wings on Long Island?

Introducing, The Long Island Wing Trail:

When you think of Long Island, you might immediately think “opulence" considering that 43% of all New York millionaires live there. You might think Gold Coast, the Hamptons, summer vacation, beaches, Montauk. You might even think about traffic on the Long Island Expressway. Yikes. Most people probably don’t think about great chicken wing joints. But what if we told you that that 23-mile strip,  east of Queens and directly across the sound from Connecticut, is home to some of the very best wing spots in the Northeast? Believe it. 

Considering that Long Island is nearly four times the size of all five NYC burrows combined, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that our Official Wingaddicts "Long Island Wing Trail" is the largest of all six trails, featuring 21 restaurants in total.

Full disclosure; we haven’t personally been to all of these restaurants . . . yet. But we have consulted with expert chicken wing foodies and all of the largest wing groups on social media. We researched restaurants, their histories, their menus and most-importantly their wings. Also, special thanks to LI’s original “Wing Hunter," Matt Kourie who runs @nybestwingfestival and was a chicken wing foodie on Long Island before social media even existed.

In our meticulous creation of these Trails, we mostly stay away from the global franchise spots, takeout-only joints, pizza and BBQ joints and restaurants that just serve wings as a part of the menu. BUT . . . we are sometimes compelled to make a few exceptions! 

Like all of our geo-specific Wing Trails, this isn’t meant to be a proclamation of “Best Wings” anywhere. “Best” is an opinion and though you will most certainly conclude which wings are your favorite, this Trail is more like your personal guide to what we’ve determined to be the elite wing destinations on Long Island. 

Enjoy it! And let’s have some conversation! 

In no particular order:

Spanky's Food Factory

While this location qualifies as more of a fast-food family style restaurant than an actual bar, it does have a bar and does serve adult beverages. More importantly it offers a selection of ten great wing flavors including the signature “Spanky Wings” which have a "sweet chili start and a late spicy kick.” This place is family run and a must stop on your trail. The lively atmosphere and friendly staff make the experience even more enjoyable, and the sign on the building boldly proclaims “Best Wings in Town.” See for yourself. 

Croxley's Ale House

Croxley’s is a staple in the Long Island wing scene, known for its classic approach to wings. This spot has LI’s largest selection of craft beers and has multiple “Best Wings on Long Island” Awards to brag about as well. With three locations (Franklin Square, Rockville Centre and Farmingdale) Croxley’s features the Buffalo and BBQ wings in multiple levels of heat, but also offers a half dozen other flavors including “Cry Like a Baby.” Better grab an extra blue cheese with that one. Croxley’s is a favorite hangout during game nights or just a casual outing with friends. 

Brews Brothers Grille

Another Award-Winning wing destination, Brews Brothers actually took home a first-place championship trophy from the National Buffalo Wing Festival. Any restaurant that makes the effort to compete in wing festivals, is a top-notch wing joint through and through. These guys serve up some of the most distinctive wings in the area, cooked to perfection with a special emphasis on their homemade sauces. They use a secret signature dry rub (pre cook) and then oven roast before flash frying your order to crispy perfection. You can select from a wing menu which includes BBG’s Famous Buffalo Sauce as well as another ten excellent house-made flavors. 

Smok-Haus

OK. Wing joint? Not exactly. Must-visit wing destination? Absolutely. This BBQ joint, which (like most) features that pit smoked low-and-slow bbq fare we all love, they have received accolades for their wings for multiple years. They’re also continuously named as one of Newsday’s Top 100 restaurants and have been honored for “Best Restaurant” and “Best Wait Service” as well and BestOfLongIsland.com awarded them “Best Wings on Long Island” in both 2022 and 2023. While most bbq restaurants offer wings in two or three flavor options, Smok-Haus gives you seven to ponder. And we guarantee you’ll love them all! The rustic and cozy ambiance enhances the dining experience, making it a perfect spot for those who appreciate a gourmet touch to classic dishes.  Locations in Garden City and Hicksville. 

