Tommy, January 2 2023

The 2022 'Golden Wing' Awards

At the conclusion of each year, we award our Annual "Golden Wing Awards" to the TOP 3 restaurants with the most-viewed episodes on our Wingaddicts YouTube Channel. And this year's winners were exceptional in every way!

They say that the most-magical things sometimes happen by accident. 

As we unfurled our wings and filmed 74 new Wingaddicts video episodes in 2022, our #1 most-viewed video of the year came from a place that we didn't even know existed. And though it had been in business longer than we'd been alive, it couldn't even be classified as a "wing destination" when we started up Wingaddicts. 

I had seen a few occasional posts in our Facebook "Wingaddicts Community" by somebody named Chris Caruso, showing wings from Jimmie's Place in Seymour. And in March 2022, it was his photo of Lemon Pepper wings that caught my attention. 

After a little research, I learned that Chris Caruso was the owner of the restaurant. I reached out to him via Facebook messenger and his reply grabbed me immediately.

We weren't sure what to expect when we pulled up to this little hole-in-the-wall spot across the street from the train tracks in Seymour, but upon walking through the threshold I was already in love. The place immediately reminded me of the little Italian restaurants where I grew up and it smelled like my grandmother's kitchen. We don't "rate" wings, but if we did these would be borderline perfect. Perfect presentation, perfect cook, perfect sauce, perfect flavor, perfect wing environment. 

And I guess it was almost a perfect video, as it got over 1,600 views. That's the most overall for 2022 and our fourth-most viewed all time! Congratulations to the Caruso family and the Jimmie's staff on your 2022 Golden Wing Award! 

Our second Golden Wing also goes to a place that wasn't even on our radar. Wingaddict Jim Stack had been making occasional posts of the "Widow-maker Wings" from Old Well Tavern in Simsbury and his photos were almost always blurry. So it didn't really capture my attention. One day it finally did. Our list of restaurants is SO long, so I normally go to the internet first.

The restaurant's website didn't grab me at all. No wing pics on their Facebook page and the place looks really old (maybe because they use a photo from the 1940's). But once I read the "History" of the place on the website, I got really excited. I mean come on, there's a body buried in the cellar from the 1800's! 

We met some awesome patrons on our visit there. Owners Frank Cardoso and Erika Lange are amazing people, and Frank can really fire up the wings! Their flavor list is so super interesting and they cook wings in multiple different styles. 

I almost felt like I was in an episode of Deadwood that day. Our hilarious video episode got over 1,100 views for second -place in 2022 and seventh-place all time, and Old Well Tavern is now HIGH on our list of favorite wing destinations!

The third Golden Wing Award goes to our new friend Red Lanphear at Black Rock Tavern in Thomaston. My family stopped at Black Rock all the time (BW: That's "Before Wingaddicts") while my daughter was performing in musicals at Thomaston Opera house around the corner, but the dinner menu was so beyond fabulous that I never got excited about the wing menu. What a tragic oversight on my part. 

Not only did we find one of the coolest restaurant owners in the business, but it turned out that Red and I had mutual friends and connections from the 80's and early 90's in the Waterbury/ Naugatuck restaurant scene. The wings he put on the table were some of the most-beautiful we'd been served to date. And, as you'd expect from a master chef, we had wings with garnishes and flavor combos that we'd never experienced yet either. Things like cherry mead, thick slab bacon, pickled red onions, oh damn I just started drooling while typing this. 

The Black Rock video fell just short of 1,000 views with 905, which was good for third place in 2022 and 11th all-time. Congratulations to Black Rock Tavern!

It's interesting (and quite ironic) that none of this year's three winners have huge social media platforms or expensive eye-popping websites. But they all have Hall of Fame worthy wings and clearly a loyal and passionate fan base. Make it a point to visit these three spots in 2023! You'll be happy you did! Oh, and if you HAVEN'T WATCHED THE VIDEOS yet, for God's sake do it now! 

As a crazy side note: Our top-watched video of all time (and we still have no real explanation for this) was an episode I shot by myself in the parking lot of Domino's in Ansonia. Freaking Domino's! It got over 4,000 views. Without question one of my least favorite wings of all time, but - of course - a 2020 Golden Wing Award.

Other past winners include:

2020: Domino's Pizza (#1), J.Timothy's (#2), Tuck's Tavern (#3)

2021: GG's Woodfired Pizza (#1), Blackboard Cafe (#2), Rose's Restaurant (#3)

Four restaurants in 2020 received Honorable Mention for going over 1,000 views. Though they didn't finish in the top three for that year, they all had over 1,000 views and are in the Top 10 of all-time. Honorable Mention went to Hard Hat 2 (1,400 views), Old Riverton Inn (1,200 views), CJ Sparrow (1,100 views) and Gaetano's (1,000 views).

Let's see what 2023 will bring! 

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Wings up!

Tommy Wyatt is co-founder of Wingaddicts and writes this weekly blog “Under the Wingfluence” for Wingaddicts.com

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Tommy

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