For years I have had the answer to a very important question in my life. It’s given me a comfort that I’ve come to take for granted. That question being who has the best wings in the area. For the last decade, it has been obvious that Sweetwater Tavern is serving the best wings I have had the privilege of eating. They are enough to make you offended by Buffalo Wild Wings. Ten years ago Dirty T and I stumbled into Sweetwater after long hearing rumors of their wing greatness. If you’re really into the story, AnnArbor.com let me write about it back in 2010. And yes, I’ve been taking pictures and writing about my food for close to ten years now. For all ten of those years, I have had comfort in my life knowing that I could declare one plate of wings the best. No one else even came close.
But then Ma Lou’s had to come around and ruin everything by added wings to their menu. It wasn’t enough that they were already serving some of the best fried chicken in the area along with donuts made out of biscuit dough. They also had to show off and get me all confused about who is serving my favorite wings. Side note, if you want to hear more about Ma Lou’s I wrote about them about a year ago. First it was the Kung Pow wings — fried to perfection, coated with a savory, spicy gingery garlicky sauce and topped with peanuts. I got them simply as a side to a giant piece of chicken covered in spicy AF sauce to make sure I had enough food and they ended up being the highlight of the meal. Unfortunately these are off the menu now. Can we get these back on a limited run at least? Help me out here.
Then they had to go and post on Instagram about lemon pepper wings the other day to go along with their hot wings. I literally stopped what I was doing and immediately placed a carryout order for five hot and five lemon pepper. I also may have had two wings additional wings, a breast and a thigh all covered in spicy AF. I’m not trying to go all “describe my food in great detail” on you here but the hot wings have something that I can’t seem to put my finger on. The sauce, made with Arbor Brewing’s Bollywood Blonde, along with whatever else in the ingredients gives it a more complex flavor than just hot sauce and butter. Usually when I’m eating something this good I’ll spend the entire meal trying to piece together the ingredients. With these, I didn’t even think to wonder until they were already gone.
The lemon pepper seem to be your standard lemon pepper wing, but again there is something more than just your standard wing covered in flavor agents. There’s a wet sauce applied to the wing better it’s hit with the seasoning. I’m not usually a lemon pepper guy (sorry Rick) but these are damn good. Especially with whatever that pinksh sauce is that they give you in a little cup.
And goddamn if I’m not confused about who has the best wings now. Sweetwater is a classic and has been known for their wings for twenty years. Ma Lou’s has been in their spot for a little over a year and just recently decided to serve wings. The beauty of Sweetwater is they have one sauce and it is perfect. Ma Lou’s seems to be rotating wings covered in three different sauces so far, all of which are almost if not equally as impressive as Sweetwater.
I’m not ready to declare a winner. I’m so conflicted. Part of me is upset that this one little bit of certainty in my life is over but part of me is overjoyed that someone has some to contend for the crown. I’m also upset that I’m not eating these wings right now.
I’m not sure how to close this post. Go eat wings at Ma Lou’s. Go eat wings at Sweetwater. And don’t email me being like “JOHN YOU’RE AN IDIOT NEITHER HAS THE BEST WINGS”. If you disagree with me, start your own website.