These Wings Weren’t Made For Flying
Friday, December 23, 2011 2 Comments
Let’s make one thing certain from the get-go: I love buffalo wings. If you were to cut me open right now, you might find the blood in my veins pretty spicy with a bit of a tangy-vinegary taste. That being said, nothing gets me more pumped than when I hear about a new wing restaurant, especially one that has a four star rating on Yelp, like the new Wing Fiesta, located in downtown Hayward, CA. So am I writing this to tell you about the new wing spot that might dethrone the commerically-booming Wingstop, or challenge the legendary San Jose-based (and nationally infamous) Smoke Eaters? Not exactly.
I headed over to the conveniently-located Wing Fiesta last night with some friends of mine, all of whom share my passion for good wings. The variety of wings, specialty fries, and cheap beer had me more than excited walking in to the spot, and my optimistic mentality towards mom-and-pop restaurants had myself preparing for the discovery of that next big find. We got there right in the middle of the prime dinner rush time-slot. The place was packed, and that furthered my growing excitement for this meal — but one thing threw me off, right away: the cheerful, happy employees.
See, I’ve developed this concrete theory about wing restaurants that has held up time and time again over the years of my buffalo wing indulgent patronage: the lower the quality of service of the clerk or cashier that takes your wing order is inversely proportionate to the quality of wings you receive. It’s actually quite simple. The more rude, apathetic, or explicitly angry the clerk who takes your order appears to be, the saucier, crispier, spicier, and over-all more wonderfully your wings will turn out. I’ve come to the conclusion that the anger, hate, and/or spite of said clerk is directly channeled into the preparation of your wings, even if they are the ones directly making them. There were instances where the clerk taking my order didn’t even make eye contact with me, talked under his breath, and didn’t give me my drink, and the wings came out savory and delicious. Don’t believe me? Go to a notoriously busy Wingstop in any bad part of town twenty minutes before closing. They will hate you, and your wings will be incredible. You’ll be amazed.
Being that the first thing I noticed about Wing Fiesta was how friendly and polite the cashier was, I started growing a little hesitant. Wing Fiesta proudly sports sixteen flavors of wings, including your standard Original Spicy, Honey BBQ, Garlic Parmesan, Cajun, Teriyaki, and more. They’ve got ribs, chicken tenders, and a multitude of sides, including specialty fries such as the promising Fiesta Fries, a palette of fries covered in ranch dressing, bacon, and shredded cheddar cheese. The kicker: $1 domestic beers all day, $1.50 premium beers. That all sounds like a recipe for success, right? Wrong.
The problem with Wing Fiesta is simple: their wings suck. Their underwhelming sauces are far less plentiful than their competitors, their fries are bland and taste just like generic diner fries, and their decor feels uninspired. I ordered half Cajun wings and half Honey BBQ wings, and neither impressed me. The Cajun wings were just plain wings with Cajun rub on them but weren’t spicy at all, and the Honey BBQ sauce seemed trite; the sauce was unimpressive, and covered barely more than half of each wing. From what I heard the ribs weren’t bad, but all around the table, and with a bunch of different flavors ordered, all of our responses were the same: “meh.”
I’m not one to bash the little guy, and from what it seems, it looks like Wing Fiesta is pretty new franchise, but the fact that there’s a Wingstop two blocks away from the Hayward location, and the food is priced right on par with them, you’d expect a least somewhat of a comparable experience. Instead, we all left unsatisfied and regretting not going into the Wingstop we had driven past on the way. Save yourself the trouble and head to Wingstop, or my personal favorite wing restaurant, Smoke Eaters. Hell, even the wings at Hooters are better than this place, even if they don’t have happy hour deals on their wings anymore.
Have a local wing restaurant that you think is even better than the places we mentioned? Let us know in the comments below, and we’ll check it out.