Football season is in full effect, and when the throngs of passionate fans get hungry, they turn to a few different dishes to fuel their endless cheering. Chief among those meals are chicken wings. Whether deep fried or drenched in spicy sauce, wings are an integral part of our shared sports celebrations. Yet, even if you’re not a football fan – perhaps you’re just an extra hungry culinary student – you can still enjoy a plate of piping hot wings. That’s especially true in Boulder, Colorado, where this dish is front and center at a bevy of sports bars, colorful diners and other awesome establishments.
So before you go out next Sunday, bone up on these must-visit wing joints:
1. CD’s Wings: Technically, CD’s Wings is just south of Boulder in Westminster. Yet the restaurant’s wings are more than worth the 30-minute drive up Highway 36. If nothing else, CD’s Wings delivers in regards to sheer volume, with the restaurant offering wing platters from 10 all the way up to a staggering 100. No matter how many wings your party orders, there are just as many choice of sauces, including spicy barbecue, XXX hot, garlic, spicy teriyaki and two special house blends called NILS and Uncle Nasty’s. CD’s also offers a few specials, like the Broncos Party – which features 80 wings – or the Famous Wednesday, where you can get 30 wings for just $21. It’s no wonder throngs of football fans have called CD’s Wings home for so many years.
2. South Mouth Wings: Even from its place in the heart of Boulder’s Old Town, South Mouth Wings continues the long and storied tradition of Memphis style wings. In this particular method, chefs absolutely take their time, allowing the meat to slow cook to open up and maximize the meat’s inherent flavor. South Mouth offers wings that have been either wet or dry rubbed. For the former, the flavors include extra hot Golden Honey, two kinds of traditional Memphis sauces – both sweet and spicy – and a take on teriyaki sauce called Asian Assault. Or, get some dry rubbed wings, which include flavors like sweet lemon pepper or Jamaican jerk. Better yet, try South Mouth’s crunchy wings, which are rolled in toppings like Funyun crumbs and crushed wasabi peas.
3. Dark Horse Bar and Grill: Love wings but feel like you could do without four hours of football each week? Then the Dark Horse Bar and Grill may be for you. Opened in 1975, Dark Horse has been serving up classic bar food to legions of hungry diners, including an award-winning selection of wings. In addition to flavors like mild, barbecue, teriyaki, a spicy dry rub and extra hot, Dark Horse also offers a combination sauce featuring a special house blend, Tabasco and barbecue sauce. Yet, Dark Horse is so much more than its great wings, and the restaurant prides itself on standing out from other neighboring bars. From the trivia and karaoke contests to the selection of arcade games and decorative movie memorabilia, Dark Horse is truly a full sensory experience.
4. Wing Shack: Much like CD’s, Wing Shack is also worth the rather brief drive – just 30 or so minutes – from Boulder in to Longmont. And though the Shack has expanded its menu in recent years, with more burgers, sandwiches and other classic bar fare now available, wings remain the cornerstone of this family-run bar and grill. The Shack features a significant selection of dry rubs and wet sauces, including garlic parmesan, honey barbecue, Sriracha lime, garlic Cajun, buffalo ranch and lemon pepper. Or, try the Shack sauce of the month – October 2015 features Orange Crush habanero. Wing Shack is also big on its daily meal specials, most of which feature wings paired with items like hamburgers and chili cheese dogs.