In a previous post, we reviewed what were some really great hot wings in Sarasota at a restaurant called Wing Junction. Sadly, the last time I was by their location on Beneva Road, the store had closed. Perhaps the location wasn’t great — there was previously a Beef O’Brady’s in the same center that didn’t ultimately make it.
In any event, given the number of people who frequent this site looking for tips on buffalo wings in Sarasota, here are my top recommendations:
Wings N’ Things
This is the original classic restaurant. Their first location was out on Cortez Road West in Bradenton — just a little stretch west of 75th Street West. It was originally called “Sandy’s Wings N’ Things.” They ultimately built a location — probably nearly 20 years ago now (although I can’t be certain) at Lockwood Ridge and Tallevast Road. It’s technically in Manatee County, but it has a Sarasota postal address.
Really great flavor. The sauces here are — to me — the quintessential great wings flavor. If you like your wings hot, order the “napalm” setting. It tastes great and it’s nice and hot — but not too crazy. Their “TNT” setting is one step below the Napalm and also tastes great. I’ve heard that their “hot” and even their “mild” are also pretty good, but since I prefer mine hot I really couldn’t say from personal experience. Pair up the wings with a “curly Q” (a piping hot stacked-high order of fresh-cut curly fries) and top the fries off with some vinegar and salt. Pure heaven. One of the other sides that they offer are some fried cheese cubes with some kind of a cherry mustard sauce. Wow. Makes my mouth water just thinkin’ about it.
A big surprise for me was that they actually have a menu. Who knew? I’d certainly never used it… until one day I convinced my wife to go along (she hates wings because they’re too much work). She ordered a tuna salad sandwich. Really… from a wings joint? In any event, she said it tasted like wings. Goes to show you… stick with the good stuff.
So… while a bit of a drive from Sarasota proper, it’s well worth it. Call ahead to order: (941) 351-8005.
Wow… news flash: while visiting their website, I discovered they have a new 2nd location near Clark Road and Tamiami Trail on Gateway Avenue. I think this merits a personal visit from me so that I can confirm for you — my faithful readers — that the wings there are just as good as the other location. I’m sure I won’t be disappointed — even though the restaurant has changed hands over the years, the newer owners have done a great job! *February, 2010 Update* The new location didn’t make it. But I did grab wings at the store at Lockwood Ridge & Tallevast a couple of months ago. Great as ever!
Wings N Weenies
I’ll admit… the name was a turnoff for me for a long time. Why the heck would a restaurant that specializes in wings also advertise “weenies?” Oh well… I’m a marketer, so I’m extra picky about stuff like that.
In any case, the wings aren’t bad. Their location on Fruitville Road (in the “Sarasota Crossings” shopping center just a little ways down from Publix) is actually fairly close to my house. I’ll stop in for lunch once in a while because it’s close by.
Not bad. The flavors are pretty good… a not-so-close 2nd to Wings N Things. Their “TNT” setting is my usual choice. It’s not the hottest, but the “Nuclear” setting — which is the hottest — just doesn’t have a great flavor in my opinion. The size is really great — they don’t skimp on the chicken here. If you come hungry, expect to eat well. Their fries are also on the slightly-above-mediocre level. All in all, a worthwhile stop.
A couple of other advantages — they deliver (with a relatively low minimum order), and they also have some really great personalities that work there. Expect to have a good time with whomever is waiting on you.
I’ll write again a future post on some of the other joints in town. If you have a favorite, leave a comment below and let me know. One thing I can say is that I’ve heard great stuff about the “Wing Factory” at 17th Street and Lockwood Ridge Road. A good friend and fellow wings addict had raved about it so we met there a couple of months ago for lunch. The wings were — quite frankly — terrible. The hot sauce had some kind of BBQ flavor mixed in with it. We chalked it up to the fact that the waitress/cook was on her first day. I went back a few weeks ago and had the same bad-tasting wings with a different new girl. So… I’m not sure what to say about it. The owner is an awfully nice guy and they clearly work hard, so I’ll probably try them again and see if we can get to the bottom of the mystery BBQ flavor.
Now I’m Hungry
And since I have some errands to run today… who knows? Maybe a stop for wings is on the agenda!