The biggest day for football enthusiasts – and those of us who pretend to care about football – is finally upon us.
With the Buccaneers nowhere near the Super Bowl once again this year, the people of Tampa have some time to consider how to celebrate on the couch. What good is a Super Bowl party, though, without some messy, scorching-hot chicken wings to stain your Peyton Manning
A seemingly simple decision can make or break a football enthusiast’s big day, and therefore should not be taken lightly. So stock the fridge and check out some of the best and worst hot wing places in Tampa.
Tampa Pitcher Show
14416 N. Dale Mabry Hwy.
Sometimes, little gems are nestled in the most unexpected places. The greatest hot wings in Tampa, by far, can be found at the Tampa Pitcher Show, a dine-in movie theater in Carrollwood.
These wings are the Barry Bonds of chicken wings: They nail such a home run that you know they just have to be juiced with some kind of steroid. They are so massive they should be called mini chickens, and the sauce is incredible.
Made in house, the Tampa Pitcher Show’s hot sauce is just hot enough for an enthusiast, and just sweet enough for a nonbeliever. As if the size and taste of these bad boys wasn’t enough, they’re affordable, too. Hungry moviegoers can order 20 wings for slightly more than the price of 10 anywhere else. Though Tampa Pitcher Show will be closed on Super Bowl Sunday, owner Wayne Valenti said patrons can order the wings ahead of time Saturday and will be able to pick them up for Sunday.
Size: 10; Hotness: 7; Taste: 10; Price: $12.95 for 20
13606 Bruce B. Downs Blvd.
There is not too much to say in favor of these wings. There are some restaurants that offer wings that are considered to be hit or miss by past eaters. Let this be a warning sign to future patrons that the
establishment should be an automatic pass.
Though known for their wings, among other things, Hooters’ wings are closer to mild than mouth melting, and are also on the expensive side. Costing almost a dollar per wing, they’re a little too far out of a college student’s price range to not be incredible. They do stand out from the bunch due to their crispy and breaded coating, but a fried shell is not enough to save them.
Bottom line, these things are cheap chicken nuggets on an expensive bone, and that is not a compliment. I’d rather just buy a Hooters calendar.
Size: 5; Hotness: 4; Taste: 3; Price: $9.49 for 10
5840 E. Fowler Ave.
Too many meals are complicated. Substituting this or adding a side of that can be a real mealtime migraine.
But there’s a solution to this age-old problem: head head over to Gator’s Dockside and say “hot wings, please.” That’s it. No mouthful of a food order, and eventually 10 tasty, spicy wings will arrive.
These wings aren’t really flaming, but they’re still spicy. They have an herb-added flavor that most wings do not, but they wouldn’t even make a baby sister break a sweat.
That being said, this is a solid hot wing. With flavors right up the middle on heat and taste, it’s hard to be disappointed with these, yet there is not too much to rave about either. The wings are also a little bit smaller, which can be used to an advantage on Monday night’s all you can eat special. Try to set a personal record – even the timid could put down at least 30.
Size: 4; Hotness: 4; Taste: 5; Price: $8.99 for 10
2776 E. Fowler Ave.
Almost unfortunately located next to Fowler’s Tijuana Flats, Wingstop is a surprisingly hot wing spot. While it may be nearly impossible to ever pass up Taco Tuesday, it should be done every once in a while, because these wings are plump and fantastic. With a meal as simple as buffalo chicken wings, it can be hard for a restaurant to differentiate itself from the bunch.
Wingstop manages to stick out due to its undying dedication to sauce-soaked chicken. While traditional wings are a favorite, anything from a buffalo chicken sandwich to smothered tenders are available. The hot sauce packs some heat, and these wings are drenched, so be sure to keep the moist towelettes nearby. For the sheer amount of sauce layered onto some pretty fat wings, these puppies are worth trying out.
Size: 7; Hotness: 7; Taste: 8; Price: $6.79 for 10
Beef ‘O’ Brady’s
Marshall Student Center
Believe it or not, there’s a place to get wings on campus. But proximity just isn’t enough here.
Sure, that insatiable need for a hot wing between marathon lectures will happen, but ride it out until the professor wraps up.
The Marshall Student Center houses a full-on Beef O’Brady’s, which boasts award-winning hot wings. The award might as well have been for most sauceless wings in existence, because these are bone-dry.
These sad excuse for chicken wings can’t compare to some of the gourmet havens on this list, and my grandmother could handle the heat on them. The only thing saving this platter from a hunger-tinged rage is the mountain of curly fries that come with them, but I could buy a 10-pound bag of those at Publix for $5 and not have to suffer through the moistureless desert of these chicken wings.
Size: 5; Hotness: 3; Taste: 1; Price: $8.29 for 10