Smile Politely

Five wings that are pretty fly

It’s National Chicken Wing Day, and all those who love wings need to celebrate. Our local restaurants offer some fantastic wings. You can read our wings you don’t want to miss article here and the follow up here.

Here’s my round up of wings from five different restaurants in C-U that are pretty fly. I’m sharing a classic Buffalo bone-in wing, a dry rub order of wings, a Japanese style wing, wings with bleu cheese crumbles, and really big wings.

Twelve bone-in fried chicken wings are covered in an orange buffalo sauce on a white plate with thin celery slices and a cup of ranch dressing in the center. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Buffalo Wings | Crane Alley

If you want a classic style Buffalo wings, these are the wings. Crane Alley nails these wings: covered in a Buffalo sauce and still hot from the fryer. Not too spicy but full of Buffalo flavor, these wings will make your hands messy and your stomach happy. These 12 wings ($14.99) are fried, bone-in saucy wings that are really good. You can check out the menu here and order online here. Right now, Crane Alley is open for indoor and outdoor seating in addition to pickup. 

Crane Alley
115 W Main St
T-Su 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Dry rubbed wings are covered in pepper, garlic, and parmesan bits in a white styrofoam takeout container. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Parmesan Garlic Wings | Rumbergers

I wrote about these wings when I reviewed Rumbergers the Monday after Juneteenth. You can order 10 wings (bone-in or boneless) for $9.50. These parmesan garlic wings have a salty, parmesan dry rub with strong garlic and pepper flavors. The wings were crispy and crunchy on the outside and juicy and tender on the inside. I like saucy wings, but this dry rub was flavorful and enhanced the crispy skin of the wings. You can order Rumbergers for pick up or delivery, and you can check out the menu here to place your order.

2502 Village Green Place
Su 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
M-W 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Th-Sa 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

In a white styrofoam container, twelve tempura fried chicken wings with a light brown sauce are stacked high. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Soy Garlic Wings | Sakanaya

These aren’t your typical wings. Sakanaya’s wings are fried with a tempura batter and tossed in a sticky, soy sauce making them an adventurous option for wings. You can order these wings in a small ($9) or a medium ($16). I ordered the medium, and it came with 12 wings. The wings had a light, airy batter that floated above the chicken; literally, there was a gap between the crunchy batter and the chicken inside. The savory fried flavor combined with the light sweetness from the soy glaze made for a caramelized fried chicken that made me obsessed. At first glance, the wings looked a bit odd with a wrinkly texture, but the batter was crispy and the meat was tender. At this time, you can only order Sakanaya to go. Place your order for pickup here or use one of their delivery options through DoorDash. 

403 Green St
M-Sa 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., 5 to 9 p.m.

Six fried wings with blue cheese crumbles sit on a white plate with a plastic side cup of bright red dipping sauce. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.


Watson’s offers wings by the half pound ($6) or full pound ($12) tossed in Carolina gold or Buffalo sauce. I tried the half pound with Buffalo sauce. The wings were dusted with some of Watson’s special seasoning, and they were crunchy, crispy, and fried to order. Thankfully, they put the sauce on the side for my to go order which kept the fried skin of the wings nice and crispy. The bleu cheese crumbles were a fun touch, and it was awesome when I had a bite of the chicken with the crumbles and the buffalo sauce.

Watson’s Buffalo sauce was a bright red and thin with a great Buffalo flavor and spicy kick. It was easy to pick these bones clean because the meat was so tender. Watson’s is open for outdoor seating, curbside pickup, and carryout. You can see the menu here and call 217-607-0168 to place your to go order.

Watson’s Shack & Rail
211 N Neil St
T-Th 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
F+Sa 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Su 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Three giant wings with drums and flats connected lay on top of french fries. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Wings with Mixed Sauce | Wood N’ Hog

These were some gigantic wings as you can see. Wood N’ Hog’s wings have the drums and flats still connected. You can order wings by 4 pieces ($6.99), 6 pieces ($8.99), or as part of a half ribs and 3 wings combo ($18.25). The meat inside was smoky and flavorful, and it was easy to bite the meat off the bones because the meat had been smoked for so long that it just came clean off. Wood N’ Hog only offers three sauces: mild, spicy, and mixed. I tried the mixed sauce, and it was a slow burn. I didn’t feel the heat much until I finished a wing; then my mouth was burning in a most delicious way. You can pick up Wood N’ Hog from their Champaign location or Urbana location or order delivery through DoorDash.

Wood N’ Hog
500 Walnut St
Su-Th 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
F+Sa 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

101 W University Ave
Su-Th 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
F+Sa 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Top image by Alyssa Buckley.

Food + Drink Editor

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