January 25, 2020

20 Detroit chicken wing spots you should have tried by now

Moist towelette? Check. Ranch? You bet. A frosty cold one to wash down the Detroit delicacy most commonly known as the humble chicken wing? Pass the brewski and ready yourself as the city of Detroit's wing masters are serving up some truly special dishes. Don't undervalue or underappreciate the preparation of the common chicken wing — it's an art.

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Sweetwater Tavern
400 E. Congress St.; 313-962-2210; sweetwatertavern.net
Sweetwater, a perennial favorite for wings, doesn't disappoint. These are what wings should be. Vinegary, spicy, and charred but still moist. Where mere mortals will pack wings with too much salt or rely heavily on cayenne and heat, the wing gods at Sweetwater know about balance and how to produce a piquant wing that lives up to the hype.
Photo by Tom Perkins

Sweetwater Tavern

400 E. Congress St.; 313-962-2210; sweetwatertavern.net
Sweetwater, a perennial favorite for wings, doesn't disappoint. These are what wings should be. Vinegary, spicy, and charred but still moist. Where mere mortals will pack wings with too much salt or rely heavily on cayenne and heat, the wing gods at Sweetwater know about balance and how to produce a piquant wing that lives up to the hype.

Photo by Tom Perkins
Kuzzo’s Chicken & Waffles
19345 Livernois Ave.; 313-861-0229; kuzzoschickenandwaffles.com
Kuzzo's wings radiate heat but not to an unbearable level, and they are balanced by some unusual sweet notes. Its approach makes sense when you consider that they're typically served next to waffles, and there's lots of good flavor interplay to enjoy. These are wings made by pros.
Photo via Kuzzo’s Chicken & Waffles / Facebook

Kuzzo’s Chicken & Waffles

19345 Livernois Ave.; 313-861-0229; kuzzoschickenandwaffles.com
Kuzzo's wings radiate heat but not to an unbearable level, and they are balanced by some unusual sweet notes. Its approach makes sense when you consider that they're typically served next to waffles, and there's lots of good flavor interplay to enjoy. These are wings made by pros.

Photo via Kuzzo’s Chicken & Waffles / Facebook
Slows Bar BQ
2138 Michigan Ave.; 313-962-9828; slowsbarbq.com
Far and away the best plate on Slows' menu is one that doesn't seem to get a lot of attention — its wings. That's because the deep flavor profile is unlike anything we've encountered in chicken wings, which chef Mike Metevia says is the result of a two-day marination and preparation process. A hot vinaigrette leaves its prints and plays well with a mellow smoky flavor — no sauce is needed. There's no fryer in the equation, but the large Amish wings sit on the smoker for two-and-half hours, and the meat falls from the bone. This is the only recipe that never changed when the Slows team developed its menu years ago — they nailed it on the first try.
Photo via Slows Bar BQ / Facebook

Slows Bar BQ

2138 Michigan Ave.; 313-962-9828; slowsbarbq.com
Far and away the best plate on Slows' menu is one that doesn't seem to get a lot of attention — its wings. That's because the deep flavor profile is unlike anything we've encountered in chicken wings, which chef Mike Metevia says is the result of a two-day marination and preparation process. A hot vinaigrette leaves its prints and plays well with a mellow smoky flavor — no sauce is needed. There's no fryer in the equation, but the large Amish wings sit on the smoker for two-and-half hours, and the meat falls from the bone. This is the only recipe that never changed when the Slows team developed its menu years ago — they nailed it on the first try.

Photo via Slows Bar BQ / Facebook
City Wings
2896 W. Grand Blvd.; 313-871-2489; citywingsinc.com
You might be skeptical when you open your box of City Wings and find a small-ish pile of what could be the tiniest wings in Detroit. But City Wings proves that size doesn't necessarily matter in the wing game. The medium buffalo wings are perfectly seasoned and soaked in a vinegary hot sauce, and the spice blend makes them some of the best wings in Detroit. The menu is 18 varieties deep, and offering the customer something to think about with options like sweet chili or Caribbean jerk earns C.W. a bump in the standings.
Photo via City Wings / Facebook

City Wings

2896 W. Grand Blvd.; 313-871-2489; citywingsinc.com
You might be skeptical when you open your box of City Wings and find a small-ish pile of what could be the tiniest wings in Detroit. But City Wings proves that size doesn't necessarily matter in the wing game. The medium buffalo wings are perfectly seasoned and soaked in a vinegary hot sauce, and the spice blend makes them some of the best wings in Detroit. The menu is 18 varieties deep, and offering the customer something to think about with options like sweet chili or Caribbean jerk earns C.W. a bump in the standings.

