This article was updated on February 1. It was originally published on July 6, 2016.
Wings are the kind of seductive comfort food that hit the spot just about every time. We have with a wealth of strong wing options here in the Valley. With so many fantastic bars, grills, pubs, and restaurants to choose from, it can be hard to know where to go to get a spicy fix.
We're here to help. Use this blueprint when you're hankering to chomp into an order of fried or grilled chicken beauties. From Buffalo-style classics to fresh Vietnamese and Indian takes, here are 13 of our favorite wing orders in metro Phoenix.
Angry Mustard Wings
Zesty Zzeeks Pizza
This place may seem like your typical three-location, strip-mall style pizza joint, and in many ways it is. But when wings are on your brain, you're in for a nice surprise here. Zzeeks offers 18 different wing styles, from a simple salt-and-pepper coating to the borderline-hallucinatory Gunslinger Mega Diablo. A flavor called Angry Mustard is pleasant and unique. It has heat and a tinge of mustardy goodness, its sauce slathered over meaty yet crispy wings and drums. Zzeeks wings come in increments of 10, 20, and 30. The chain has locations in Ahwatukee, Chandler, and Tempe.
ATL Style Wings
If you love chicken wings, ATL Wings (and the very similar, recently rebranded AZ Wings in Tempe) should be one of your go-to spots. And if you love a good dry rub, ATL Style should definitely be your order. ATL Style consists of wings and drums (mostly drums in some orders) covered in oil and tossed in a colorful array of herbs and spices. The dryer take gives skin and edges nice crispness. Hot chicken meat is juicy, if not drippy. We recommended the traditional style wings (bone-in), which come in orders of six to 96.
Honey Hot Wings
2710 West Bell Road
These are your quintessential sports bar wings. The Best of Phoenix-winning establishment is home to the "Wide Wall of Sports" — meaning one wall has more than 60 televisions including several 65-inch screens — as well as a wall of wing options. Well, 12 ... but still. And while house specialties like Giovanni's or Dino's barbecue sauce are great, we always come back for the honey hot. Each heavily coated, petite wing has the right amount of sweetness with the right amount of tinge. But be careful — it's very dark and those things can be slippery. Santisi Brothers wings come in orders of 12, 24, or 36.
Casey’s Chipotle Chicken Wings
Casey Moore's Oyster House
850 South Ash Avenue, Tempe
The wings at Casey Moore's Oyster House are worth braving the crowds even if you aren’t a regular at this well-loved Tempe eatery and watering hole. Wings come flavored in chipotle, barbecue, teriyaki, or Buffalo — of course.— and with your choice of ranch or blue cheese and side of celery and carrots. The wings themselves pack a lot of meat. Go for the chipotle-flavored sauce, smoky with just a little bit of heat. Casey's doesn't skimp on sauce. It's plentiful, but not slopped on too heavily, avoiding the slimy texture that often comes right around wing number eight.
Chili Salt Chicken Wings
Asian Café Express
1911 West Main Street, #3, Mesa
Located in a strip mall on the southeast corner of Main Street and Dobson Road in Mesa, Asian Café Express is a fan-favorite lunch spot and Hong Kong-style café. If you order the restaurant's Chili Salt Wings, you'll get a small plate of five extra-crispy drumettes, which come with a little spoon you can use to pile on green onions, garlic, spices, and chili oil. The toppings seep into the nooks and crevices of the crackly chicken skin, which crunches away to juicy meat. These Asian-style wings may not be the most traditional route, but they're pretty much a steal.
Zipps Sports Grill
Zipps Sports Grill has a dozen locations in metro Phoenix (Ahwatukee, Arrowhead, Arcadia, and elsewhere) The sports bar's standard wing order numbers 10 wings covered in a honey-tinged sauce in either mild or hot, or even extra hot. The hot comes with a hard kick. Each bite brings a mouthful of spice and meat. These babies have been considered an essential appetizer in the Phoenix area. Zipps also offers daily specials so you may be able to get them on the cheap. Pro tip: if you like wings crispy, ask your server for an “extra three minutes.”