Dark Horse Tavern

Dark Horse is a popular craft beer bar with locations in Farmingdale, Rockville Center and Massapequa with 16 TV’s, extensive pub fare and - most importantly -  a few dozen wing sauces and rubs on their menu of meticulously crafted wings. The flavor board gets a little more intense at the Rockville and Massapequa locations with two dozen to choose from (17 at the Farmingdale spot). Try some interesting options like Spiced Lime, Chesapeake, Honey Citrus Pepper or Golden Garlic or just stick to the classics. They’re all here. The tavern's dark, moody interior creates a welcoming environment for diners looking to enjoy great wings in a relaxed setting.

Pigs on a Wing

So what is this place? Interesting name. It’s a fast-food, deli-ish, takeout-looking spot in a bustling Lindenhurst area that does “NY Comfort BBQ.” Opened by Kurt and Shonte Satzinger,  both of whose families owned and operated multiple traditional NY delis for the past 60 years, this spot puts out some interesting bar-style wings. First off, the signature “Pig on a Wing” option is a wing flavor you probably won’t find anyplace else. Six wings smothered in pulled pork and caramelized onions. What?!! You’d need to be a Wingaddict to really appreciate that one. Not for you? They also have 20 other flavors on that menu that you can enjoy inside while watching the giant projection TV’s. While you’ll want to feast on other great BBQ menu items cooked on the smoker, the wings here are traditional oil fried and yes, you can enjoy a cold beer with your wings as well. 

Boss Croker's Bar & Grill

"Boss Croker’s Famous Chicken Wings,” as it says right on the menu, are a big-time favorite in Wantagh and though they have a limited flavor selection, they do it right. Croker’s was named as “The #1 Favorite Wing Spot for Long Islanders” in a 2023 poll conducted by Long Island Connection. You’ll see Yankees and Mets banners along with the United States flag above the bar. This is your ultimate dive-bar wing heaven, especially on their famous Wing Wednesdays. The lively bar atmosphere, combined with friendly service, makes Boss Crocker’s a fun spot for a night out with friends. 

The Red Zone

The Red Zone is not your typical dive bar. The sign on the building above the entrance reads, “Sports, Wings, Comedy, Wrestling, Much More . . . IT’S NOT WHAT YOU THINK!” Another sign you’ll see reads, “Best Damn Wings on Long Island.” Well, THAT, certainly might be something you can expect. This place is on the top of most LI wing-lovers “best of” lists including BestofLongIsland.com who just awarded RedZone “Best Wings of 2024.” Red Zone does wings in ten flavors including it’s signature “Red Zone Sauce” and also has a creative monthly wing flavor special as well as an “Extreme Wing Challenge.”

Ridgewood Station Tavern

In an historic location on Sunrise Highway in Wantagh, Ridgewood Station Tavern opened up in January of 2019, survived Covid and has been building a reputation as a great area bar to hang out, watch sports, dance to live music and enjoy great pub fare and a 3-7 daily Happy Hour. Ridgewood serves wings in a half-dozen foundational flavors including its own secret, "Ridgeway” blend. It’s an up-and-comer on the impressive Long Island wing scene.

JJ Coopers

JJ Coopers is one of the top spots on Long Beach for nightlife, live music, fun and entertainment since 2017. It’s also one of our favorite spots for wings on a stretch of great restaurants in walking distance. The focus on high-quality ingredients shines through in their meticulously prepared wings. Their wing menu has a short selection, but will give you plenty to ponder. We suggest the Peach Moonshine BBQ. The Hot Honey wings are another popular choice, offering a perfect balance of sweet and spicy. The restaurant's chic, modern decor provides a stylish backdrop for enjoying these gourmet treats.

