As someone who grew up in the South, I consider myself a wing connoisseur. Location doesn’t give me any added credibility, but in Texas… died, fried and laid on its side applies to many food options. For me, I use that to justify my wing-loving palate. No matter what restaurant I go to, if they have wings, I’m trying them.
Since moving to Jacksonville, I have had the opportunity to roam all over the city discovering many things. Food happens to fit perfectly in my wheelhouse, which means I have tried a lot of wings. Some are like my college math grades: very forgettable. Others make me drool as I remember our epic connection.
For National Chicken Wing Day, I’ll hit you with three places that get me every time.
Many people know of V’s Pizza for — you guessed it — the pizza. I do love their pies. They’re light but filling and full of flavor. I suggest you go with a friend and order pizza and wings. They offer a few flavors: their V Signature, Calabrian and Cryin’ Hawaiian. As I mentioned my Texas ties, I am all about the heat. And I’m not talking about fresh from the oven. The Calabrian is covered in Calabrian chili pepper paste as well as Calabrian chili pepper on top. The spice won’t burn your lips like some sauces do, but you will definitely feel it on your tongue. You’ll want to have a cold beverage to help cool you down, but you will enjoy the rest of your experience instead of tapping out from overkill. Oven fired to perfection, these wings won’t disappoint.
The second place I must mention is also a pizza joint. It’s actually a sandwich shop, too. The family that launched Larry’s Giant Subs decided to open a shop in Murray Hill that houses the signature sandwich shop with Fired Up Pizza. The pizza is amazing, but I was introduced to their Bushmaster Wood Oven Roasted Island Wings that are just…WOW! Again, oven fired to perfection…these wings are coated with an all-natural Peruvian sauce mixed with Caribbean jerk and lemon pepper seasonings. The Peruvian sauce is a little sweet which balances the heat and spice from the Caribbean Jerk. The tang from the lemon pepper catches the outside of your tongue with a beautiful sourness that makes this an almost unbeatable triumvirate of flavors. Again, I suggest bringing some friends and ordering family style — wings, pizza and much more.
I was introduced to Mr. Chubby’s wings while meeting up with friends for UFC viewings. Of course, I was ordering wings because that’s what I do. Just as I was about to make that happen, my people instructed me to order them Chubby’s style with a side of hot sauce and a side of ranch. Basically, you get an unbreade, fried wing with a spice mix that has pepper undertones that offer a nice spicy taste that doesn’t overwhelm you. Adding that hot sauce takes it up a couple of notches. The ranch helps to balance all of the flavors, but you have to find a nice mix. I ranch one wing, the next I don’t. The wings are a good size and pair well with any beverage.
BONUS ROUND! I know I said I’d highlight three of my favorite places, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention one more. The Avenue Grill is known for its fried chicken. (In fact, it’s won our Jax Best contest two years running.) And you really can’t enjoy fried chicken without some wings on the plate. That’s far from the only thing they serve, but it’s worth checking out if you’re looking for something to satisfy those taste buds.
Well, I have made myself ridiculously hungry after typing this. I know what dinner will be tonight. Enjoy!
P.S. These are just a few of my favorite wing joints, but they’re far from the only good wings in town. You can check out some other local favorites in the video clip above. So we want to hear from you. Who’s got the best wings in Jacksonville? Tell us where and why in the comments section.