Starting with the last week in February 2021 and right up through the middle of July, we overcame lots of scheduling conflicts to shoot 21 episodes over 19 weeks to put together Wingaddicts Season Six: “So Many Wings, So Little Time.”
* Feel free (at any time) to click on the restaurant name for it's personal website, or click on the photo for the corresponding Wingaddicts episode! Yes, we really ate all these!
The three of us went out in a snow storm to film Episode One at Michael’s Tap Room in Bethel. Originally Michael’s II in Danbury, the owners moved into this new spot on Stony Hill to benefit from its massive size! Set up for parties and banquets, the new spot is amazing and the wings were unforgettable. One of my best memories were the little “flavor flags” they put on each order and the beauty of the presentation. We ate six of the 22 flavors on the menu, and my favorite wing of the day there was probably the XXX Habanero wings. Not overpowering, but any wing that starts with three x’s has to be special! Sadly we didn’t get a chance to communicate with the owners there, which is very unusual.
March saw us shoot our first-ever episode in Redding, at Redding Roadhouse. We appeared for Sunday Brunch (also a one-time occurrence) and new owners Shawn & Erin Reilly treated us to all NINE different amazing flavors including House Buffalo, House BBQ, Chipotle, Golden Carolina, House Dry Rub, Korean BBQ, Roadhouse Ranch, Thai PB&J and our (almost) unanimous favorite, Gochujang. This place is unique.
New Fairfield was another new town on our Wing Trail, and we made a stop at Icon’s Sports Bar at the recommendation of Dew Drop owner, Jason Carlucci. There we met the man who took over and renovated this special sports themed restaurant near Candlewood Lake, Dave Bernardini. What made Icon’s so unique was the heavy dredge (almost but not quite a breading) that held on to all of the amazing flavors to tingle your senses. We were treated to seven of the 30 flavors on the menu including Applewood Smoked Bacon, Garlic Parm, Honeyaki, Hot Buffalo Bleu Cheese, Maple Chipotle, Thai Chili, and Bulleit Whiskey BBQ. All three of us were blown away by every single flavor so we didn’t agree on any one favorite. Mine, however, was probably the Hot Buffalo Bleu Cheese wing. OMG!
Our next stop was in one of the state’s wing capitals of Southington. None of use was prepared for what awaited us at the live music themed Tipping Chair Tavern. Owners Jeff and Audra Vitti were so generous to serve us up all four flavors on his wing menu including TCT Dry Rub wings, Memphis BBQ, General Tso, their special house favorite Garlic Buffalo. But Tipping Chair adds weekly wing specials and so we jumped in on some super unique wings such as Irish Coffee Wings (it was Saint Paddy’s Day week) and . . . wait for it . . . Donut Wings! Seriously. Tipping Chair breads its wings, which also serves to hold in the flavors, and I can’t tell you which wing was my personal favorite because we wrapped up the night with Eruption Wings and me in the fetal position on the restaurant bench!
Occasionally we experience what we call a “failed mission.” We adjust our schedules, make arrangements and show up at a place only to find out that they closed for some unforeseen reason. This happened to us one Monday in March, so we just cruised Watertown looking for a place we hadn’t been to (that was open). We ended up at Big Frank’s BBQ on Watertown Ave. It was a sunny day, so we put the tablecloth on the Jeep Wrangler and enjoyed a little Wings on the Hood. A “we sell everything” fast food BBQ spot, run by a delightful Albanian couple, it’s not best known for wings or flavor combos. However we had no complaints as we picnicked on all their flavors but one. We had Buffalo, BBQ, Sweet Chili, and Teriyaki wings. Our side of the Mustard BBQ sauce for our brisket (yeah, we couldn’t resist) was the best sauce of the day.
So our overall favorite was the one we didn’t get! Stuck in BBQ state of mind, we next went to Derby to visit Reid’s BBQ (formerly Smoke & Bones). I had been there solo at the beginning of the pandemic and liked it so much I wanted to bring my Wingaddicts partners back with me. To say this was one of THE top three days in Wingaddicts history might be selling this day short. Owner Kevin Reid rolled out the red carpet for us and he and his staff laid down some five-star, Carolina smoked wings that all made our favorites list. We had every wing on the menu including Smoked Habanero, Carolina BBQ, Jerk, Buffalo, and Spicy Honey BBQ until none of us could walk. It was so damned good that Doni and I slipped back over there the next morning for breakfast. Can you say brisket omelet? Angels were singing!
