Memphis may be known primarily as the barbecue city, but it’s got a lot more to offer than smoked pork and beef brisket alone.
This week, we delved into another Memphis mainstay: chicken wings. Whether you like yours tear-jerkingly hot or mellow honey gold, the following wing joints are guaranteed to satisfy. Pack some extra napkins and hand sanitizer for the road and read on to find some of the best wing spots in Memphis:
Memphis’ oldest family-owned tavern, Alex’s has been open since 1953. While they’re known for their award-winning Greek burger, Alex’s wings are nothing to turn your nose up at either. Available in Greek, Buffalo or BBQ flavors, these wings are drummies only. Accompanied by some of the best jukebox music in town, they are well worth a try by any aspiring Memphis wings aficionado.
All-Star Hot Wings invites its guests to dine like stars with their premium selection of dry and wet whole wings. The local chain has five locations, so odds are that no matter where you are in the city you’re just a hop, skip and a jump away from some sweet, sweet All-Star wings. On Wednesday nights, catch All-Star presenting Wingsdays at Oceans Lounge with discounted all-you-can-eat whole and boneless wings.
For over 30 years, Bayou Bar & Grill has brought New Orleans-style, Cajun specialties to Midtown. They bring this same flair to their renowned chicken wings, available in their popular zydeco flavor or their original hot. The zydeco wings boast a “milder, sweeter kick” and are served with ranch dressing, while the original hot wings are served with bleu cheese.
With locations in East Memphis, Whitehaven and North Memphis, Best Wings remains true to its name, serving up crispy whole wings made to order, as well as catfish, sandwiches and even an award-winning house made spaghetti. Although they offer 12 different wing flavors, my favorite was the tender and flavorful lemon pepper.
Central is known in Memphis and beyond as one of the best barbecue joints in town. In addition to their critically acclaimed barbecue, however, Central is known for some of the best smoked wings in the city. They marinate their wings overnight in a signature blend, before slow smoking them and finishing them off in the deep fryer. You can order your next batch wet (with their special wing sauce), dry (with their hot rub), jerk (with a dry Caribbean seasoning), sweet heat or even naked.
A true local favorite for almost 20 years, Ching’s is a family-owned restaurant located on Getwell Road. Almost as distinctive as their fantastic wings is the restaurant’s atmosphere. Always popular with students and athletes, Ching’s proudly displays framed photos of many of its patrons from over the years, including a few celebrities. Visitors can leave their mark by signing one of the crowded walls of the restaurant–if they can find a space between the photos, memorabilia and flat screens hung all over the walls.
Known for their incredible Memphis barbecue and signature Cornish hens, Cozy Corner has been featured by such publications as 1,000 Places to See Before You Die, Southern Living and Gourmet. This family-owned restaurant clearly knows its stuff, and anyone who’s tried their smoked barbecue wings would adamantly agree.
Founded in 1991, Crumpy’s has now expanded to multiple locations across the city. In addition to their fantastic wings, Crumpy’s is also known for its Suicide Wing Challenge. On the first Saturday of each month, worthy competitors are invited to eat all of the meat off of five of their spiciest wings in under five minutes, with no beverages or other food until the ten minute mark. Stop by Crumpy’s soon to try your mettle and compete for fame, glory and a fat cash prize.
Also ranked among the Men’s Journals “15 Best Hot Wing Spots in the U.S.,” D’Bo’s was the 2011 winner of the National Buffalo Wing Festival. Their award-winning dry and wet wings are available in 12 flavors. In addition to the classics, they offer unique favorites such as teriyaki, Asian, ranch and parmesan garlic. If you stop by D’Bo’s, be sure to check out their wings ‘n waffles, a signature twist on a southern favorite.
A literal shack located in the parking lot of Lowe’s, Elwood’s is a true local gem. They’ve got one of the most diverse menus of the restaurants on this list, offering everything from smoky barbecue to classic deli dishes and southern comfort staples, and just all of it is fantastic. In addition to everything else, they serve up some of the biggest and most flavorful whole wings in Memphis. Their wings are marinated for a full day and night in a delicious jerk seasoning paste before being smoked for a few hours and topped off in a pizza oven to get that nice, crispy finish.
With locations in Memphis, Southaven and Cordova, Mr. P’s has been a local favorite for over 20 years. Not only do they offer fantastic wings, the atmosphere is perfect for getting together with friends to watch the next big game. Get their wings whole, party style (dummies and flats), or boneless in any of their nine delicious flavors.
Established in 2001, Uncle Lou’s is known for its mouth watering fried chicken. The place is so good, in fact, that it was featured by Guy Fieri in a 2008 episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. It’s also ranked, however, as a local favorite for classic chicken wings. Uncle Lou’s keeps it simple, offering guests four flavors to choose from (homestyle, sweet spicy love, mild or hot) but each rich flavor is well worth the spotlight.
Run by Wilson himself, Wilson’s Wings ‘n Things offers “a taste of South Memphis” with their fresh, made-to-order wings. In addition to their meaty, delicious wings, Wilson’s special South Memphis Kool-Aid has won the hearts of people around the city. If you’re looking for a great wing at a fair price with a personal touch, Wilson’s just may be the place for you.
With locations on Mt. Moriah and Stage Road, Wing Guru offers an impressive range of flavors to suit your every mood. While their signature honey suicide flavor has garnered awards, the lemon pepper wings served wet-style are also a standout and not to be missed.
With two locations in the Memphis area, Wings World consistently provides big, flavorful wings and friendly service. When I stopped by, our wings were fresh and steaming hot–we’d recommend the mild seasoned with lemon pepper on top.