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Fast Food Opinion Restaurants

The Top 10 Best Chain Restaurant Wings Across The USA, Ranked

When it comes to bar food in the United States, few items are more beloved than chicken wings. This gametime staple is big in pizza places, family restaurants, and even diners. The snack equivalent to fried chicken, the best part about these crispy, juicy wings, is pairing them with a plethora of sauce choices. From spicy buffalo, to tangy lemon pepper wet, these sauces and the chicken they come with have weaved themselves into the fabric of American food culture.

Today, many chain restaurants offer their own takes on wings. The ten you will see below are some of the most fire versions you can find from major establishments that have solidified themselves as THE places to get your wing fixes.

To come up with our list of the best chain restaurant wings, we only took a look at those with ten or more locations nationwide, that offered up at least two different flavor options. Those criteria were proof to us that these guys took their wings seriously. From there, we took a look at consumer favorites as well as our own experiences to determine whose wings were worthy enough to fly at the top of this list.

10. Domino’s

 

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Domino’s has a trio of flavors to offer for their wings: traditional buffalo, BBQ, and Mango Habanero. They’re a decent accompaniment to the pizza, but Domino’s doesn’t give these pieces of chicken the love they deserve. I’d honestly love to have more wing offerings (and bigger pieces too) than the baked fried chicken sides Domino’s pushes instead.

9. Buffalo Wild Wings

 

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Given B-dub’s recognition, chances are you’re puzzled why it’s near the bottom of this list and not near the top. For us, it’s because we weren’t usually there because we thought they were the best wings, we stopped by to get great deals on them. Once Buffalo took away 60-cent wings and half-off Tuesdays, the incentive to pick this place over somewhere else was lost. The quality just can’t match the remaining establishments on this list.

8. Applebee’s

Applebee’s is more in the news these days for their discounted drinks, but these wings are a decent accompaniment to those Dollaritas. They’re just a notch above Buffalo in terms of quality, especially with the extra crunch on their twice-battered bone-in wings factored in. I’d rather have wings that just go straight in the fryer, but when it comes to a batter, these wings have a decent one coating them.

7. Wingstreet/Pizza Hut

 

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Pizza Hut puts so much effort into their wings that they’ve even got a separate brand specifically for them. It takes a special level of dedication to separate the wings and pizza business under one restaurant, and for that, the Hut deserves some major kudos. I’d love to see more standalone Wingstreet locations, though, so that my experience of trying these for myself isn’t limited to eating after a 20-30 minute car ride.

6. Zaxby’s

 

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You won’t find a location of this national fried chicken chain west of Utah, but Zaxby’s has established itself as a powerhouse in the world of tenders and wings. They’re comparable to Raising Cane’s in terms of cult popularity, size, and quality. Their wings could do with a bit less crunch though, and I’d love to see sauce variety outside of hot, teriyaki, BBQ, and honey mustard.

5. Popeye’s

When at a fried chicken joint, ordering the leg, thigh, or breast usually takes precedence over the wings. However, like the rest of their cuts, Popeye’s makes a pretty fire wing, and while their sauce lineup is pretty basic, the breading they put on their chicken is magical. You’re not typically gonna go to Popeye’s for just wings, though, which is why it takes a back seat to the top 4 on this list.

4. Anchor Bar

Anchor Bar claims to be the inventor of the buffalo wing, saying that Teressa Bellissimo first cooked them in the original Buffalo restaurant back in 1964. Today, they’ve got locations throughout the US and Canada, but also ship their wings and different sauces nationwide. They’re definitely the tiniest chain on this list, but deserve such a lofty position for their history, flavor, and distribution. Here’s hoping that more locations, especially on the West Coast, are coming soon.

3. Hooter’s

 

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Hooter’s doesn’t get a ton of publicity for their food, but they still know how to crank out a fire wing. They also put more unique twists on them than any other chain on this list, with bacon-wrapped wings being the craziest of them all. Those who haven’t had the Daytona Beach-style wings have been missing out as well, because that sauce could contend for one of the best across all chain restaurants.

2. Wingstop

What sets Wingstop above all of the others so far on this list is its consistency. Regardless of what flavor wings you’re ordering here, they’re going to perfectly crispy and juicy every single time. Wingstop is also the most dedicated wing joint on here, outside of Buffalo Wild Wings, but far exceeds it in terms of flavor, variety, and satisfaction. The slightly sweet fries served alongside give that extra bit of balance to the heat of the wings, meaning you can keep going back for more. Wingstop is definitely the best US-based chain we’ve got, but there’s one international superstar whose wings have spread out here and taken the top position.