Riverwalk Social in Derby was a unique visit. Formerly Archie Moore’s on Elizabeth St, the place was left vacant until recently taken over by Brown University student Anthony Mastroni and his father, Bob, a local developer. This enormous and historical building was dark and quiet that day as we came at an odd time, but in a sneak trip back later on I was able to experience the booming nightlife. We were without Wingchef Ryan on this visit, but Anthony and GM Eric Heinig set Doni and me up with some Buffalo, Cajun Dry Rub, Garlic Parm, Gochujang, and Old Bay Buffalo wings from the menu of 15 flavors. A flavor we seldom see, the Old Bay Buffalo won the day for me.
Side Street Bar and Grille in Hamden is a place that just kept on coming up in the Wingaddicts Community Facebook page. Specifically it was Wingaddict expert Bill Steiny who was constantly posting about his favorite wings there, the Screamin' Demon. We had to see for ourselves. We never got the chance to communicate with the owner (we stopped in unannounced) but we loved the aura of the place as we dove in with ALL their flavors including Buffalo, BBQ, Garlic Parm, Honey Mustard, Wango Tango, and (yes) Screamin' Demon. And I think you can guess the winner!
Doni and I went out solo on another afternoon and had another of those successful “failed missions” when the place we were headed wasn’t open. So we mistakenly tripped into Center Street Social in Shelton around lunchtime one April afternoon. Nobody in there had ever heard of us, the owner was nowhere to be found, but it turned out that the head chef, Larry Edmonds was actually a Wingaddict. Larry prepared some awesome wings for us including Buffalo, Lemon Pepper, and Garlic Parm along with some VERY interesting Buffalo Maple, Taco Dry Rub, and Wasabi Ranch. Buffalo Maple was a big winner!
In earlier seasons we’d spent a lot of time on excellent wing spots in Wallingford, but somehow could never make it into Knuckleheads Tap Room during their later opening hours (4 pm). Finally, we made it a priority because of Wingaddict (and Knuckleheads employee) Katie Lynn. Sadly we missed the owner, but jumped all over the menu with Buffalo, Golden BBQ, Spicy Bourbon and Smoke & Fire Dry Rub. We also, for the first time ever, enjoyed Pig Wings along with some Duck Wings as well. I mean “Wing” Addicts, right? All in all, the best flavor of the night for me was Glazed and Infused! That’s a special one right there.
Lou Sterling joined Wingaddicts Community a year ago and was a regular contributor. Every so often he’d invite us out to his place, Rooster’s Chicken & Waffles. In May, we finally made that trip to Wethersfield to find that Lou and his wife walked away from insurance jobs at the start of the pandemic and opened FOUR restaurants with zero restaurant experience! Make no mistake, Rooster’s serves breaded fried chicken wings with 25 sauces. Not your daddy’s wing joint for sure. But OMG the flavor in these wings may have been the most intense of any place we’ve been yet! Really! We feasted like perhana on Buffalo, Dirty Bird, Lemon Pepper, Orange Ginger, Rooster Sauce, Royal Rooster and Sweet Jerk wings until we slipped into a coma. That’s when Lou brought out the chicken and waffles! This place, again, doesn’t fit your average wing profile. But you MUST try it! You just have to! BTW, their New Britain location is owned by Clifford Laurore.
As the month of May came to a close, Doni and I went out alone on one of my “secret adventures.” In other words, he had no idea where we were going. On a beautiful summer day we took the doors off the Jeep and journeyed into Waterbury for some Jamaican food! We first hit a place called Bertie's West Indian and American Restaurant who served only one wing flavor, Sweet & Sour. As great as it was, we also got some brown stew chicken and jamaican beef patties which were out of this world! More so, this episode will always be special to me because of the restaurant’s story. One of Waterbury’s greatest Jamaican residents ever, Bertie Saunders. You’ll have to watch to learn it (not enough room here today).
Our other stop on that same day was at a place called Carribean Kitchen. There we ordered some authentic Jerk Wings which were excellent, and ate them on the hood of the Jeep out in the parking lot. We did chat it up with some of the patrons who came in and out as we were waiting, but we honestly weren’t very well received there. Not sure why. I think we're so easy to love! Shhhh. Doesn’t happen often.
Hindsight BBQ is a brand new place that opened in Waterbury. I was attracted to it because somebody shared a Facebook post of their Alabama White BBQ wings which put me into a trance. When I looked on their page, I made arrangements and the boys and I headed over. Owner Jeff Schmidt was on his way back from Texas with a new smoker, but his wife Heather held down the fort just fine. In addition to brisket, burnt ends, Texas Twinkies, Mac & Cheese, Cole Slaw and Cornbread, we also ordered some wings. In fact we were floored by all four flavors on that menu including the House BBQ, Bama White, Honey Buffalo, and BBQ Sticky. They were all so beautiful and amazing that we name all four as our faves.