Backyard Barbecue

This popular BBQ joint was opened in 2018 by Archie Ware, who passed it on to his son Chef Kenneth Ware and his childhood friend (mixologist) Michael Toney just three years later and is one of the first black owned businesses in Freeport. If smoky, barbecue-flavored wings are what you crave, Backyard delivers with its signature style. The hickory smoked wings are slow-cooked and drenched in any of eight sauces and rubs including a house-made BBQ sauce that's rich and full of flavor. For those who prefer a bit of heat, the Spicy BBQ wings add an extra layer of spice to the smoky base. They do some amazing things here with the Lemon Pepper profile as well. The casual, family-friendly atmosphere makes it a perfect spot for a relaxed meal out.  

Sidelines Cafe

Sidelines offers a broad array of 15 wing flavors in a fun sports bar environment, making it the ideal place for game night since 2017. Their traditional Buffalo hot wings are a classic choice, known for their authentic, fiery flavor. The cafe's sports-themed decor, complete with multiple TV screens, ensures you won't miss a minute of the action while you rock your way through that wing selection.

Drift Inn

The Drift Inn is known for bold flavors and hearty portions, making its crispy jumbo wings a popular choice among East Islip locals. The Old Bay & Lemon wings are seasoned with the classic spice blend and that squirt of lemon, offering a taste of the East Coast with every bite. Try the Teriyaki Wasabi Ginger for an interesting change of pace or heat things up with Carolina Reaper. The relaxed, beach-themed atmosphere of the Drift Inn adds to the overall enjoyable dining experience. Drift Inn was crowned “Best Wings 2021” by BestofLongIsland.com 

Fatty McGee's Sports Bar & Grill

Fatty McGee’s serves up flavorful and filling wings, with a focus on their basic traditional sauces. That’s Buffalo, Bourbon, Garlic Parm, Smokey Hot Habanero or their signature “Hoboe Sauce." Rolling out great wings since 1996, Fatty’s claims to have sold over two million of their classic Buffalo wings. The regulars will tell you they’re the best wings on Long Island and will fight you over it (kidding). The pub’s laid-back, friendly vibe makes it a great spot for a casual outing with friends. Great bar and plenty of TV’s to watch the games. Don’t expect to check them out anywhere online. No socials. No website. Just trust us. 

Changing Times Pub

With locations in Farmingdale, Bayshore and East Northport, Changing Times has been popular for its lively atmosphere and has been a popular destination for over 30 years. Despite a limited flavor selection (only 5) in the Farmingdale restaurant, the Bayshore and E.Northport spots are strong with over a dozen great ones. All three are locally famous for their Grilled Buffalo Wings. Park yourself in front of one of 65 TV’s and drink craft beer from one of 20 taps, or show up on the weekends for live music. Whichever you choose, you will not be disappointed with the wing game here. If we were to pick one, it would be Bayshore. Wink. 

Hurricane Grill & Wings

Hurricane Grill & Wings, I mean come on . . . they have “Wings” right in their name, is actually a northern Florida franchise that opened two locations - of all places - on Long Island! You’ll channel Jimmy Buffet in this tropical-themed restaurant and you will marvel over the wing menu. They have 20 flavors on their regular wing menu and another dozen “Signature Flavors” that will make your mouth water. Between entries like Roasted Garlic Inferno, Coco Loco, Dynamite, Boss, Fire & Ice, Cyclone and Secret Weapon, we’d like to just rent a room in back and eat our way through the entire list. With a few margaritas, of course. We don’t normally include franchise spots on our Wing Trails, but Hurricane breaks the rules. Oh, and they also offer a "grilled" option here and there are five locations on the Island.

Elsie Lane's Wing House

This wing haven was born, almost by accident, in 2019 when owners Ryan Sipp, Bill Oxios and Sal Mignano teamed up to open a sports bar in New Hyde Park. They needed to get creative with the menu because of a super small kitchen, so they decided to focus on wings. Not only did they make the decision to have wings be the star of the show, they also prepare and serve their wings differently than most everybody else. Elsie’s brines first, bakes the wings and then fries to order. They then deliver them to the table naked, allowing you to choose from a selection of 18 house-made flavors and sauce them yourself (you can even pick multiple sauces). You can even order them by the bucket. The restaurant, named after co-owner Ryan Sipp’s daughter, has a second location in Huntington. 