1. Bonchon Chicken

That global wing powerhouse is Bonchon Chicken, the Korean fried chicken and wings specialist from abroad. They only serve up two flavors: sticky and sweet soy garlic, and spicy hot garlic, but that’s all they need, to be honest. The chicken has as much juiciness as a Wingstop wing, but with an extra bit of crunch and explosion of flavor. Bonchon could definitely offer more in sauce variety, but when the two flavors they offer are easily some of the best in the country, so why branch out when your staple sauces are that fire?

Categories
Fast Food

7 Unique Restaurant Chains That Are Redefining Fast Food

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Chipotle isn’t the only restaurant chain that makes it convenient and healthy for Americans to chow-down on the go. Make sure you check out these new restaurant chains that are changing the name of fast food by offering healthy options packed with flavor.

 

1. Blaze Pizza

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This pizza company is spreading throughout the United States like wild fire because it lets you take control of exactly what you want on your pie. Much like Chipotle, you choose your dough, toppings, type of sauce and even the type of cheese you prefer.

They fire the pizzas up in a brick oven in less than 10 minutes, making them faster than your favorite delivery chains. Go grab yourself a personal pizza and while you’re at it, wash it down with some of their house-made blood orange lemonade.

 

2. SweetGreen

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With locations popping up in states like California, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Maryland, SweetGreen is taking the United States by storm. They offer fresh, crisp salads with abundant protein options like salmon, avocado and chicken. This chain is unique for its focus on local ingredients.

 

3. Cava Mezze Grill

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This DC favorite is slowly spreading across the country. Known affectionately as the “Mediterranean version of Chipotle,” the chain offers rice bowls that are loaded with options like hummus, harissa, feta cheese, olives, juicy lamb or chicken and Sriracha greek yogurt.

Although based in DC, this chain moves to Los Angeles this summer with more locations following suit.

 

4. Bee & Tea

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A Chicago based chain, Bee & Tea offers authentic Asian flavors with traditional bao and boba tea. The creators of this franchise wanted to make boba tea available to everyone since its popularity has been sweeping Taiwan for the past few decades.

Boba tea is a milk-based smoothie with beads of tapioca on the bottom, making this a refreshing and decadent treat after a spicy meat-filled bao.

 

5. Nando’s Peri-Peri

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Changing lives since it hit the South African market, Nando’s Per-Peri has been wildly popular overseas. Luckily enough for the US, this chain decided to sail across the Atlantic and grace us with its spicy, succulent chicken. Try one of their salads for a healthy meal or bring a whole chicken home for a quick family dinner.

This chain is slowly expanding westward, so make sure you keep your eyes peeled for their upcoming locations in Chicago and hopefully San Francisco or Boston in addition to their Washington, DC locations.

 

6. Luke’s Lobster

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Lobster rolls are a staple for many northeastern cities, so it only makes sense that Luke’s Lobster would want to bring the flavor of the Atlantic across the country. Although its roots are in New York City, Luke’s Lobster has slowly expanded to cities like Washington, DC and Chicago with hopes to expand farther east and south.

Try their lobster rolls if you’re feeling gluttonous, but their shrimp and crab rolls are equally as flavorful and inexpensive for someone on a budget.

 

7. Protein Bar

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A Chicago-based eatery, this chain is devoted to serving you healthy meals for those who lead a hectic lifestyle. With locations popping up all over Chicago, DC and Denver, it is no secret that this place keeps its customers satisfied. Try some of their chicken chili with Greek yogurt for a hearty lunch or some of their fresh pressed juices for a quick breakfast.

Written by Shannon Keene by Spoon University

Categories
Deals

Weekend Swoop: Olive Garden 3-Course Alfredo Dinner for $12

olive-garden

Who: Olive Garden

What: For $11.99 you start with a soup or salad, plus unlimited breadsticks (the only reason you go to Olive Garden, really). Then, you can choose one of four Alfredo entrees (below) and end with a Chocolate Mousse Cake or any flavor Dolcini mini-dessert.

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Grilled Chicken with Broccoli Alfredo

Grilled Chicken with Broccoli Alfredo

Sliced grilled chicken breasts served over cavatappi pasta tossed in our creamy, homemade alfredo with broccoli florets and a hint of garlic.

