Welcome to The Essentials, our catalog of indispensable and quintessential Phoenix food and drink. From now until May, we'll be sharing 50 dishes, drinks, and food experiences that make up the culinary backbone (and personality) of metro Phoenix. This list is highly eclectic, mixing classics with newer and lesser-known favorites. But all The Essentials have one thing in common: We think they're required eating (and drinking) in metro Phoenix.
Up next, Zipps Wings.
42: Zipps Wings
Few things in the food world spark more debate from restaurants and diners than wings. Every restaurant claims to have the best in town, and heated discussions on the appetizer (and for many, a meal) can pit brother against brother.
Some wings are too fleshy, some too petite, the hot isn’t all that hot – the list goes on and on. However, there is one place – well, one place with 12 Valley locations – providing one of the better servings of wings in town. We’re talking about Zipps Sports Grill, and we're talking about Zipps Wings.
Zipps Wings come in mild, medium, hot, extra hot, or as Golden Wings. The “golden” means there’s a touch of honey and sweet stickiness mixed in with your sauce, and the house wings are buffalo-flavored, meaning just that – the familiar buffalo hot sauce that we really don’t need to explain.
Our suggestion? Hot Golden Wings. You’ll watch your server pause upon hearing the order, because it’s clear he or she now has to ask, “Have you had our hot before?” The rule is, you can’t get a refund for your order just because they’re too hot, because well, they tried.
The wings themselves hit you like a squeaky-clean sliding glass door at a house party. Visually, they’re bright, ornamented by pepper flakes, and over-sauced (usually), and the smell wafts upward and clears any sniffles you might have had before lunch. They’re an ideal size altogether; some plump and perfect for dipping in the complimentary side of ranch or bleu cheese (it’s good ranch or bleu cheese, too), and some are lean and crispy.
A few pro tips here: If you do like wings on the crispy side, ask for an extra three minutes, or just order them well done. And if you can’t finish the complete order, they reheat well at home. Ask for a lid for your dip, and wrap your remaining wings in the Zipps-logo adorned wax paper. Keep them wrapped in the wax paper while microwaving to avoid overcooking.
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The atmosphere in a Zipps is often loud, but necessary for a big game with bigger stakes. There are also locations with great patio seating, ideal for taking in a cool night in Scottsdale or Uptown, or people-watching on Mill Avenue.
If you’re now ready to try the Hot Golden Wings, just be prepared to be out $7.95 ($6.50 on Sundays and Mondays), unless you go for the focaccia instead.
The Essentials so far:
50: Tequila Sunrise at the Arizona Biltmore.
49: "Dragon" Dumpling Burger at Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour.
48: Dizzy Fig Empanada at Republica Empanada.
47: Linguine Carbonara at Avanti.
46: The Food Court at Mercado de los Cielos.
45: Chicken Feta Salad at George’s Kitchen.
44: Spinach & Cheese Chimi Burro at Mi Patio Mexican Restaurant.
43: Dinner at Rustler's Rooste.