How often do I find myself in Indiana? Not that often. So when the opportunity arose to grab some wings in the The Crossroads of America state, I was all for it. Wings Etc. is a popular chain found mostly in the Midwest, and because we don’t have these around my neck of the woods, I felt obligated to see what makes them popular.
Lunch came-a-calling, so I popped into this establishment only to be instantly reminded of Hooter’s. It had the same classic sports bar feel with the wood tables and colorful menus, but with an elevated level of wing support. Hooter’s is all about the breast (and I don’t mean chicken), however, Wings Etc. is about the wings. Each table came equipped with a wooden bowl filled with wet naps and paper plates as well as a paper towel dispenser. This got me excited because when a place goes through all that, PLUS has wings in its name, you expect to be getting something good.
To top it off, the day I went was $.49 wing day. So, I ordered up 6 wings tossed in the “Tweener” sauce (which is supposed to be beTWEEN Medium and Hot) with sides of “Hot” and “Wall” (I don’t know why it’s called that, but it was the hottest). I also grabbed a freakishly huge beer, ’cause hey it’s lunch, and I waited for the wings to arrive.
When the wings were placed in front of me, my first glance reflected a simple cut-and-dry plate of wings. The wings, though average size, had a great crisp to them but the sauce was too standard. The Tweener, which was two above mild, was not hot at all, which lead me to the “Hot” to find where the heat was hiding. Good news = it was hotter. Bad news = it still carried an out-of-bottle flavor and offered nothing more.
Next up was the “Wall.” This was the hottest sauce they offered so I wanted to see what the hot-heads were up against. While pouring it on my last wing I could see the bits of garlic in this Habanero mash, and it looked intimidating. I bit in and it immediately stabbed my tongue with heat and numbed my lips, but didn’t really reside in the throat, which is good because that meant it wouldn’t linger too long. I’m not a crazy heat seeker and prefer my sauces more toned down, but this wasn’t too unbearable, and I could see how this could be enjoyed… And not just on a dare.
Ultimately, Wings Etc. didn’t do anything outside the box. The smell and color was very standard and they were not larger than the average size, so what makes them stand apart from the rest… Well branding of course. These wings were a good eat, and even though nothing struck me as original, when you add to it a cool wing-related place with all things accenting wings, you got yourself a hangout.
501 Silhavy Rd., Valparaiso, IN 46383