First Taste

First Taste: Jupiter Rings Wings & More Delivers on Carryout

Approaching the back patio-like Jupiter Rings Wings & More.
Approaching the back patio-like Jupiter Rings Wings & More. Bahar Anooshahr
When a new spot opens in town, we can't wait to check it out, 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 — an occasion to sample a few items and satisfy curiosities (both yours and ours).

Restaurant: Jupiter Rings Wings & More
Location: 4700 North 12th Street, #122
Open: A month
Eats: Wings, American dishes, and vegan options
Price: $5 to $25
Hours: 1 to 9 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday; 1 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, closed Sunday and Monday

Last month, we told you about Jason Higgins’ journey to opening Jupiter Rings Wings & More. It involved a mountaintop eureka moment, demoing buffalo sauce at the gym, “and more.”

click to enlarge Jason Higgins and his son Rashaad. Jupiter Rings is a combination of their initials. - JUPITER RINGS
Jason Higgins and his son Rashaad. Jupiter Rings is a combination of their initials.
Jupiter Rings
Jupiter Rings opened May 15, the day stay-at-home orders in Arizona were lifted. But when approaching the heavily vegetated entry to this new Phoenix restaurant, nestled in a charming, two-story complex at 12th Street and Highland Avenue, you feel like you’re still at home. Or, at least, somebody’s home. Ivy grows thick, the sun is banished, and the staff greets you with a "Peace and love” when you enter.

The dining room is narrow and modern. The crew is young and busy, and Higgins is likely around somewhere But on this day, we were picking up food — in and out.

Full disclosure: I live more than 12 miles away from Jupiter Rings and had to deliver a vegan buffalo chicken sandwich order to someone before I could start on my wings. (I don't recommend traveling in a compact car with wings that smell this good, during rush hour, on an empty stomach.)

click to enlarge The Cajun, traditional wings. - LAUREN CUSIMANO
The Cajun, traditional wings.
Lauren Cusimano
The wings are smallish, so spring for 15 if you’re normally satisfied with 10 larger wings. However, their petite size means the flavor permeates the entire piece, from the crunchy curls of coating to the closest-to-the-bone meat. I usually ask for extra-crispy wings just to get a crunch, but that customization is not necessary here.

click to enlarge The Hennessy, traditional wings. - LAUREN CUSIMANO
The Hennessy, traditional wings.
Lauren Cusimano
The Cajun seasoning is a strong dry rub, leagues above a sprinkle of Tony Chachere's Original Creole Seasoning. The Hennessy flavor was also intriguing, but is again a strong, savory dry rub. If you were hoping for a sweeter, barbecue-style sauce, just stick with barbecue.

You can add ranch or blue cheese on these wings. Don’t. It quiets the intensity of the rub. I couldn’t wait to get through my ranch-coated bite just to continue eating the wing without the dipping sauce.

Looking back, we should have ordered wings with the Jupiter Rings Buffalo Sauce — the product that started it all. But flavors like Cajun and Hennessy, even lemon pepper and mango habanero, were too enticing. Next time.

click to enlarge The only casualty of the car trip, but still good. - LAUREN CUSIMANO
The only casualty of the car trip, but still good.
Lauren Cusimano
The only victims of my travel time were the fries. Jupiter Rings has some fun with the fries section of the menu, mixing and matching tots, shoestring, and sweet potato fries with toppings like pizza, carne asada, a loaded baked potato arrangement, and cheesy garlic shrimp. I went with chili cheese waffle fries. The poor takeout order had congealed cheese and slightly less hot chili. But a quick reheat did the trick. We can only imagine (and hope to soon find out) how good these can be fresh, in the restaurant.

click to enlarge The vegan buffalo chicken sandwich. - LAUREN CUSIMANO
The vegan buffalo chicken sandwich.
Lauren Cusimano
The vegan buffalo chicken sandwich, found on the “And More” section, is $5. I didn't try it, but I'm told the bun has a slight sweetness and pillowy texture somewhat reminiscent of Portuguese sweet bread. Jupiter Rings also offers a vegan naked chicken sandwich, as well as vegan treats, including vegan cookies from the Goodyear-based Belle Sweets Bakery.

The only disappointment was that Jupiter was out of the vegan wings this day. But that's not a total letdown. It's just another excuse to return soon.  
KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Lauren Cusimano is Phoenix New Times' food and drink editor. She is a journalist and food waste writer based in Tempe. Joys include eating wings, riding bikes, knowing everyone at the bar, talking too much about The Simpsons, and falling asleep while reading.
Contact: Lauren Cusimano