Wednesday, August 26, 2015

2015 Lakewood Wing Crawl

The 2016 crawl will take place on August 20, 2016 with 13 locations!!

Buy your 2016 Wing Crawl Pass Here!!

What is it, you ask?

August 22, 2015 was one of the best days of the year. If the Lakewood Wing Crawl were a holiday (and it should be), it would be my favorite holiday! Steve and I have been participating in the Lakewood Wing Crawl for the past six year! The stops may have changed through the years, but it’s always a day when we have a great time with friends and family.

For only $20 (early bird pass!) or $25 (procrastinators!) participants have 7 hours to choose the winner of “THE BEST WINGS IN LAKEWOOD” by crawling between 14 bars and restaurants along Detroit Avenue. Over the 2.2 mile stretch, we sampled 4 wings at each location (2 buffalo and 2 open flavor), took notes, took pictures, and had an overall good time. Steve and I always split a pass, so we ended up with 56 total wings or 28 wings each! Yes, it’s a lot, but not insurmountable.
We also split a beer or had our own at each destination, depending on the price and how long we planned to spend there. With 7 hours, 14 establishments and 2.2 miles to cover…we’re looking at about 27 minutes per bar and if you know me, then you know that I kept our crew on time! Although we walked the entire route and took Uber home, The Pillars of Lakewood also offers a complimentary shuttle to/from locations.

Kevin and Lisa met us at our house at noon. This is one day that the four of us are equally excited! We all have the same three criteria for the best wings – Crispiness, Quality of the Wing and Flavor. Each couple had their own rating system and we take our voting very seriously. Lisa & Kevin rate each on a scale from 1-10 as we go and Steve takes notes. Steve’s notes are the only reason this blog post can exist because I lose track very quickly! It was a beautiful day!
 Once Kevin and Lisa arrived, we walked the short 0.6 miles to O'Toole's, our first stop on the crawl. Located on the corner of Detroit and Elbur, they were a new addition to the crawl and the location is the farthest East. We usually start on the West end of Lakewood, but switched it up this year and happy we did. We met Cassie and Jerod at O’Toole’s and our group of four was quickly a group of six! Their buffalo was a little sweet with a little heat including a touch barbecue and their specialty was a ginger glazed wing. Overall, it was a great quality wing from Dionne’s Meats at the West Side Market. The sauce was good and tasty, but we just wished they were a little crispier.

Forage was the second stop on the crawl. Steve and I have been to Forage a handful of times and we always enjoy the service and food. We had recently visited with the CLE Dinner Club and had a phenomenal five course meal prepared by Chef Demetrios Atheneos. Forage is another new addition to Detroit Avenue and also to the 2015 Lakewood Wing Crawl. Once again, Forage offered a great quality wing. Their buffalo was a spicy BBQ. It was very saucy and had good heat. We all absolutely loved their specialty soy wing. Not only did it have great soy flavor and good heat ratio, but it was also nice and crispy. A+

The Detroiter was the third stop on the crawl. The Detroiter is yet another new establishment on Detroit Avenue and a new addition to the crawl. Their wings were cooked perfectly! The buffalo sauce had some vinegary undertones, while their dry rub specialty wing had some allspice flavoring with great crunch. Sean and Alex met us at The Detroiter after they put Louie and JoJo down for a nap. Meredith and Neil kindly offered to watch the kids so Sean & Alex could participate in this most excellent adventure. Our crew had now reached a group of eight!

At this point, we were 12 wings in and we were pretty happy. The quality thus far was spectacular and we were happy with these three additions.

Deagans was the fourth stop on the crawl and is a staple on Detroit Avenue. Along with Melt, Deagan’s has helped with the resurgence of Detroit Ave. in Lakewood. Steve and I frequent Deagan’s most often for their great beer selection and happy hour Manhattans. We often grab a snack with our drink and aren’t disappointed. Unfortunately, we are never excited about their wings on the wing crawl. They fell short again this year as their buffalo wing was not crispy and the sauce wasn’t great. The soy chili sauce was good, but neither wing was cooked well enough for our taste.


Quaker Steak was the fifth stop on the crawl. One of the only “chains” on the crawl, they have a huge variety of wings and they performed well. While they didn’t have a traditional buffalo sauce, they did offer three flavors. Their Thai, Arizona Ranch and Kentucky Bourbon wings were all delicious, extra crispy and exactly how we’d like them if we ordered them. That’s pretty hard to do when you’re cooking for the masses in chafing dishes. Quaker Steak is also where we met up with Danielle and Renee. Team Schur/Chambers was now up to 10!


