Foodie decrees: Ottawa's Best Chicken Wing venues
Post by Jeff B., aka the Lord of the Wings – until recently an Ottawa-based food blogger specializing in the favorite food of sports pub patrons world wide. Check out his blog for news, recipes and reviews from Ottawa and beyond. Apartment613 wishes LOTW the best of luck in his new city and job.
I was very honoured when Apt613 asked me to sum up my top five places in Ottawa for Chicken Wings. It came right before a big opportunity, which I’m sad to say will have taken me away from Ottawa by the time this is posted. I first came to Ottawa excited about the city and its people, but when first arriving I was not impressed with the Capital’s chicken wing scene (I still don’t like getting sour cream instead of the traditional blue cheese dressing or ranch). But as I get ready to leave, I find myself thinking of the great wings at the many pubs and eateries I will miss (except for coming back for visits).
On my blog, The Lord of the Wings, I have an elaborate scoring system for the wings I consume, but what I look for in a good chicken wing – and what I think most people also like – boils down to three main factors: is it a large/ fresh/ tender piece of meat? Does it have a crispy, crackling skin? And is the wing saucy and tasty? It’s very important to recognize that chicken wings, like most food, are a very personal thing. Some people don’t like breaded wings, or spice or even big wings. I love an extremely spicy wing, but flavour is key. I like a large wing, but not if it’s tough and rubbery. And I don’t mind if it’s breaded or not. But that’s me.
The following is a list of some of my favourite places for wings in Ottawa I will miss. They all basically have big, crispy, tasty wings. Of course in my few short years here I didn’t get to sample everywhere, so if you have a favourite, I’d love to know.
250 Greenbank Road
One can easily miss PJ Quigleys Bar & Grill down on Greenbank and tucked into a mini mall. The outside might not be much to look at, but the wings are excellent. Fresh chicken dusted in flour and deep fried then tossed in house made sauces. They have all the heats as well as five other flavours. The wings are crispy, meaty and really tasty, while the service is always friendly. When people ask me for my favourite place for wings in Ottawa, PJ’s is where I send them.
2193 Richardson Side Road
Not exactly in Ottawa but just outside Kanata on the way to the Diefenbunker is the Cheshire Cat. Fresh and local is very important to this pub and it shows in their wings. They do a classic Buffalo style wings here (Buffalo being a non-breaded/dusted wing that is deep fried and tossed in a cayenne-vinegar based hot sauce and butter – nothing else should be in the recipe) but there are other flavours to choose from. The chicken is really fresh and meaty, very crispy skin and a great tangy classic wing sauce. And the atmosphere can’t be beat!
|GEORGETOWN SPORTS PUB
1195 Bank Street
The Georgetown really goes all out for their wings. They are first baked in seasoning then deep fried to create a very crispy wing. But they do need to be crispy to stand up to the thick sauces they make for the wings. There are more than fifteen flavours and dry rubs to sample, many of which are exotic and flavourful. No one has wings like the Georgetown.
141 St George Street
I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with the Honest Lawyer, as I had terrible service there on some visits, and good service on others – and unfortunately the service can really turn you off a place. Fortunately they have really great wings. They are big, dusted and crispy and come in 16 flavors. On Mondays their AYCE special gives you the chance to sample through those all the flavours.
When I first came to Ottawa, people told me Local Heroes was the place to go for wings. You have the choice of small or jumbo wings (don’t bother with the small) and if you want the wing tips on (I keep them on because that’s a little more crispiness for an excuse for dipping more sauce). The wings are breaded and deep fried. They have 13 sauces to pick, although I’ve always kept to the classic hot and suicide which come thick and buttery.