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DINING: With a bit of pluck, wing chain takes first Indy outpost

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Dining - A&E

You have one question.

That question is: Is the new Buffalo Wings & Rings (111 W. Maryland St., 822-8400) better than BW3?

First, let me say that to me, there are two categories of wings—the edible and the non. The non-edible ones tend to be scrawny and meatless, or, worse, under- or overcooked. The edible ones slide off the bone with just a bit of effort. They hold their sauces and spices well.
 

Dining The downtown newcomer boasts nine different wing styles and five heat levels. (IBJ Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

The wings at the Indy newcomer are safely in the latter category. At Buffalo Wings and Rings, there’s an added bonus that the nine flavor variations are each available in a range of five heats. You can get your Ragin’ Cajun wings medium or atomic. Same with the Teriyaki or the Garlic Parmesan.

Our first visit included a bowl of Crazy Wings ($4.99 for five), which combines the flavoring of the Sweet BBQ and the Roasted Garlic. An unlikely duo, perhaps, but it works. Sweet & Sour, tested at medium, were tame and shy on sauce. And it would have been nice if there weren’t an upcharge of 50 cents for a stalk and a half of celery.

On a second visit (on a 59-cent-per-wing Tuesday), we decided to up the heat, but to no noticeable effect. Both “hot” and “very hot” came across as “pretty mild”—but we did enjoy the thick flavoring on the Lemon Pepper wings.

Supplemental orders were hit and miss. Breaded Onion Rings ($5.99) were big, open Os with just enough breading to cover the veggie but not enough to interfere with the flavor. A Cajun Chicken Tender Sandwich ($8.99) featured two sizable grilled tenders spooning on a bun, with ample trimmings and addictive Saratoga Chips—thin, golden brown potato slices with garlic seasoning—filling out the plate. The meat-resistant diner among us took solace in a Vegetarian Greek Pita ($7.49) that turned a Greek Salad into a satisfying, overstuffed sandwich. A reasonable kids’ platter gets your progeny a burger and curly fries, plus drink, for $4.99.

The atmosphere is bright, and the walls and booths are heavy with television screens (although the volume was mercifully kept low). Servers have clearly been prompted for friendliness, even offering take-out cups for drink remainders.

Back to your question, though: Is Buffalo Wings & Rings better than BW3?

Sorry, but I’m going to dodge that one. On Tuesday, try both. And let us know your preference (this story will be posted at www.ibj.com/arts).

Just make sure to wipe your hands before you type.•

–Lou Harry

__________

Second in our month-long series of reviews of animal-named eateries.

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  • Wings and Rings
    I have been a fan of BWW for years, and have been eating there for Colts games since we got Manning. My 2 friends told me about this new wing place that is better than BWW. When I got there I was shocked to see so many flat screen TVs, they even have one at each booth. Besides all the huge flat screens, the food was outstanding. Dont get me wrong, I LOVE BWW, but Wings and Rings has it going on. The chicken was fresh and juicy and bigger than what Im used too. This will be my place to watch Manning and the boys go for another Super Bowl
  • Not New
    BWR is not totally new to Indy. they have been here before, back in the 90's. One location was at Washington and Post. After the chain pulled out of Indy, an independent owner took over that location. It is now a Gold Exchange "pop-up."
  • BW3
    When I walk in to any BW3 my first impression is the Wal-Mart of sports bars! The tvs and projectors are up to par with what you find on sale @ Frys electronics, I would rather listen to sporting events on the radio. The stools are wooden, why would you not make the seeting comfortable to make sure patrons want to stay for a while and drink ($$)!! The wait staff is looking for their next fix, enouch $$ to score some chronic. The food is typical and predictable! When you look at the capitol to open a BW3 it is a wonder any one is stupid enough to drop that tupe of cheddar on a sports bar that does not compete with Chumleys. I keep wondering when someone will take the time and capitol to open a top notch sports bar? BW3 gets two thumbs down!!
  • All the same
    As long as the beers cold and wings hot. Who cares. More fun downtown for all.
  • Big 10's & BWW
    Just come in this weekend and see the difference. BWW will be standing room only with Badger fans and Big 10 fans.I was in last year it was crazy fun. Nobody can duplicate the vibe and the wings at BWW. Go Badgers!
  • BDubs still Rocks
    Wings and Rings seemed greasy. BDubs still rocks in my book. The beer, all of the TVs, I feel like I'm at Conseco when I'm in there. Also, W&R seemed like an exact copy of BWWs, and the original is always better.
  • Wing Competition?
    B-Dub's still rules.
    BWR's is just another wannabe. The stores look like the B-Dub's of 10 years ago, but not enough TV's or big screens. Wings are the same except B-Dub's sauces far surpass BWR's in flavor and variety.If Houlihan's (a national brand)couldn't make it in that spot. BWR will need lot's of luck.

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