Photo via City Wings / Facebook
The Block
3919 Woodward Ave., 313-832-0892; theblockdet.com
The Block has the best buffalo sauce in Detroit, and arguably far beyond the city. It's preferable to have the wings tossed in the sauce instead of it receiving it on the side. The Block trades in some of the bigger birds in the city, and they are a bargain during happy hour.
Photo via The BLOCK Detroit / Facebook

The Block

3919 Woodward Ave., 313-832-0892; theblockdet.com
The Block has the best buffalo sauce in Detroit, and arguably far beyond the city. It's preferable to have the wings tossed in the sauce instead of it receiving it on the side. The Block trades in some of the bigger birds in the city, and they are a bargain during happy hour.

Photo via The BLOCK Detroit / Facebook
Common Pub
5440 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-285-8849; commonpub.com
Perhaps the most interesting and complex wings are the spicy orange wings made by Common Pub chef Zach Stotz. He makes the orange sauce by reducing orange juice, adding red wine vinegar, and then tossing the bird with chile, sesame oil, garlic, sesame seeds, and ginger. His cornstarch batter complements instead of dominates the Amish wings' texture and flavor — a great example of what can be done with wings with a little thought and creativity.
Photo via Common Pub / Facebook

Common Pub

5440 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-285-8849; commonpub.com
Perhaps the most interesting and complex wings are the spicy orange wings made by Common Pub chef Zach Stotz. He makes the orange sauce by reducing orange juice, adding red wine vinegar, and then tossing the bird with chile, sesame oil, garlic, sesame seeds, and ginger. His cornstarch batter complements instead of dominates the Amish wings' texture and flavor — a great example of what can be done with wings with a little thought and creativity.

Photo via Common Pub / Facebook
ZamZam
11917 Conant St., Hamtramck; 313-893-9902; 
The Bangladeshi tandoori chicken wings are stained bright red from the mix of masala, cayenne, and other spices, and the meat falls from the bone after an extended stay in the clay oven.
Photo via ZamZam Restaurant / Facebook

ZamZam

11917 Conant St., Hamtramck; 313-893-9902;
The Bangladeshi tandoori chicken wings are stained bright red from the mix of masala, cayenne, and other spices, and the meat falls from the bone after an extended stay in the clay oven.

Photo via ZamZam Restaurant / Facebook
They Say Restaurant
267 Joseph Campau St.; 313-446-4682; theysayribs.com
They Say, which runs out of a historic building near Chene Park, lathers its wings in its sauces. That could be a mark against it when it starts to feel like you've got a mouthful of sauce that overwhelms the bird's attributes, but They Say's wings don't reach that point — the sauces are solid enough that it works. Most memorable are the tangy zesty variety, though the sweet chili is also enjoyable. They Say avoids all the wing pitfalls and fry up around solid wings.
Photo via THEY SAY Restaurant / Facebook

They Say Restaurant

267 Joseph Campau St.; 313-446-4682; theysayribs.com
They Say, which runs out of a historic building near Chene Park, lathers its wings in its sauces. That could be a mark against it when it starts to feel like you've got a mouthful of sauce that overwhelms the bird's attributes, but They Say's wings don't reach that point — the sauces are solid enough that it works. Most memorable are the tangy zesty variety, though the sweet chili is also enjoyable. They Say avoids all the wing pitfalls and fry up around solid wings.

Photo via THEY SAY Restaurant / Facebook
Midwest Grille
3266 W. Davison Ave.; 313-866-3117; midwestgrille.com
Midwest Grille serves fresh, traditional wings. You can buy them in bulk, or just a few for yourself. They also offer a chicken wing dinner with fries, slaw, and a drink.
Photo via Midwest Grill Express / Facebook

Midwest Grille

3266 W. Davison Ave.; 313-866-3117; midwestgrille.com
Midwest Grille serves fresh, traditional wings. You can buy them in bulk, or just a few for yourself. They also offer a chicken wing dinner with fries, slaw, and a drink.

Photo via Midwest Grill Express / Facebook
Wingstop
1331 M-102; 313-305-4797; wingstop.com
With its Wing Calculator, Wingstop gives you the option to choose your wing flavor from sweetest to spiciest. The restaurant offers unique sides such as Voodoo fries and seasoned corn as well.
Photo via Wingstop / Facebook

Wingstop

1331 M-102; 313-305-4797; wingstop.com
With its Wing Calculator, Wingstop gives you the option to choose your wing flavor from sweetest to spiciest. The restaurant offers unique sides such as Voodoo fries and seasoned corn as well.

Photo via Wingstop / Facebook