Hot VingsThe Vig
The Vig has several locations in the Phoenix area, and all serve sweet Thai-style wings. The flavor is a sticky, delicious mess. Sweet-yet-mild sauce comes studded with chili flakes, the tender meat nicely coated. For $11, the grilled appetizer comes with 10 wings. You can go with Thai chili, traditional, or barbecue. Wings come with an ample cup of blue cheese and half a dozen pieces of celery.
Cajun Monkey Wings
3223 South Mill Avenue, Tempe
You’ve heard about the karaoke and comedy nights, and probably the 1 a.m. shirtless shots, but have you heard about the awesome Monkey Wings at Monkey Pants in Tempe? Monkey Wings are plump, with a generous ratio of sauce to wing surface area — not dry, not dripping. Flavors include mild, medium, hot, barbecue, Cajun, Mae Ploy, teriyaki, or the signature Spankin’ Monkey Sauce. Cajun is a strong bet. If you're indecisive, you can even mix sauces for an additional $.59. All wings can be grilled or blackened upon request and come in half a dozen or a full dozen.
Our Famous Wing Drumettes
George & Dragon
4240 North Central Avenue
A staple of the Valley wing scene, Our Famous Wing Drumettes (informally referred to as “Dragon Wings”) can be found at that well-loved British pub on Central and Glenrosa avenues in Phoenix. The George & Dragon appetizer has changed here and there over the years. Currently, the wings are plump, evenly sauced, and include a good mixture of drums and wings. These traditional pub wings come in mild, medium, hot, or honey Sriracha. They include your choice of double ranch or blue cheese, plus thick cuts of carrots and celery. You’ll get eight or so meaty wings.
Rúla Búla House Wings
Rúla Búla Irish Pub
401 South Mill Avenue, Tempe
This Irish Pub on Mill Avenue uses jumbo farm-fresh chicken wings at a clip of 6,000 pounds per year. Wings come in three flavors: Buffalo, Guinness-barbecue, and a combination of the two (a.k.a. Rúla Búla House Wings). We suggest option No. 3. The goopy, spicy-sweet sauce seems to have been generously slathered on each sizable drum and wing. Though plates are portioned for two to share as an appetizer, you can easily polish off a plate yourself.
Smoked Jalapeño Wings
For some "famous" Arizona wings, Long Wong's is your answer. There are about a dozen locations throughout town, and each one is a little different, but each spot certainly has one common denominator — quality wings. There are plenty of unique wing flavors on the Long Wong's menu, depending where you are, and can include habanero, Arizona chile pepper, horseradish red-hot, smoked jalapeño, and super suicide. But to keep things simple, each one will have a plain hot flavor. And that's not to say they're plain, as the wings themselves are normally fresh, never frozen, and the sauce is flavorful without being too hot (for some). Most places offer increments ranging from an order of six to 100.
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Cornish Pasty Co.
Cornish Pasty Co. has locations in Mesa, Scottsdale, Tempe, and Phoenix, and is known for, unsurprisingly, its pasties. But that doesn't mean other menu items don't impress. Wings come in "saucy parliament" and sweet tandoori flavors. The oven-baked chicken tandoori flavor have more of a dry rub than a wet sauce. Blackened edges of each wing are crispy, and meat is fall-off-the-bone tender. The tandoori flavor features a mild kick and a sneaky sweetness. The six wings come with cucumber and tomato slices, and a cup of lemon mint yogurt dip.
5149 South Inspirian Parkway, Mesa
Love pho and other Vietnamese specialties? Try the Vietnamese wings at Handlebar Diner, a ‘50s-style diner in Mesa that opened this year. These meaty wings are brined and double-fried before getting glazed in a sauce of soy, sesame oil, fish oil, brown sugar, honey, rice vinegar, and other ingredients. And then they're sprinkled with sesame seeds and topped with carrot sticks.