Best Wings of Memphis
2390 Summer Avenue # 102
On Friday, I was charged with taking my 12 year-old nephew, Branch, to lunch. He was downtown for a music "camp" of some sort. (He plays the tuba.) Since I work downtown and no one else in his immediate family does, I happily volunteered to feed him during his lunch break. I wracked my brain all week, trying to come up with some place cool to take him. (He actually reads this blog, so he had high expectations.)
Even though there are lots of great places downtown, I needed to swing by my house (in Midtown) during my lunch break, so in true Dining with Monkeys fashion, I decided to take Branch someplace I'd never been before. I knew that he liked chicken wings and I knew that I liked chicken wings, so Best Wings of Memphis on (the most awesome) Summer Avenue seemed like a good bet.
On my way out, my coworker asked where I was headed. When I told her, she said, "You better hurry, there's usually a line out the door."
Luckily, Branch and I made it there just before noon, so although we had to stand in line, it wasn't nearly as long as it was by the time we left. There were actually two lines. I asked the woman in front of us if we were in the right line to order and she assured me that both lines were for ordering. It seemed the protocol was to place your order, pay, get a number, and wait. There was a small window behind the counter and every few seconds, a stack of styrofoam containers emerged. The cashiers bagged them up and called out the numbers. It seemed like almost everybody was getting theirs to go, but Branch and I planned to eat in.
As we stood in line, we stared at the menu board in order to figure out what to get. Obviously, we knew we wanted wings, but we had several sauces to choose from, including but not limited to: hot, mild, seasoned mild, honey glaze, hot BBQ, mild mild, and lemon pepper. (In addition to wings, there's also catfish, burgers, and even a veggie burger. Branch and I both snorted and commented that you'd have to be crazy--or obviously a vegetarian--to order a veggie burger.) We also had to decide how many wings to get. I pointed out that these were whole wings, but we both decided to get 6, because we knew they were going to be good. (I also planned to take Warren our leftovers since his office was just around the corner.)
While in line, we continued to read the menu and marveled at the fact that one could order 1000 wings for $735. We spent several minutes trying to decide who did this, what kind of party it was, and how on earth they got them all cooked. I think we both imagined the best Super Bowl party ever. We also discussed whether we should order a piece of the yummy pound cake that was individually packaged and ready to go. "I don't need any cake," I said as I patted my expanding belly and Branch nodded and did the same. "Me neither," he said.
Finally, it was our turn to order. We had both decided on wings and fries for $8.60. I went with mild and Branch went with hot. (I said, "Are you sure?" about a hundred times, and he assured me that he had just eaten the hottest sandwich on the menu at the Crazy Kanuck the night before and he survived.) The cashier asked if we wanted regular or seasoned fries. I went with regular and Branch went with seasoned. "And one tea and a water," I added. "It comes with a drink," she said. "Ok, cool," I replied, trying to appear cool.
I sent Branch to get a drink and a table while I paid. I got my own tea and joined him at a booth. We waited anxiously and listened closely for our number to be called. The place was really filling up, and it added to our excitement.
When I finally heard, "Number 63!" I practically ran to the counter. Check out our awesome lunch:
$8.60 for six whole wings, fries, carrots, celery, ranch dressing, two rolls and a drink was a really good deal. (For seasoned fries it's .40 extra.) Our total was $19.23. (Ed note: the free drink was a January special.)
About two bites in we agreed on two things: 1) We were definitely going to need more napkins. 2) Branch should not bring a girl on a date here until he's sure that she really, really likes him.
Not surprisingly, the wings were awesome. They were nice and big, and crispy underneath the sauce, just the way I like them. The mild was very mild and didn't cause me to sweat or guzzle water. Branch did some sweating and guzzling, but he seemed to be enjoying it. I dipped a fry in his sauce and it was hot, but not too hot. "It's got a nice sweetness to it," he explained. The fries were also good-crispy and just the right amount of salty. The sweet tea was also just about perfect.
Despite our best efforts, we could not eat all six of our wings. We both managed to eat four, but probably should have stopped at three. (There is a four wing meal deal that's in the $6 range. There's also a wing & catfish meal that I didn't notice until it was too late!)
I sent Branch to the bathroom to attempt to rid his face and hands of sauce, and packed up our remains for Warren. I fit everything into one styrofoam container and made it look nice and pretty for him. Had I not told him, he might never have known they were leftovers.
My only complaint about Best Wings of Memphis was the styrofoam actually. And the plastic bags. Both were flying out the door at record speed. (The packaging for "here" and "to go" does not differ, so there didn't seem to be any way to avoid these two items.)
Now, would I take my two little monkeys here? Definitely. It's buzzing with people, so their not-so-inside-voices would not be a problem. The restaurant is very casual with basic booths, so there's nothing to break or climb on. Also, the monkeys love chicken wings. (I didn't ask, but I assume you can get them without sauce.) Had they been with me & Branch, I probably would have given them each a wing and a roll and let them split my fries and carrots. The only tricky part would have been convincing them to share my tea.
FYI--Warren only ate two of the four wings I brought him. When I found the remaining two in the fridge, I immediately set about eating them. They were even better cold.