Wing Crawlin’ in the ‘Wood

A couple Saturdays ago I attended the Lakewood Wing Crawl, put on by Pillars, with my parents and some friends. While it kind of destroyed the “healthy weekend” plans I made, it was VERY fun and a great opportunity to sample a variety of wings (along with some delicious and discounted Great Lakes) from a handful of Lakewood’s many bars.

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It was really cool to compare and discuss the wing textures, flavors, and culinary ingenuity from each bar, back-to-back. Each participating bar provided one buffalo style wing and an “open” category wing of their choice. We were given ballots to take notes throughout the crawl and turn in at the end to vote on our favorites (for both Buffalo & Open), along with the chance to win a Great Lakes prize pack.

This was my first time so I can’t comment on how it compared to previous years, but we definitely enjoyed ourselves and it seemed like A LOT of people came out and dug the event. Unfortunately, we missed a few (ATC, Bobby O’s, and Humble) due to the timing of our crawl, but I honestly don’t know if it would have been physically possible to consume any more wings than I already did that day.

Here’s a little overview of the crawl, along with some of my thoughts:

Participating Bars

Best Flavor – Booth’s “Honey Aleppo Pepper Dry Rub” was AWESOME, BUT it scored a little weak in the texture category…not nearly crunchy enough.

Best Texture – Plank Road Tavern and Riverwood took the gold in the texture arena. The chicken inside was cooked almost perfectly and the outside had just the right amount of crunch.

Best Overall – My favorite wing overall (out of the ones I was able to try) was Merry Art’s “Cuban Jerk.” It was a very tough call because I LOVED certain aspects of the other contestant’s wing creations, but Merry Arts seemed to be the best when considering all of the criteria: texture, flavor, recipe ingenuity, size, service, and more.

Best Music – Booth’s by far. Great classic rock jams that were very appropriate for a very Cleveland event and some unique tracks were thrown into the mix as well. None of the music in the other bars really stuck out to me. I was too busy discussing the wings and taking foodie notes at Booth’s to jot down the tunes I heard, but here is a great Cleveland song that I think would be a fitting pairing for a basket of wings:

Official Results – People’s Choice Buffalo: Around The Corner, People’s Choice Open Flavor: Around the Corner, Judges Choice Buffalo: Merry Arts Pub & Grill, Judges Choice Open Flavor: Merry Ars Pub & Grill

If you aren’t a vegetarian and love wings, I highly recommend going to next year’s wing crawl. If you went this year, what was your favorite wing?

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