Port Bistro & Pub

Right off the Port Jefferson Ferry boat, Port Bistro can be your first LI wing stop. The restaurant serves its “Flash Fried Chicken Wings” in five sauce options including Spicy Buffalo, Thai, Honey BBQ, Classic BBQ or Maple Bacon with a farm-to-table, all organic, culture. The bistro-style decor and attentive service enhance the dining experience, making it a great spot for a date night or a family meal. Especially if you date somebody who doesn’t mind rolling up their sleeves and smashing wings! Their beer and wine selection also stands up to any other bar on the Island.

Village Idiot Pub

With locations in Patchogue, Oakdale and Lake Grove, the Village Idiot Pub offers creatively flavored wings in a quirky, fun setting. The VIP (love that) is part sports bar, part family restaurant, part music venue . . . and BIG part prime wing destination with a 15-flavor menu not including occasional flavor specials. In addition to being a legendary wing spot know for those "Famous Jumbo Wings," the Pub  is also known for it's "Boneless Idiot Bits" and "Freaking Fries" if you still have room! Unlike other restaurants on this trail with multiple locations, VIP's menus are the same at all three. Opened by John Sarno in 2010, the VIP is also dog friendly. But we don’t recommend feeding your dog wings. You’d be an actual idiot. (Sorry, couldn’t resist) This place is Gold! We need a shirt!

Momo's & Momo's Too

Momo's Sports Bar In Holbrook and Momo’s Too in Bayport are a huge local stop for sports fans and wing lovers alike. Owners Rich and Tracey Comunale are active members of the communities running fundraisers and just giving back since they first opened their doors 15 years ago. Both locations offer the perfect dive bar atmosphere for enjoying Momo’s “Famous Wings” in a dozen flavors. The house-made flour dredge on these wings lets the flavors really sink in. If you’re a heat lover, we dare you to try the “Fire Marshall” wing! The vibrant sports bar atmosphere, complete with large screens and enthusiastic crowds, makes every visit a lively one. You’ll feel right at home here. Go on Monday and 5% of your bill will be donated directly to the Tunnel to Towers Foundation. 

Oakdale Brew House

The modern, industrial chic setting of the Oakdale Brew House offers a stylish backdrop for enjoying everybody’s favorite bar food. They offer a selection of 24 seasonal draft beers on tap along with distinctive hand-crafted cocktails. More importantly, they have a strong menu of “OBH Wings” that are marinated for 48 hours in the bar’s signature beer brine, ensuring juiciness, and then offered in a dozen delicious flavors. We spotted a few unique choices like Chipotle Lime and Dr Pepper BBQ and would never pass up Blazin' Buffalo. Get in there for Wing Wednesday specials and live music on the weekends. 

And there you have our Wingaddicts version of must-visit wing destinations on Long Island. We did have a few who missed the cut, but also have solid wings. We'll give Honorable Mention to Brixx & Barley, Rudi's Bar, Jetty Bar & Grill, Swingbelly's, Old City Public House and Salisbury Tavern. Damn, we never met a wing we didn't like! Well, maybe a couple. Haha.

We hope you’ll make it a goal to visit all of these amazing spots and record your reviews on the Wingaddicts App (Download it for FREE right at this link).

We’d also love to know YOUR thoughts on this list. Who did we miss? Feel free to email me at tommy@wingaddicts.com and set me straight! Remember, YOURS is the only opinion that matters! Wings up! 

                                                        ----------------------------------------------

Tommy Wyatt is co-founder of Wingaddicts and author of  this “Under the Wingfluence" blog. He can be reached directly by email at tommy@wingaddicts.com 

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Written by

Tommy

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