Restaurant Roundup: Local Buffalo Wings | Restaurant Reviews | Salt Lake City Weekly

Restaurant Roundup: Local Buffalo Wings 

Whether you're out to hurt yourself or simply need a tasty bone-in snack, these wing joints have you covered.

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Trolley Wing Company - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo
  • Trolley Wing Company

That clip of actress Jennifer Lawrence's sheer panic as she dives into the spicier end of the Buffalo wings spectrum on Hot Ones has become one of my favorite Internet moments of 2023. It prompted me to go back and watch some classic back episodes of the talk show that combines hot questions with hot wings, and the show's format never fails to amuse me.

It also has the unexpected side effect of making me crave chicken wings in a big way. This effect was not lost on my wife who was watching the show with me, so we decided to check up on Utah's wing scene to see who's bringing the heat on the local level.

Trolley Wing Company (Multiple locations, Trolley Wing Company is probably the most consistent local spot for chicken wings. Wings are all they do, they've got a plethora of sauces that range from mild to atomic, and this is one of the only places nearby where one can attempt an insane hot wings challenge. I also like that Trolley Wing Company has vegan wings for our plant-based diners who crave the spectacle of hot wings. Fans of boneless wings—otherwise known as chicken strips—will be out of luck here, as bone-in is the only way to go. Where the sauce menus at most places are bound by their heat levels, Trolley Wing Company lets you pick your sauce flavors and then decide on how hot you want them to be. On top of this, their wings always have plenty of meat that pulls delightfully from the bone, and they're cooked up to order so you're not getting any of that frozen garbage.

I believe Trolley Wing Company's atomic heat level is quite adequate for hardcore fans of spicy food. I've never attempted their hot wings challenge, because it uses the words "flaming," "hot" and "enema" in sequential order, and it requires a legal waiver. I can, however, vouch for their atomic heat levels, which will put a nice fire in your hole all the same. For fans of traditional wings and those looking to court danger with their heat levels, Trolley Wing Company provides all the quality and consistency you need.

Wing Nutz (Multiple locations, If you're after a sports-bar vibe and don't really want to go as extreme as Buffalo Wild Wings—which will not be showing up elsewhere on this list, since it's like the Cheesecake Factory of hot wings joints—Wing Nutz is a great spot to hang out. Their wings (and a lot of their sides) are baked instead of fried, which has always been an interesting take on wings. I've had baked wings that really dry out in the process, but Wing Nutz does a nice job of locking in those tasty meat juices to keep things flavorful, which I suppose is the magic of bone-in wings altogether.

The meat-to-bone ratio at Wing Nutz is what you'd want from your hot wings—their wings have a good bit to chew, which is always a plus. If you want to try something a bit different, you can get some "hog wings," which are little pork spare rib nuggets that can be tossed in any of the restaurant's signature sauces.

Speaking of which, I really like the variety of sauces on parade here. It's one of the few places that offers a Carolina mustard sauce, which nicely captures the vinegary acid of good Carolina barbecue. On my most recent visit, I did have to note that their spicier sauces didn't quite debilitate me as much as I was hoping for. But maybe that's a good thing for those who want a little bit more kick without having to suss it out with their gut later.

Zulu Piri Piri Chicken Grille (Multiple locations, I wouldn't necessarily call Zulu Grille a "wings place," but hear me out. I was once brave enough to order an entrée from Zulu "Africa hot," which is their apex heat level. Despite their warnings, I was naïve enough to follow through with my order, and it remains one of the spiciest things I have ever eaten. So, it logically made sense for me to try their chicken wings at that level as I was conceptualizing this roundup.

As it turns out, getting something served "Africa hot" is still something that isn't afraid to make you pay for your sins. I think I have a pretty high tolerance for spicy food; I don't necessarily go in for spicy food challenges because I'm no good under pressure, but when I have time to smolder, I usually can hang with the heat. While I am proud to say that I finished the six wings that come in an order from Zulu, it was definitely a painful experience. I'm not going to say that they're the spiciest wings in town, but I have yet to experience something that burns so good. This place is a must for wings fans who are trying to get off the beaten path and try something unexpected.

Feel free to hit me up on social media if you've got any spicy (or plain tasty) wing recommendations. And good luck to those brave enough to attempt the hot wing challenge at Trolley Wing Company.

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