Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh yes. This is my kinda place. Right? Right. A tavern. And what exactly is meant, by “tavern”?
Noun: An establishment for the sale of beer and other drinks to be consumed on the premises, sometimes also serving food.
See: redneck bar
Right. Redneck bar. Got it. Thanks Google! So pulling into this place, parking my Volkswagen in a parking lot of pickup trucks, and taking out my camera to snap pictures for the blog, I started to think maybe I was a bit out of place. I started getting nervous. But the promise of great wings as recommended by my friend was tempting enough to get me through it.
This place is located a bit “off the beaten path”, on Temple Terrace Highway near 301. Nearish. It’s in a little plaza with a Sweetbay. It’s close enough to big streets for easy access, but removed just enough to get picked up by a group of angry good ol’ boys and never be seen again. It’s the sweet spot.
It’s the sweet spot inside too, where you’ll find yourself seated amongst real ‘salt of the earth’ types, true fans of beer and probably NASCAR. The bar is clearly where the action is, so my friend and I elected to sit in a booth with a good view. We, in turn, were eyed with curiosity by some of the locals, and I had to do my best to keep from staring back, smiling, or waving at who I knew deep down would never want to be my friends.
The setup is pretty typical for this type of place, a few freestanding tables, booths along one wall, pool tables on the other side of the room, a small stage of karaoke (don’t do it! it’s a trap!!), all centered around the bar, where the lady servers lived. It’s the kinda place you’re better off electing to pick wings up from rather than dining in. Because, you know, fag drags.
A quick glance at the laminated placemats that serve as menus in the bar gives you an immediate sense of the class this place has. Biggest “weinny”, eh? Oh, Uncle Fatty!
The menu is divided into two large sections: “Teasers” and “Pleasers”. This serves the dual purpose of being indicative of portion size, and fun for the kids. Teasers include the wings. Pleasers includes stuff that isn’t wings. So who gives a shit. Let’s get real here: I want wings, and I want them now. And nothing else on the menu is going to oh god you guys have fried pickles wtffff
So I had to order the fried pickles. How can I not? These are quickly becoming my favorite appetizer item. It’s the perfect combination of fried and pickle. Uncle Fatty’s pickles were exceptional, with a nice crisp fried exterior, somewhat thick layer of batter, and solid dill pickle chips on the inside (that’s solid as in decent quality, not toughness). Best of all, the batter they used was just a bit spicy, so there was a lot going on here. Served with ranch dressing, this is the kind of food you are going to burn your mouth on, over and over again.
I was also easily seduced by the chili cheese fries, being a disgusting “food monster”. So that’s two separate appetizers. I AM A MAN. These bad boys appeared to be of Ore-Ida descent, nothing special going on in the french fry category (outside of being well fried). The chili was disappointing, consisting entirely of seasoned beef chunks and beans. That is to say there was little to no sauce at all. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it left the fries a bit dry and not as well coated as they could have been. The cheese was pretty damn good though. The best part here was the li’l tomatoes. There were little pieces of diced tomato throughout, which may or may not have been part of the chili, and really improved the overall quality of the fries. It was my favorite part (which is kinda sad, actually).
AND THEN there were the wings. These were pretty much the wings of the gods. They were exactly what you want in a bar/grill style hot wing. Fried to crisp perfection, good sized wings (a bit larger than average) covered in a good quality sauce (ordered medium, with a mild burn, basic vinegar wing sauce). These are a perfect baseline to judge all other wings by; this is what you are looking for when you order chicken wings. My only complaint is that maybe they could have used a bit more sauce, but even then there was enough at the bottom of the basket to sop up whatever extra you needed.
They are not the best wings I’ve ever had, mind you, and they are definitely not the most unique, but they are good fucking wings.
Not pictured are the honey barbecue wings which I tried (and were excellent! again well fried, with a great, sticky-sweet honey barbecue sauce) and a Philly Cheesesteak (served with sauteed mushrooms and onions, and was entirely forgettable. The cheese was a lame white (american?), and they may have used Steak-Umms for the meat).
All in all, I was pretty satisfied. Was it worth losing my friend over? I did mention that they raped and killed my friend, right? Anyway, it wasn’t worth his life. But I would go back to pick up wings from them, that much i’m sure of. But if you do plan on dining in, check out this informative article before going, and you should be just fine.