Sunday, November 19, 2023

2023 Lakewood Wing Crawl ~ August 26, 2023

The 2023 Pillars Lakewood Wing Crawl featured 9 bars and 36 wings. I’ll cheers to that! 

Kevin and Lisa flew to Cleveland for this special event...well, not really, but we've done this crawl so many times together, and the timing worked out, so win win!

Passes for this annual event go on sale in early July. There are only 1,000 passes sold, and they sell out FAST...usually within an hour. 

Since Kevin and Lisa made their travel plans after the passes were sold out, we went to the internet to buy 2 passes (we always share 2 passes between the 4 of us). Well...that was an epic fail. We were sold fake passes!! Can you believe it?!?! 

We were annoyed, but Lisa spoke with the event organizer (who was shocked!) and she may have dropped my know, I was one of the official judges of the 2016 Lakewood Wing Crawl (blog post here). 

He was kind enough to gift us 2 free passes to the we were off!!

Here’s the deal: For $30 we had six hours to choose the winner of “THE BEST WINGS IN LAKEWOOD” by crawling between 9 bars and restaurants along Detroit Avenue. Over the 1.6 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. After we sampled all of the flavors, we cast our vote for our favorite Buffalo Flavor and Open Flavor wings.

We started at Sauced Taproom.

Sauced offered a bang bang wing that was tasty and a little salty but didn’t stand out. Their buffalo was pretty mild. 

Our next stop was Merry Arts which is where my mom always meets up with us.

Their specialty sauce was a cherry habanero, which was a nice and smoky sauce. It could have been special if crispy and not so saucy. Their buffalo was super spicy, but not crispy enough for our liking. 

Plank Road was next on the itinerary. They had honey sriracha and buffalo sauces. In general, their wings were too big, too saucy and not crispy enough. Three factors are are really important to all of us. 

Next on the list is one of our favorite Lakewood establishments...El Carnicero. 

Their honey tajin special wing was "one of the best wings" Lisa has ever had (her exact words). It was a really delicious sauce. I wish it was a little crispier but the sweetness of honey combined with tajin was a great combination

The buffalo sauce was mild and didn't stand out.

We always love to see chef/owner Eric Williams on-site, serving the wings and talking to wing-lovers. He told us it's one of their busiest days of the year!

Booths is another solid wing spot. Their original house buffalo was INCREDIBLE with good heat, creamy and crispy. Wow (secret ingredient was cream cheese!)

Their specialty wing sauce was a buffalo BBQ. It was very flavorful and cooked perfectly. 

I never like the wings at Game On, but they always seem to win! I don't get it. 

Their spicy BBQ was super saucy and not crispy (at all!) It was pretty spicy, so that's a win.

The buffalo ranch could not get saucier. The flavor of the sauce was good but just way too saucy.

Riverwood always offers a good wing. Their buffalo had great heat with a good crunch. The maple bourbon offered a delicious sauce and was perfectly crisp. These were amongst the best. 

Harry Buffalo's wings were cooked really well so they were crispy, but not memorable. They served buffalo and maple mild sauces. The maple sauce was too sweet.

Around the Corner's black pepper wings are always at the top of the list and always delicious. They were perfectly crispy, and maybe more salty than peppery but no complaints. 

The garlic parmesan were crispy and extra garlicky, with great texture. 

That's a wrap!

Our favorites were:

El Carnicero
Around the Corner

 While our favorites rarely seem to align with the judge's selections, it's always a good time, and we enjoy supporting local Lakewood businesses.

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