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Tommy, June 19 2023

Eye of the Beholder

Does it matter to you how your wings look when they show up on the table? 

For centuries, dating back to Plato, philosophers have suggested that we “eat with our eyes first.” In other words, the act of enjoying food starts well before it gets anywhere near our mouths.

Surely great chefs and restaurant owners are  aware of this as they stress “plating” and “presentation” of their dishes on all the late-night cooking shows.  

In today’s social media world this has never become more apparent. As I sit and review tens of thousands of chicken wing photos in the Facebook “Wingaddicts Community” I notice trends as to which wing spots catch on in popularity the quickest. And since everyone has different likes, dislikes and opinions, the only way to really imagine them is with your own eyes.

In our 200-plus wing adventures over the past few years, we’ve noticed that many places still (sadly) only think of wings as a “bar food.” Many just throw them on a plate with carrots and celery and a cup of bleu cheese. But conversely, we have spots that go full-garnish mode. They plate their wings with spring onions or orange peels or sesame seeds or any number of appropriate items to beautify the experience.

We’ve also noticed that wings served on top of a decorative paper are far more appealing to they eyes as well. By the time they’ve reached the table you’ve already ordered them, so why would this matter?  Here’s why. In a world where everybody with a smartphone and an internet connection is a foodie, the world is going to get a look at your restaurant’s wings whether you want them to or not. (And hopefully you do).

This spring we saw a HUGE uptick in Wingaddicts Community members visiting a Newtown restaurant called Station 25. Consider this: In the first ten months since the restaurant opened, exactly three people posted photos of their wings there. Since we shot a Wingaddicts video episode there on January 4, there have been a total of 98 new wings posts from there! That's more than 3,000% growth in all-important wing banter!  Yes, the wings are great, but there are great wings at a LOT of places that don’t get blown up like that. 

 My conclusion; its' the presentation. The wings are beautiful! They beckon you! I’m drooling at this very moment! 

This surely isn’t meant to be an advertisement for Station 25. Their customers posting beautiful pictures is advertisement enough. It’s more of a “Wingaddicts Wisdom” moment. And yes, I'm well aware, that some of the greatest wing joints just dump them on a plate and they're so good that we'd eat them out of a garbage can lid. 

People will always share their wing experiences. We normally follow social proof and the recommendations of people we trust, but  . . .  where a picture used to be worth a thousand words, now it’s worth a million! 

Beauty is, after all, in the eye of the beholder. 

Or in this case, the wing holder!

Wings up!

Tommy Wyatt is co-founder of Wingaddicts and author of  “Under the Wingfluence” for

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