Pub 67 in Seymour was a spot that Doni and I had hit back in May of 2020 during Season Two. The Covid had shut down restaurants and so we dined in the parking lot during a typhoon that literally blew the wings off the hood of the Jeep. We needed to revisit this spot so bad and finally were able to. Owners Craig and Sarah Strilka set us up nice in a corner booth with perfect lighting where all three of us were treated to Apple BBQ, BBQ Bourbon, Buffalo, Cajun Garlic Butter, Lemon Pepper, Sweet Chili and the day’s big time winner (of 17 flavors) was that week’s special; Honey Jalepeno. So good!
Pippas Sports Cafe is a place where I used to frequent in the 80’s and Doni in the 90’s. Over in Danbury near Roger’s Park which was a big men’s softball hangout back in the day, we had this place on our list since we started Wingaddicts. Owner Suzie Seri treated us like royalty as we dined on Buffalo, Garlic Parm, Gold Rush, Mango Habanero, Sweet Thai Chili, and our favorite - Suzie Q (a secret house mixture - not on the menu). Pippa’s sometimes gets a bad rap for its smaller sized wings but they’re all natural and organic and as flavorful as any wings we’ve had to date. Besides, smaller wings mean you can eat more!
Chubby’s Bar & Grill in Stratford reopened at the beginning of this summer. Owner Chris Delmonico AKA Chubby, owns other FF county restaurants as well and used to run Chubby’s in Bridgeport where his wings were among the best in the state. He sold that business years ago but they’re back with a vengence. When he brought out six flavors on a giant baking sheet it took our breath away. We enjoyed every bite of Cherri Terri, Creamy Wasabi, Garlic Buffalo, General Tso, Golden BBQ, and Mango Hab and were the inspiration for the newest menu item “Wingaddicts Pick Six!” Pick any six flavors and get six of each! Wings up!
Birch Hill Tavern was our first-ever stop in Glastonbury and was it ever special! We mingled with the other customers like family and enjoyed all six wing flavors on the menu including Chipotle Honey BBQ, Tavern House Hot, Jerk, Korean BBQ, Miso Glaze, and Pastrami Spiced Dry Rub. WOW! Like Pippa’s earlier, Birch Hill uses the all-natural Bell & Evans wings which cook up a little smaller. Again, you can eat MORE. And you’ll want to!
We lost Doni the Cleaner to a family vacation, but Wingchef Ryan and I rolled to Willimantic for our first-ever stop in Windham County, CT. There we ripped up a double header at Willimantic Brewing Company (Willibrew) and then the Easter CT State University hot spot, Blarney’s Cafe.
At Willibrew, owner David Wollner set us up nice with seven amazing flavors. This was the first time we’ve experienced GRILLED wings on a menu. We fell in love with the Grilled Buffalo and then the Grilled Wet Cajun, followed by the regular deep-fried versions of Everything Spice Parm, Beer BQ, Fajity Dry Rub, Teriyaki, and their famous Oy Vey sauce which stole the show!
Blarney’s was exactly as I imagined it would be. GM Connor Nicholls treated us to some good old fashioned Buffalo Bleu, Carolina BBQ, Lemon Pepper, Sweet Chili, Teriyaki Ranch, and Insanity Buffalo with a side of Murder Sauce. Wingchef Ryan was up to the Murder challenge as he demolished a few wings and then drank the leftover sauce. Murder sauce is made from the two hottest peppers in the world, Carolina Reaper and Trinidad Scorpion Peppers. Needless to say, Ryan’s Charmin was in the freezer that night!
Blarney’s was Episode 20 of Season Six and that’s where we’ve stopped our five previous seasons. But there was one more spot we just absolutely had to hit when Doni got home. So the Season Finale went down in Colchester at a super-special Irish pub called The Inishmor. Owner Alex Levere made our “Top 10 Best Owners” list (well, if we actually had one) and his wings were out of control. Minus Wingchef Ryan, Doni and I (after a few shots of Irish whiskey) fell in love with Creamy Buffalo (a VERY interesting new flavor), Curry Chicken Wings, Maple Bacon wings fried in real bacon grease, Traditional Buffalo, Irish Fairy Dust, and Rustic (which Alex called - a little taste of Thanksgiving).
What a way to close up what was our most expansive season to date. We covered 21 restaurants in 18 different cities and six of the eight different counties around the state. We devoured 726 more wings in 123 flavors. But we’re nowhere near finished yet!
Buckle up for "Season Seven; Pizza Joint Wings" which kicks off this week! Invitations and recommendations always appreciated!! And remember to subscribe to "Wingaddicts" on YouTube so you NEVER miss an episode!