There is something so satisfying about a succulent chicken wing. Whether it's deep-fried, roasted, hot-sauced or battered, I am all in. Since the Sports Page downtown closed years ago, I have wandered the city looking for these crispy, slightly greasy and flavorful marvels. While most sports bars offer decent to very good wings to attack while watching a game, I discovered some fantastic wings in some unusual spots. Here are my top picks:
1528 State St., Sarasota, (941) 993-1435, brickssmokedmeats.com
Brick's makes addictively seasoned and lightly smoked wings that don't need an extra dipping sauce, but you might need a couple napkins, because these are juicy and flavorful. You will want to place a second order to bring home.
19 East Road, Sarasota, (941) 312-5969, stottlemyerssmokehouse.com
Our senior editor Cooper turned me on to these fried chicken wings when they were served out of a gas station. Now you'll find a giant outdoor venue, where you can kick off your shoes, listen to some music and eat some serious fried chicken. The wings are crispy, crunchy and perfect.
987 S. Packinghouse Road, Sarasota, (941) 371-9358, packinghousecafe.com
Owner J.R. Garraus bakes these babies with just the right amount of garlic and butter and adds a diced tomato garnish. You won’t want to share. A tip: Call a few days ahead to order teriyaki wings. They're not on the menu, but with a few days' notice, you can give them a try.
5828 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota, (941) 378-5585, shangrilasrq.com
Marinated before being fried, these wings deliver extra juiciness. Dip them in the restaurant's sweet sauce or duck sauce and enjoy.
6639 Superior Ave., Sarasota, (941) 929-9893, munchies420cafe.com
Best after a late-night movie or a long after-dark walk on the beach, Munchies makes classic Buffalo-style wings. Crisp but juicy, and just saucy just enough to deliver a kick. But you can still enjoy the sweetness of the dark meat.