The Pillars of Lakewood Wing Crawl is arguably one of our favorite days of the year. Outside of vacation time and Cavs Playoff basketball, it's near the top of the list. For $20 Steve and I share 56 wings at 14 establishments in our little home town of Lakewood, Ohio. Pretty amazing, huh?
2017 was the 11th annual Wing Crawl and we are veterans. I was a proud "official" judge in 2016 and I look forward to my next panel invite. I am very strict with our wing crawl timeline as it is imperative to stay ahead of the crowds and on time. Otherwise, you'll never make it to all 14 spots in the 6 allotted hour and 3+ mile distance to cover. This sh*t is serious!
We were joined by Kevin & Lisa and Jared & Cassie as well as a handful of other friends who joined at various points of the crawl. Each bar/restaurant offers one buffalo and one "open" flavor wing. It is our task to vote on our favorites and each pass entitles you to one ballot. There are a total of 1,000 passes and it never fails, they always sell out.
We started at the eastern most stop on the Crawl, O'Toole's. I never understand why people start "in the middle". What are you? Amateurs? Like I said, this is serious.
O'Toole's offered a spiced rum Captain Morgan BBQ, which was a crispy and good quality wing. It was sweet but flavorful, but a little too saucy for our liking. Their buffalo wing was tasty with an average heat.
Our 2nd stop was Forage where we were disappointed. Both their soy chili jam and mild wings were too big and not crispy at all, which are two automatic negatives on our list.
Our 3rd stop was Burgers 2 Beer. Both their wings were very good. The buffalo ranch was very tasty with a nice good crisp and a little spice at the end. Our only complaint would be that it was a little over sauced. Their original BBQ was delicious with a good crisp. The sauce was awesome with total BBQ flavor and great heat.
Our 4th out of 14 stops was Deagan's, which had some of the best wings on the crawl. Their golden BBQ had an amazing crispness and quality with a mustard BBQ sauce. The buffalo wings had reasonable heat with the sauce fried into the wing.
Our 5th stop was Merry Art's where we were joined by our friends Danielle and Renee. Their buffalo had decent heat with a buttery finish. The sweet chili was tasty and sweet with an ok crisp. Overall average wing quality.
Stop #6 was Bobby O's. Let's just say, we don't go to Bobby O's for their wings. We go for Jell-O shots and Pop-a-Shot. Their Bacon buffalo wings were crispy and above average, but had no bacon flavor. The cajun ranch dry rub was simply too dry! Overall poor quality wings.
Plank Road was our 7th stop on this incredible journey down Detroit Avenue. Their fireball wing lacked flavor but had great crunch, while their coconut had nice flavor but didn't necessarily match the name of the wing. Overall good quality with great crispiness.
El Carnicero was our 8th stop and their wings were great. The Mexi-que had a great flavorful sauce with decent heat, but could have been crispier while the El Soya Goya was a little maple syrupy and a little bland. Overall, we would have enjoyed them more if they were crispier.
Booth's was stop #9 where were enjoyed their sweet red chili and buffalo wings. They weren't very memorable and simply average and would not be receiving our vote...
Unfortunately, Game On had the worst quality wings on the crawl. Our 10th stop gave us buffalo garlic parmesan and pineapple teriyaki wings.
Stop #11 was Side Quest whose wings were pretty terrible. It was a bummer after the wings from Game On. Two in a row kind of sucks, but that's ok. We knew we had great wings on the horizon! Their buffalo and General Tsao were fatty and overall poor quality. On a positive note, this is where my mom joined us for the tail end of the crawl!
Riverwood always has great wings and is consistently at the top of our list. Their honey pepper had great crisp with an average sauce. Their buffalo was delicious. It was perfectly crispy and was leading the pack for our favorite. This was our 12th stop and we knew we were in the final stretch!
Harry Buffalo was our 13th stop. Their medium wing had good heat, but overall had a below average wing quality. Their BBQ was ehhh just ok.
Around the Corner was the 14th and final stop and ALWAYS OUR FAVORITE. Every single year. We love these black pepper wings and order them for various parties throughout the year. They check every box on our list...size, quality, crispiness and flavor. The perfect wing. This year their black pepper did not disappoint. It's always delicious with a good crisp. Their buffalo had good heat with good crisp.
The Final Votes Are In!
Shannon & Steve Schur
Open Flavor: Around the Corner (Black Pepper)
Buffalo Flavor: Riverwood
Open Flavor: Around the Corner (Black Pepper)
Buffalo: Game On
Open Flavor: Plank Road Tavern (Coconut)
Buffalo: El Carnicero
Overall Best Wings in Lakewood
Around the Corner
What a day. I can tell you we haven't had any wings since this magical day, but writing this makes me want to order a 12 pack of those black pepper wings...hmmm, what's for dinner tonight?
Mark your calendars and join us in 2018...We can't wait!