When a new spot opens in town, we can't wait to check it out — and let you know our initial impressions, share a few photos, and dish about some menu items. First Taste, as the name implies, is not a full-blown review, but instead a peek inside restaurants that have just opened, sampling a few items, and satisfying curiosities (yours and ours).
Restaurant: ATL Wings
Location: 3923 E. Thomas Rd. B-2, Phoenix
Open: About two months
Eats: Chicken wings
Since 2011 ATL Wings has been serving traditional and boneless chicken wings in the Chandler neighborhood, winning over diners with 18 signature flavors of sauces and dry rubs. The restaurant has even taken home the top prize at Mesa's annual Wingstock competition for the last few years in a row.
Now, ATL Wings has brought its chicken wings to central Phoenix, more specifically to a sprawling shopping complex on Thomas Road between 36th and 40th Streets.
The new restaurant, which opened about two months ago, feels bright and new with red walls and corrugated metal accents. Diners can order at the counter (the menu is posted above the register) and take a seat at one of the many tables while waiting for their meal to be delivered.
Ordering is pretty straight-forward: pick either traditional or boneless chicken wings, select how many you want, and choose a flavor. We ordered a 10 piece traditional chicken wings ($8.25), which gave us the option to either choose one sauce or two. On the recommendation of the server, we tried the popular Honey Barbecue sauce and the ATL Style dry rub.
The wings came out fast, but we were disappointed to find the honey barbecue wings were just lukewarm. On the upside, the honey barbecue sauce offered a nice balance between sweet and tangy flavors. We preferred the ATL style to the sauced wings, though — these crunchy skinned wings came coated in a savory seasoning, and we couldn't get enough. ATL's wings weren't the moistest we've ever had, but we were surprised to realize after we finished eating that we hadn't even touched the side of ranch dressing provided. (Don't worry, blue cheese fans, you can opt for that if you choose.) These wings were so big on flavor that we didn't want to ruin them with unnecessary dressing.
We also ordered a two piece honey biscuit ($1.25) — which, be warned, is a pretty inaccurate way to describe what you're going to get — and it was definitely the best part of the meal. These "biscuits" are more like miniature doughnuts that come smothered in honey and powdered sugar. Hot, sweet, and deep fried, they're pretty much exactly what you want after gorging on chicken wings.
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With another 16 flavors to try, including some tempting options such as Honey Habanero, Garlic Parmesan, Cajun Hot, Citrus, and something called "Toxic," we're looking forward to exploring the ATL Wings menu. And even if we swore off chicken wings forever, we'd be back for more of those biscuits.