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Shrimp Caprese Alfredo

Shrimp Caprese Alfredo

Sautéed shrimp tossed with three cheeses and bucatini pasta in our homemade alfredo, topped with seasoned tomatoes, melted mozzarella and fresh basil.

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Mezzaluna Ravioli with Mushroom Alfredo

Mezzaluna Ravioli with Mushroom Alfredo

Crescent-shaped ravioli flled with four Italian cheeses and topped with a mushroom alfredo sauce.

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Grilled Chicken with Roasted Garlic Alfredo

Olive Garden 3-Course Alfredo Dinner

 Sliced grilled chicken breasts and roasted garlic cloves tossed with giant rigatoni pasta in our creamy, garlic asiago alfredo.

Where: All participating locations

When: Now for a limited time

 

Categories
Health

Despite Efforts, Studies Show It’s Almost Impossible to Eat Healthy at Chain Restaurants

If you’re eating out tonight, your chances of finding an entree that’s truly healthy are painfully low,” says Helen Wu, an overseer of the 18-month study conducted by the Rand Corp. and funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

In one of the most “duh” and depressing findings of the day, it looks like 96% of main entrees sold at top U.S. chain eateries exceed daily limits for calories, sodium, fat and saturated fat as recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

To be frank, I know eating out isn’t the best for my health, but I wasn’t aware it was this collectively piss poor.

The study examined the nutritional content of 30,923 menu items from 245 restaurant brands across America. The results indicated that there’s a better than nine-in-10 chance that your entree will fail to meet federal nutrition recommendations for both adults and kids.

It’s not to say the restaurant industry is turning a blind eye to the situation. There are a handful of restaurants that have been putting forth effort to add more healthful items on menus and highlighting options for particular health lifestyles.

Vice President of food policy at the National Restaurant Association, Joan McFlockton, states that the restaurant industry is “employing a wide range” of healthier-living strategies.

Not sure how well it’s doing industry wide, though. Wu notes that the industry-supported “Healthy Dining” seal of approval remains too generous on sodium, allowing up to 2,000 milligrams of it for one main entree, when the USDA daily recommended limit for most adults is 2,300 milligrams.

Should chain restaurants be more responsible for curating healthier menus? How hard is it for you to eat healthy when eating out? Do you even care to eat healthy when dining out, or should restaurants focus on creating whatever tastes best, not curb their menu creative to a healthy lifestyle?

[Via USA Today]

Categories
Fast Food

Wendy’s: The New King of Burgers?

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that Wendy’s is slated to surpass Burger King as the #2 Burger Chain in America, possibly as early as the end of this year. Wendy’s has been making strong, steady improvements for a while now, and experts predict their efforts will soon be rewarded with a silver medal spot alongside obvious front-runner McDonald’s.

So what exactly has Wendy’s done this year?

Et tu, Burger King?

Wendy’s is in the process of a McDonald’s-post-Supersize-Me revamp, with the inclusion of healthy and tasty items to its menu alongside the revamp of old classics like the burgers and (coming soon) the chicken sandwich. In addition, Wendy’s has experienced a physical makeover–though yes, she still sports her pigtails–with restaurants nationwide creating sleeker interiors replete with flat-screen TVs, fireplaces and personal masseuses to attend to customers waiting in line.
Well, JKLOL about the last one, but at this point, I wouldn’t be surprised.
[Thx OCRegister]
Categories
Features

Yelp’s Impact on Chain Restaurants

Much like how video killed the radio star, it seems that User-generated review websites are killing big chain restaurants. Okay I could be less dramatic in my phrasing, but there is evidence to suggest that it may be happening.

As Yelp has grown, the overall market share of Big Chain restaurants has declined according to Harvard Business School student Michael Luca. Luca suggests that this trend may indicate that Yelp reviews are substituting for traditional forms of reputation. He also goes on to state that a one star increase in Yelp restaurant reviews are equivalent to a 5% to 9% increase in restaurant revenue. This is only true for smaller independent restaurants, however. Stellar Yelp reviews appear to do little to alter the revenues of the big guys in the food industry.

Despite Luca’s assertions, most of the total amount of restaurant spending still goes to chain restaurants (approximately 50% in 2007). It is, however, hard to deny that the public’s food sensibilities are geared more toward independent restaurants.

(THX and Photo Credit to Race Talk Blog)

(Via Wonkblog)