Merry Arts was the sixth stop on the crawl. Merry Arts is the oldest bar in Lakewood and a staple. Conveniently located at the corner on my mom’s street, she joined in the fun to increase our number to 11. Merry Arts wings are always exceptional and the 2015 wing crawl was no different. Their Buffalo was full of buttery goodness with good heat and fell off the bone. Their Jerk was tasty and crispy with no complaints.

Bobby O's was the seventh stop on the crawl. Here, we met Cornelius to bring our group to 12. Although Bobby O’s had pop-a-shot and the cheapest drinks on the crawl, their wings were not awesome. Steve’s notes were a little slim at Bobby O’s, but both their Buffalo and Spicy BBQ wings were not well-cooked and definitely not memorable.

Plank Road Tavern was the eighth stop on the crawl. Their Buffalo was pretty average, but their specialty wing was an extra crispy dry rub. It’s the same dry rub they've used in the past and it reminds us of Christmas.

El Carnicero was the ninth stop on the crawl and arguably the Schurs favorite restaurant in Lakewood. New to the crawl this year, both wings were well-cooked and quite delicious. The buffalo had a great depth of flavor with some late heat and their Sweet Ancho was good with a nice crisp. We loved seeing owner and chef Eric Williams on-site.


Booth’s was the 10th stop on the crawl and also where Meredith and Neil met up with us along with Louie and JoJo. Rich tagged along with the foresight to take the kids home with him rather than continue with the crawl. The addition of these five had our group up to 17 people! Booth’s wings were both cooked well. The Mango Habanero was sweet to start and has some heat at the end and their Buffalo had some of the best heat on the crawl. We love spicy, so this was a nice surprise.

Game On was the 11th stop on the crawl and yet another new addition to the 2015 Lakewood Wing Crawl due to its fairly new arrival to Lakewood. Their Buffalo was a little garlicky with nice heat and their Asian Zing had a great sauce, but we wished both were a little crispier. It was the second stop for Louie and JoJo and Lou gnawed on one wing for quite a while. He's barely two and this is proof that he's a true citizen of Lakewood! JoJo seemed happy, but we had to remain on schedule and that meant it was time for them to go home with Grandpa Rich.

Riverwood was the 12th stop on the crawl and has performed very well in the past. Their Buffalo had a sweet chili flavor, while their sweet chipotle was well-cooked with a nice sauce.

Harry Buffalo was the 13th stop on the crawl. Their Garlic Parmesan Buffalo wings were so delicious. They had a great crunch and were well-cooked. The Bourbon wings also had a great crisp and the sauce was delicious. In the past, Harry Buffalo fell short on the cooking of the wings, but they really stepped up their game this year and we were pleasantly surprised. Lakewood is not very big and when you're keeping pace and trekking the same route for 7 hours, you tend to see the same people.
Around the corner was the 14th and final stop on the crawl. A few members of the group fell off and we were back to 10 at our final stop. Their black pepper wings have always been a favorite of ours so we were excited. We typically start the crawl at Around the Corner, so we weren’t sure if their wings would suffer after 7 hours. They did not disappoint. The Black Pepper wings were great and the Buffalo were good with nice crispiness and flavor.

 Schur Ballot:
Best Buffalo: Merry Arts
Best Open Flavor: Forage Public House

Chambers Ballot:
Best Buffalo: Around the Corner
Best Open Flavor: Forage Public House

Just after 1pm on Sunday, the results were in and Pillars of Lakewood announced a record number of ballots returned!

The Winners are...
Best Buffalo: The Detroiter
Best Open Flavor (Soy Chili Jam): Forage Public House
Best Buffalo (Judge's Choice): Riverwood Café
Best Open Flavor (Judge's Choice): Forage Public House
Best Overall Wings in Lakewood: Forage Public House
Well, there you have it! 2.2 miles, 7 hours, 14 establishments, 56 wings and lots of fun. We cannot wait for next year!

1 comment:

Bite Buff said...

Looks like another great crawl! I was sorry that we had to miss it this year. Sounds like some great additions. Mmmm, now I'm craving chicken wings.