South Side Eats: The Return of Wingz Around the World
Some things are just meant to be, like me finding out that an old South Side favorite is back and just as the big game approaches. According to the statistics, Americans will consume over 1.2 billion pounds of chicken wings this upcoming Super Bowl weekend. There was a time when Wingz Around the World would always be mentioned in the discussion of the best chicken wings in Chicago. But then when they suddenly closed, I only had places like Toons, Birds Nest, and House of Wing to recommend. All three remain great, but unfortunately if you wanted lots of sauce options your choices were limited to a couple chains that will remain unnamed (for they are not worth your stomach space). No need for them anyway as I'd like to take this post to welcome the newest incarnation of Wingz Around the World. They now go by Chicago Wingz Around the World and sport a nice clean space with plenty of inside seating at the corner of 75th and St. Lawrence.
I was very excited upon driving by and felt like luck was on my side this day. That it was. Monday is their 3 Wings for $.99 special and you can order as many flavor combinations as you want. If you feel the need to try them all, you'll need at least $33 as they have 33 flavors. Some of the more interesting options include a Bourbon glaze, Parmesan jalapeño, and their signature Maple sauce—you know for those times when the taste for breakfast hits. All of them came from the crew experimenting in the kitchen. For instance, the maple was developed to capture the taste of chicken and waffles, which also happens to be on the new extended menu. I didn't get to try that dish on this trip, but will be back as the offering of "light and fluffy waffles served with 4 wingz and one of our flavorful sauces: Rambling Strawberry, Blueberry Banger or Butter Maple Twist" sounded like something I'd enjoy. That was the case with the wings, which were as good as they were back at the old location.
I decided to stay with my favorite three sauces from before—Jerk, Garlic Parmesan and Bangin' Buffalo, which is the normal Buffalo sauce kicked up with extra spices. The Jerk sauce is a really nice representation of it, with the perfect amount of heat to make your tongue tingle for just a little bit. The Bangin' Buffalo was loaded with butter, and deserves to be included in the discussion of best Buffalo wings in the city. The Garlic Parmesan had the same appealing aroma as I remembered. The wings are sized just right, not too small or too big.
I asked what else is good these days and unfortunately they were out of Tennessee-style chicken on a stick, so the owner recommended a chicken tender dog instead. A couple of tenders are tossed in blue cheese and placed in a long toasted bun (add fries for $1). It's a filling meal for $3.99. Desserts are all homemade, as is the sweet tea. As a way of giving back to the community they offer free chicken to the homeless on Sundays. If you want to make your upcoming Sunday a super one, as far as food goes, they'll cater as many wings as you need while supplying all the wetnaps and napkins you can handle. Quite a return for Wingz Around the World.