While you’re watching the Panthers crush the Broncos this weekend to become Super Bowl 50 champions, you’re definitely going to want to have wings as part of your game day spread. We’ve done the hard work for you and ranked the top five wing joints in Charlotte.
Note: I’m focusing more on buffalo/barbecue/saucy wings. Smoked wings are a whole ‘nother ball game and story idea, though I would be remiss not to give some smoked wing shoutouts: Midwood Smokehouse, Mac’s Speed Shop, McKoy’s and Queen City Q.
Pro tip: These bars and restaurants all have dine-in options with TVs so you could catch the game there; but I personally prefer a wings-to-go situation to pair with other watch party food I’ve prepared (check out some great recipes here for game-day eats).
(5) Kickstand Burgers & Bar
Location: 1101 Central Ave., Plaza Midwood
Yes, Kickstand’s business is burgers (duh, it’s in their name), but they have a mean wing game too. Their wings are a good size, pretty juicy, and they have eight flavorful sauces for you to choose from (nine if you count “naked” but ordering wings without sauce sounds like a terrible idea).
(4) D.D. Peckers
Location: 10403 Park Rd., Pineville
You know a place is good when you put out a call on Twitter for “the best wings in Charlotte” and your friends and followers list it as one of their go-tos. The family-friendly joint in Pineville has plenty of paper towels to satisfy your wing eating needs and plenty of TVs to catch the Panthers big game. D.D.’s fries their hot wings before dousing them in sauce (they have more than 25 flavors to choose from) locking in a good amount of crunch and flavor.
(3) Lebowski’s Neighborhood Grill
Location: 1524 East Blvd., Dilworth
I think there may be more transplants from upstate New York in Charlotte than actual native Charlotteans. So of course with the mass New Yorker migration, there was a definitely market for a spot serving up authentic Buffalo wings and a safe haven for Bills fans. Of the many upstate New Yorkers I know, they say that Lebowski’s wings are the closest you’re going to get to “real buffalo wings” like the ones you get (obviously) in Buffalo. I would expect nothing less; Lebowski’s owner is a transplant who grew up in Buffalo.
(2) Moosehead Grill
Location: 1807 Montford Dr., Montford
Moosehead is the epitome of a neighborhood watering hole — a casual, eclectic atmosphere, heavy drinks, and really excellent bar food. No trip to Moosehead is complete without at least one order of wings, but I dare you not to have more than one. The wings are award winning, named the best in Charlotte and the Carolinas in 2011, and the Rookie of the Year award at the 11th Annual National Buffalo Wing Festival.
My go-to is Uncle Donnie’s Famous Blackened Wings (named after Moosehead’s wing connoisseur and chef Donnie Anderson); but the Bee Sting brings a little spicy and a little sweet and the PB&J’s (made with peanut butter and apple jelly) always pique my interest.
(1) Wing King Café
Location: 13209 Carowinds Blvd., Steele Creek
The name is very telling; Wing King Café is the king of wings in Charlotte. One of my biggest regrets in life is that we didn’t try Wing King until about eight months after I moved to Steele Creek. Wing King Cafe is not actually a cafe; it’s a sports bar with an old school tavern vibe, chatty and friendly staff and excellent wings.
Overlook the location (questionable looking gas station plazas and strip malls are not often home to fantastic food), grab a bar stool and a cold beer, and get a little messy while you chow down on saucy wings.
They have over 30 flavors to choose from, so you can go traditional or try something different, like hot garlic parmesan, Cajun or Ming’s sweet chili. We usually order the King Sampler, 25 wings, five different flavors (your choice) so we can get a little variety.